Falling for the Regency Bib-front Gown

English cotton bib-front day dress, 1810.

English cotton bib-front day dress, 1810.

1800-1815 cotton

1800-1815 cotton

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I have fallen in love with Georgian/Regency bib-front gowns, also known as ‘fall” or “drop” front gowns. I like the clean lines and the way the fabric shapes across the bodice. So I’ve decided that a bib-front dress will be my hand-sewn Regency project. (Hey! Stop laughing, it could happen.)

However, as I looked through screen after screen of extant garments I came across pictures like these:

Bodice construction details, Danish day dress, early 1800's.

Bodice construction details, Danish day dress, early 1800’s.

Silk faille bib-front dress, ca. 1800-1810.

Silk faille bib-front dress, ca. 1800-1810.

Clean lines? Nice draping? Entrance is where? No buttons on the back. Hmmm. How on earth does one put it on? I’m a full title and estate away from having a lady’s maid, so if I can’t do it myself things will be…difficult.

Which is why I am delighted I stumbled across this. YouTube video instruction on how to put on a Regency bib-front dress.

(Thank you, Katherine, for taking the time to record and post this. I don’t know that I ever would figure it out on my own, although once viewed, it makes complete sense.)

My second thrill of the day was realizing that this style of dress can be put on and taken off without assistance. Assuming that I don’t become entwined  in skirt, sleeves and ties.

I’ve also decided to ditch the Sense and Sensibility Lady’s Closet pattern for one with a bit more historical clout. It came down to these two:

Sooke Gown, front view

Sooke Gown, front view

Sooke Gown, back view

Sooke Gown, back view

Contestant #1: 1795-1805 Regency Era Sooke Gown, patterned after an extant garment at the Sooke Regional Museum in Vanouver, BC, Canada. Patterns of Time: “Extensive historical notes included. This is a research based pattern suitable for historic interpretation, with clear instructions for novices and detailed options for professionals.” Works for me.

1800-1812 bib-front muslin dress

1800-1812 bib-front muslin dress

Up next-

Contestant #2: 1800-1815 Bib Front Muslin Dress. Patterns of Time: “Diamond-back, high-waisted bodice with pinned Bibb in front, includes optional long sleeve pattern. The skirt has a slight train. Instructions for both modern and authentic construction of garment are included. Suitable for 1800-1812.” I like this one, too.

I may very well get both so I’ll be covered from 1795 to 1812. So to speak.

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