Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Next Regency Gown Project by Aylwen

Would you like a copy of this gown? It can be yours - as long as you're aware that to make a reproduction gown is very time consuming - from locating the fabric to copying all the details, plus there are the fabric and labour costs, as well as shipping and insurance. A dress like this is not a low-cost adventure. Feel free to discuss this gown with Aylwen.

There is a gown in Costume in Detail by Nancy Bradfield that I'll use for information.

Together with instructions for three-piece sleeves as shown on page 35 of Period Costume for Stage and Screen by Jean Hunnisett.

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Jane Austen Festival Australia (JAFA): Announcement: this rare and complete Regency-era evening ensemble will be on display during the 2010 Jane Austen Festival of Australia

Jane Austen Festival Blog Announcement

It is a rarity to find a set of matching period accessories, but to have them accompanied by their original outfit, is an amazing find!

This ensemble reportedly comes from the estate of Ms. Eliza Fox of Osmaston Hall in Derbyshire, UK.

The canary yellow, trained ball dress, is fashioned from luminous and heavy silk, and decorated with metallic copper threads in a corded, braid-like trim. The high Empire-waist is decorated with a band of ruffled canary silk, and also a band of the chord trim. There is a shimmering medallion of jewels to the center of the neckline, which is accented by further ruffled silk.

The dainty, delicate sleeves and low neckline create the typical look of the Regency period.

The dress is fully lined in gauze and cotton and fastens with hook and eyes to the back, along with some muslin ties.

The quality construction, and hand sewing, is yet another wonder!

The ball shoes, are made from the same shade of canary silk as the dress and purse/reticule, and are decorated with the copper chord trim in a large gathered medallion. They are a lovely, classic pair Regency shoes, with a carved wooden "Louis"-style hard heel, ribbon ties, and kid leather lining.

The drawstring evening reticule is decorated with the braided trim, and fully lined in gauze. It too, is also fully hand sewn.

The complete set is a true treasure, has an astounding beauty and romance that should never be forgotten and always admired.

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Curling Ostrich Feathers

I've been collecting different instructions on how to curl ostrich feathers. Here below they are presented as quotes:

"You can use a modern curling iron, plug it in, set it on low, when the iron is ready, place the feather in the iron (much like you would on hair), and slowly pull the feather through, when you pull it through you can control the amount of curl you want. Do not leave the feather in the iron very long it will burn or you will get a U curve curl. You can bend most any feather this way, just use common sense when doing it."

"The curling iron is excellent! If you steam the feather a little first, the results are even better.
If you're looking to curl the spine of the feather more than just a little, you can do it by first attaching wire (millinery wire is best), then steaming the heck out of the feather, then while it's all nice and flexible, bend the wire to your preferred shape and place it somewhere safe to dry. If the curl is really extreme, several treatments may be needed, and you may need to support the new shape during the drying process (depending on how heavy your wiring is).
To attach the wire to the feather, the suggested method is to use thread -- the thread loops around the feather and the wire, holding them tightly together and is then knotted. Move about half an inch up the feather, create another loop around both, and knot. And so on.
It's strongly suggested that you curl the spine before curling the fronds, as all of the steal usually makes the frond curls fall out.

Links to other information/sources on the web:
Buying ostrich feathers in Australia

Fichu: A Regency Shawl

"Fanny, William must not forget my shawl if he goes to the East Indies; and I shall give him a commission for anything else that is worth having.....I wish he may go to the East Indies, that I may have my shawl." "
Austen, Jane: Mansfield Park

"The Empress had more than two hundred white muslin dresses. This was only a fraction of her extensive wardrobe. She changed clothes four and five times a day. It is not remarkable, then, that she owned several hundred dresses, 558 pairs of white silk stockings, 520 pairs of shoes (she never wore a pair but once), 500 lace trimmed chemises, 252 hats, and 400 shawls. She spent 3,000 francs a year for rouge and thousands more for perfumes, but she had only two flannel petticoats and two pairs of drawers!"
"Dressing the Part", Fairfax Proudfit Walkup; 1938 F.S. Crofts & Co. (page 255)
Instructions to make a fichu:

Links to images:

Maurice Quentin de Latour, French, 1704-1788
_Portrait of Madame Anne-Jeanne Cassanéa de
Mondonville, née Boucon (1708-1780)_, c. 1752
Possibly the exact same collar, reused by the artist.

Reynolds, Joshua (English, 1723-1792)
_Portrait of Suzanna Beckford_, 1756
Lace appears to be "blonde" in three or four
layers. Probably a narrowish edging attached to
a sheer fabric; compare the engageantes.

Spencer, Gervase
_Portrait of Miss Manners_, 1760
Multi-layer falling collar similar to that of
Suzanna Beckford but even larger.

Copley, John Singleton (American, 1738-1815)
_Hannah Loring_, 1763
Very narrow, multi-layer frill of lace or muslin or gauze.

Copley, John Singleton
_Mrs. Daniel Hubbard (Mary Greene)_, c. 1764
Virtually identical to collar of Hannah Loring
except for ribbon used to tie collar.

