Friday, 26 April 2013

Cutting the Regency Dress.

So, I have spent enough time staring at the fabric and decided to take the plunge and cut the Regency Dress! 

 I divided the majority of the fabric into three sections which would make the skirt. I then measured what was left to see if it was feasible to cut part of the bodice and sleeves. I used patterns which I had developed from Napoleon and the Empire of Fashion and other original garments. The entire sleeve pattern would not fit on the fabric so I reduced the pattern as much as possible to fit the fabric. I decided this would be a good place to do some insertion detail to expand the pattern piece out again. I cut some strips from the striped muslin which I am using for decoration.

The rest of the spare fabric was used to cut the bodice front. You can see above that there was little to work with and I had to place a seam under the arm. The shape looks strange but I will add some pleated detailing using the striped muslin to fill in the centre front neckline.

I shaped the top of centre front panel as above by cutting away  rectangular pieces to create an 'A' shape. This gives a smooth shaping to the front which you see in dresses from this period. I have found that if the centre front panel is too wide without gathering then it tends to wrinkle over the stomach area.

The pieces that were cut off the top will be added to the bottom half of the centre front section to add some extra fullness to the skirt section. 

The cut of the side sections of the skirt left enough spare fabric to make the centre back of the bodice and the shoulder sections (thank goodness!). Usually, I would not have such an angle on the side pieces but I needed to use the full width of the muslin available!

Thank you for your comments. I do really appreciate them! I will post soon with the next stages of construction.

My inspiration for the bodice decoration has come from the example above from the 'Fashioning Fashion' exhibition. However my dress will be a fixed shape with a back fastening rather than a 'bib' front style.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Mission Impossible..........An 1813 Regency Dress

I recently bought a length of vintage spotted muslin and I thought it would make a great Regency Dress. However there are only 3.25 meters and the muslin is 72 centimetres wide……….mission impossible???? As the saying goes ‘necessity is the mother of invention’?
Close up of the vintage muslin.
1813 is not my favourite year for Regency fashion but the styles give me an opportunity to do a bit of decoration that will hide the lack of fabric.

 Luckily there is no issue with ‘top and tailing’ the fabric when I cut as there is no ‘nap’. I also did some background research on skirt widths of the period. Nancy Bradfield’s ‘Costume in Detail 1730-1930’ presents some very useful measurements. One dress example from c.1815 measures only 62 inches circumference! However, I was concerned that if the circumference was too small I would be walking in a dainty way.........
Detail Ackermann's Repository of Fashion 1813

I found some fabric remnants which complement the muslin and I might use one to add on to the hem because in 1813 you see a lot of detailing and decoration. 

Larger spotted muslin and a striped muslin.

 The fashionable dress length was quite short which also works in my favour.

 For the bodice and sleeves I will really need to be careful as I will only have scraps. I will probably use lace to do insertion decoration. This means I will only need small sections of spotted muslin. I have always admired the design of 'Josephine' from Napoleon and the Empire of Fashion which uses different sections of lace and white work embroidery as part of the bodice. 

I will keep you posted on my progress and hopefully this project will not self-destruct  in 5 seconds...........

Detail of 'Josephine' from Napoleon and the Empire of Fashion.

Vintage piece of lace on tulle to use for insertion detail.