This dress was my second-ever Regency dress- I made it 8 years ago. (Oh my. That makes me feel ancient.) The fabric is a linen/cotton blend, and I found it on super-clearance at JoAnns and it seemed ideally suited to this style. While the pattern isn't historically-appropriate enough to meet my standards nowadays, I'm still rather attached to it anyway. ;-)
I used Sense and Sensibility's "Elegant Lady's Closet" pattern for the dress, and added darts on the sides of the skirt, to get a smooth fit. The skirt is pleated in the center back.
The bodice has under-gone a minor alteration- the original pattern has pleats on the shoulders, but even with a few "fixes" I tried, it kept pulling off my shoulders or else just looking bad. So, I recut the front neckline after a few years. :-) Hindsight being what it is.... I really don't like how low the back of this dress is, especially with long sleeves. It gives an odd look, and is rather cold. A chemisette fixes all those problems, though. :-)
This was my first time using this pattern (I've since made it thrice more) and I ran into major (MAJOR!) issues with the sleeves. I was still in the Modern Fitting Mindset, and the armholes were a source of much frustration. They are set very far back, and I didn't understand all the nuances involved in that. On my (13!) mock-ups, I put the gathering all along the back of the armhole. That caused odd "mushroom"-looking sleeves which were distasteful to both modern and period sensibilities. ;-) Thus followed the 13 mock-ups trying to get a better looking sleeve. I ended up with a sleeve that was better, but certainly not good. After a few years, I realized that the best way to use the pattern is to concentrate the gathers tightly between the shoulder and side back seams. A few years ago, I ended up piecing the sleeve cap of this dress to add back the room I had cut down and also re-set the sleeves. Much better. And hey- piecing is totally period! ;-)
My turban is a wool/silk shawl wrapped willy-nilly around my head, following the instructions on these two sites. After a short learning curve, it is a very easy (and forgiving!) hairstyle. :-)
My chemisette was made from a very fine, sheer cotton curtain I found for free at a garage sale. It is ideal fabric for accessories, and has furnished enough for several projects already! It is a very basic shape, and can adjust to many different necklines. It was the very best and most effective accessory I've ever made- no exaggeration! I feel like it's really taken my regency wardrobe to the next level. Sometime, I'd really like to do a post about it, so you can see how much of a tremendous difference it makes! :-)
My sequin-y reticule was inspired by an extant example in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and while not my most stunning work, is a nice, usable size. :-)
My necklace miniature was inspired by portraits from the period, and I printed off a portrait I liked and put it in a jewelry frame from Hobby Lobby.
Pointy ballet flats from Target a few years ago + ribbons = great early Regency shoes!
· Thanks for the pictures, Kathryn! ·