Maurice Quentin de La Tour
_Marie Sallé_, 1740,_Calouste_Gulbenkian).jpg
More of a steinkirk.

Regency Fashion Exhibition, Australia

An exhibition of antique regency garments will be on show during the Jane Austen Festival of Australia (JAFA) in April 2010.
Watch the JAFA blog for more information.

An exhibition of antique victorian garments will be on show during the Victorian-Era Festival, 2-5 October 2009 in Canberra, Australia. See the website for more information.

Apologies for quiet-time on blog

Dear All
Our apologies for lack of communication through our blog. Life has been very busy organising dances, festivals and the family - our 15-year old son is in hospital undergoing brain surgery at the moment.
As time allows I'll be adding more to this blog.

Night Clothes

Regency Night-Dress (1)
This garment is worn at night instead of the day shift in the cooler months. It features:
  • long sleeves with narrow trimmed cuffs
  • slit in the front fastened with three buttons equally spaced.
  • buttonholes are lengthways on the narrow hem.
  • trimmed collar that is either turned down or standing like a fichu
  • shoulder pieces
If the night-dress is figure-hugging, wear a muslin fichu made of "a square of four quarters of middling-quality muslin, which you fold like a shawl".
In summer a nightcap without strings is worn, in winter a trimmed serre-tête is worn underneath a cap with strings.
In hot weather the day shift might be worn with a muslin fichu that is replaced by a night jacket.

1. Grimble, Frances, The Lady's Stratagem, pg 183-4.

Monday, 12 January 2009

Sheer Muslin Gown

I love the look of a sheer muslin gown. Making it, however, is another story. Allow yourself more time than normal and take it slow and easy. Keep your sewing table clear and clean, and keep any animals and children right away. These fabrics snag and stain easily, so use fine sharp pins and sewing needles.

Regency Seams

Inside hem of the green silk regency gown.

Bib or apron front - note the piping and silk satin.

The cuff.

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Elegant Lady's Drawstring Dress Pattern #2

Make your neckline bias binding/drawstring casing from your fashion material, using the guide on the pattern sheet. Pin binding around the bodice neckline, beginning and ending at the center front and folding under the center front edges as shown in the instructions.

Stitch, taking care not to catch the bodice lining pieces as you go.

Trim seam allowance down to 1/4" and clip curves.

Fold under the raw edge of the binding and fold the binding to the inside of the neckline to create the drawstring casing.

Press neatly and pin in place.

Stitch, making small running stitches all the way around the neckline and making sure outside stitches are tiny, even and neat.

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Felled Seams

I have used this two-step seam method for most of the seams in the Elegant Lady's Closet drawstring dress.

Sew together the seams at 15mm as indicated in the pattern instructions. Open out the seam and trim back one of the seams, in this case I've trimmed back the fabric that was attached to the 'lining'.

Fold the outer edge in over the narrow edge and crease.

Fold again and pin.

At this point you can do a plain hem stitch.

I did a simple running stitch that suited this garment.

Monday, 5 January 2009

The Elegant Lady's Closet Drawstring Pattern

This historically accurate regency gown pattern is selling through Regency Reproductions and of late some home sewers have asked if there are any step-by-step photos demonstrating how to make this dress.

Here below are some quick photos in the hope they will be of assistance. The text used with the illustrations comes from the pattern instructions.

1. Bodice

Pin the bodice back and side back together, matching notches and easing curve as necessary.


Do note that the side back curve ends below the shoulder of the bodice back piece. This is correct and creates an inward curve for the sleeve.

Clip curves.

Press seam toward the side.

Press and fell both side back seams (see post on felled seams)

Make a narrow hem on the top, bottom, and front edges of the bodice front 'lining' pieces.
[I prefer to do a running stitch by hand here]

Pin and baste front lining piece on top of bodice front piece across the shoulder, around the armhole, and down the side seam, right side of lining to wrong side of bodice, matching up armhole edge and side seam. [my basting line is 10mm in from the edge]

Pin bodice front and back pieces together at shoulder seams, right sides together. Stitch.

Press seams toward the back of the bodice.

Fell both 'shoulder' seams.

Pin bodice side seams together ("lining" will be on top). Stitch, stopping at the first dot and resuming at the second dot.

[Snip thread between both, as long as you have knotted the thread. My machine does an automatic knot.]

Sunday, 4 January 2009

Regency Seams

Below are three scans taken from my silk regency gown showing how the bodice is joined to the skirt. You can click on the images for an even closer inspection. The bodice has been completely finished, with the linen lining whipstitched to the outer fashion fabric. The skirt edge has been left raw, and sewn with diagonal basting stitches.

Above: Standard view of the seams.

Above: Seam from the skirt side.

Above: Opening up the seam to show edge treatments.

Thursday, 1 January 2009

Regency Sleeves

Christmas brought a pleasant surprise this year, with a copy of Hovets Drakter, full of colour illustrations of costumes, and with some interesting illustrations of Swedish regency dress. Below are illustrations showing the lattice sleeve of the Swedish court gown.

Desideria, Crown Princess, 1810
Oil painting by R. Lefevre

Empire style bodice with the 'graphic geometrical lattice sleeves'.

Queen Frederika, 1802