Challenge #1: Make Do and Mend
My first "Regency" dress, I made when I was 16 years old. Almost ten years ago! I thought it was accurate to about 1807, but I'm not not quite sure why I thought that! There are a few issues with it:
- the bodice has a gathered "fan front" - a detail I have only seen in later ('20s) extant garment.
- the bodice back is a bit wide, and closes with hooks and eyes - back closures for this time period still mystify me, they seem to be all over the place, but I have never seen an extant example with the kind of closure I put in, so that needs to be fixed.
- the sleeves are... what? I don't know. They are kind of 1700s. They need to go.
- the front skirt is A-line, which is a bit later than my desired timeline. The back skirt is a pleated rectangle, which would be fine... except it is 2/3 lined with heavy linen, and there aren't enough pleats in the back.
- the side seam of the skirt is right under my arm, which, in my opinion, is a bit too forward.
- the back skirt trails on the ground for 2-3 inches. 16-year-old me thought it was very elegant. (Actually I still love tiny trains! But it needs to be appropriate to the dress.)
So, The Plan: make it into a short gown with long sleeves!
- take off the sleeves (already done), take off the skirt.
- narrow the across-back and raise the bottom CB edge of the bodice. Stitch together the CB!
- snip up the front of the bodice, and the front of the interior bodice. Add a drawcord to neckline and waist of both components.
- chop off the lower 2/3 of the skirt. Add a bit of width to the remaining skirt front. Pleat the back skirt into three deep inverted box pleats.
- eke out two long sleeves from the bottom third of the skirt, and add to the bodice.
Inspiration: a couple of short gowns seen at Meg Andrews auction (the auction house classifies these as 1810, but they look a bit older to me):
|Short gown/bedgown c. early 1800s|
|Short gown/bedgown c. early 1800s|
Hopefully that will work! We will see in a couple of weeks...
Challenge #2: Innovation:
I was a little stumped about this one. There were lots of innovations that were implemented around this time, but they are things like gas lights and coffee pots. Not helpful. However, I also learned that the jacquard loom was invented in 1801 by Joseph Marie Jacquard, simplifying the jacquard weaving process. That is not to say that types of jacquard fabric were not around earlier (they had been around for a while!), but this machine made weaving them simpler and more efficient.
So... perhaps I will try to find a couple jacquard shawls/scarves and put them together into a big shawl, or a turban. It's a big uninspired and unambitious, but I do need accessories and I don't want to bite off more than I can chew. Some projects have to be little!
|Natalie Garbett demonstrates the size|
of a Regency Shawl with an extant piece
from her collection.
|Shawl produced in Norwich, c. 1817|
Challenge #3: Pink:
Pink... is not something that naturally occurs in my wardrobe. I don't hate it. I just don't love it. However, I think I might have some pink wool or silk in my stash from my Grams, so perhaps I can make a simple spencer? I'll have to think more about that one...
|Wool/silk spencer, c. 1814-15, France|
Challenge #4: Under It All:
Due to the new shape I've gained in the past ten years, I need a new corset! I am thinking short stays, as documented in this EXCELLENT article by Sabina of Kleidung um 1800.
|Interesting back to a reproduction corset|
by Sabina of Kleidung um 1800
|Bust bodice, c. 1820-27 (?), V&A Museum|
But, if that is too ambitious, I could always make myself a chemisette or pockets. I have no chemisettes and you kind of can't have too many of those.
Challenge #5: Bodice:
I would actually like to make Kenny something for this challenge - perhaps a new waistcoat? Does that qualify as a "bodice"? He needs a waistcoat of interestingly-printed cotton, and a bright red wool waistcoat like the one from the MET (below).
|Waistcoat, wool, c. early 1800s, possibly American|
Challenge #6: Fairytale:
Still have NO idea what to do for this one, but I am super excited about it! I LOVE fairytales!! I will try to gear this one toward something for my Bebe.