Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Regency Seams

Looking closely at the side back and shoulder seams you can see that they have not been sewn together in the manner you might see 18th century garments, particularly frock coats. In these garments you see a two layers (fashion fabric and lining) sewn face to face with a piece of fashion fabric, then the seam is ironed towards the single piece of fabric. Over this seam and single piece of fabric is laid a piece of lining, the seams tucked under and then whip-stitched to the existing seam.
(After Christmas I will put up an example)

In this gown it looks like a lining piece has been attached to each pattern piece, whip stitched so that there is a small amount of fashion fabric showing on the inside. Two pieces are then sewn together so that a ridge forms, and is shown at the side and shoulder seams in this photo. I cannot open the garment up to confirm this theory, but on close inspection it looks very probable.

Monday, 22 December 2008

Regency Seams

Clothing construction methods were different in regency times. They did not have overlockers or sewing machines - it was done by hand. Fabric was very expensive and less plentiful, making frugality a necessity. Garments were fitted to the body and not sewn together from patterns.

Today we sew seams together by machine, right sides together with seam allowances of 1.5cm. The seams are then ironed, graded, notched or clipped to lie flat when turned, then ironed again. In regency garments in our collection the seams are narrow and outside seams are carefully finished to enclose all edges.

Bag-lining is very popular today, with lining pieces cut from a pattern, sewn together to make a garment, and then inserted into the garment towards the end of construction. In the garment below the fabric and lining have been treated as one during construction. Each piece has its lining attached to it before it is added to the next piece of fabric.

The construction methods and pattern style of these two dresses from England is very similar to an embroidered muslin dress in the Snowshill Collection c.1810 featured in Costume in Detail by Nancy Bradfield. The sleeves are very long, they feature apron-front bodices pinned at the shoulder. Both have white linen lining, the silk dress has tiny sleeves under the long sleeves and both feature narrow under-pieces at the front. Both have decorated bodices.

These photos show the side back and shoulder seams, together with the raw edges of the armscye seams inside a silk dress in our collection. In my next blog I will show how this method is done with step by step photos.

This shows the inside of a cotton dress in our collection.

This photo shows the lining of the front bodice and where the silk finishes.

Above are the finished seams of the front opening which are pinned closed underneath the bib front.

Seams joining the front skirt with the bib front. Shown here are the inside seams.