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.





7 comments:

Rozy Lass said...

Pretend you're Eleanor from Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility. In straightened circumstances you make a brilliantly beautiful dress out of a too short length of fabric. I have every confidence in you. Some of my best (modern) pieces of work have been when I had to do with less. Creative ideas, innovation and ultimate success, as you know, come from having to work with limited resources. I look forward to seeing the finished product.

The Laced Angel said...

What lovely fabric! It's so hard to find things like that anymore. I love the idea of using insertion lace as a way to turn scraps into a useable bodice/sleeves.

Fiorina said...

I am looking forward to the outcome! The muslin looks so delicate!

Loren Dearborn said...

How lovely! I think lace insertion is a brilliant way to "stretch" your limited fabric.

A traveller in time said...

What a lovely idea. Go for it. I love the idea of piecing probably because I wouldn't be game! Can't wait to see it!

Fichu1800 said...

Thanks for all your comments. Fingers crossed!

Kleidung um 1800 said...

How exciting...and I think, there's no such thing as 'mission impossible' for you when it comes to sewing Regency fashion :)
I love the style with the short skirts - so much fun! I actually have a 1814 pieced dress on the sewing table next...

Sabine