Dec 13, 2016

The Green Regency Dress

This year I completed my first Regency dress, hooray! I say completed because one of the first dresses I ever tried to sew was a Regency dress made from a nasty pink floral cotton and a Simplicity pattern. It didn't end well. In fact, it never actually ended because I never quite finished it. But that was a long time ago.

Near the beginning of this year I finally watched the 2005 Pride and Prejudice, and because of that movie I actually fell in love with the Regency era (fashion wise) as well as the story. I know, I know, it's practically illegal to like the 2005 film, but I do and it's the only film adaptation of any Jane Austen novel that I actually liked.

Well, after watching it I decided to make make a Regency dress. After doing some research I decided on making an apron front (or drop front) dress, because I liked the simplicity of it and it's easy to get into without any help. The pattern I ended up with is Laughing Moon #126, which I'm actually working on writing a review for.

The mock up went beautifully and the pattern didn't need any alterations. None. It was awesome.

Starting off, here's what I wore underneath (minus the chemise, because I need to re-make it). I wore my half stays (made with a modified version of the Regency stay pattern from Jean Hunnisett's book, Period Costume for the Stage and Screen) and a petticoat. I used the same skirt pattern as for the actual dress and pleated it in the same way, attaching it to a waistband with criss-cross straps. It closes with a hook and eye on the side where I left one of the seams open about 8 inches.

Petticoats during this era wore worn more for modesty than for adding fullness to the skirt. Because the skirts were so slim compared to the styles beforehand, when a lady was walking or if there was a breeze the skirts would hug to the legs which wasn't modest for the time.

On to the actual dress. Here's the dress before the apron front is pulled up. As you can see it ties in the front underneath to hold it in place. The apron piece that comes over top is gathered with ribbons along the top and is pinned at the corners onto the dress to hold it up.

I ended up with a green stretch cotton sateen for this dress, which was a little bit heavy but because of the weight it drapes rather nicely. It's just too heavy to hang when I'm storing it which means I have to store it folded. The only problem I have with that is when I do want to bring it out I have to iron the entire thing.

You can kind of see the pin holding the apron up here

Regency is such an easy era to sew and wear; I love it! Everything is so loose, you don't have any hoops or bustles, and with a pair of half stays it's basically like the historical equivalent of yoga pants. I really want to make more dresses from this era and I really need to make a Spencer jacket to go with it.

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