Getting Ready for the Regency

I’ve been busy with Victorian fashion for a while now. The 1870’s Bustle Hat remains in process and I’d like to have it finished this weekend. The crown is ready to be sewn to the brim, then it’s a matter of playing with trim.

The Victorian corset fitting should also be completed this weekend. I’m looking forward to having a Victorian corset that fits and is comfortable.

But I feeling the need for a bit of a break from bustles and bodices and under-skirts and over-skirts and all. So as much as I want to take it, I’m going to wait to take the Bustle Dress Class until later.

My original inspiration for going into this was a fascination with the Regency, a case of Austen Fever, and a desire to try and re-create garments from that period. Now I’m feeling the urge to get back to it. (Nessa, this one’s for you!)

Coincidentally, the Oregon Regency Society, of which I am a proud member, is having a wonderful season of events including a major “do” happening on my birthday in May. (More on the festivities in an upcoming post.) So it looks like a good deal of hand-sewing is in my future. Which is good, because my machine could use some thorough cleaning and adjusting. I’ll make my stays first, though – I’m relinquishing to modern tools for the bulk of their construction but will do as much finishing work by hand as possible.

When I started looking into Regency dress, my first urge was to follow the fashion from 1800 to 1815 or so. But I’ve given it a good deal of thought and it seems more reasonable to acknowledge how a woman of my age would have dressed at the time. She wouldn’t have been following the latest fashions, as least not an average “elderly” unmarried or widowed woman. She’d be dressed in fashion from an earlier time, not in competition with the young women seeking first husbands. So I’ve revised my plan and am looking for styles from 1795-1800. One happy outcome is that the styles from those years will look better on my curvy body than the more columnar shapes that follow.

And dressing earlier in the fashion timeline means includes changing from long Regency stays to transitional stays.

2014-04-14 18.09.09

Yay! I think.

I already have patterns for the dresses, caps, reticule and spencer, and the fabrics for each. The chemise, pantalettes and underdress/slip are all finished. I have a period-correct straw bonnet that just needs a bit of ribbon. I have a vintage , though not antique, Kashmir wool shawl. And I have two pair of pointed-toe flats; one pair in white and one in red.

I went through my Pinterest Georgian/Regency collections, other Pinterest boards, and museum collections. Looked at fabrics and fashion plates. And developed a working collection of images from which to plan my Regency wardrobe.

I’m having cataract surgery tomorrow, so will be taking a “down day” from sewing while my right eye heals up.

In the meantime, here are my inspirations.



10 thoughts on “Getting Ready for the Regency

  1. Just to clarify, the Regency cloak I made was a reproduction but not of that particular cloak pictured. It was a reproduction of a French cotton chintz cloak in a private collection, but the original is quite similar to the one pictured. If the owner ever posts pictures of it online I will include a link to it.

    Your Regency sew-along sounds very interesting and I like your inspiration pics! It is really the transition period between 18th century to Regency, isn’t it.

    • Thanks for that bit of clarification – very much appreciated! I read through your post and was amazed at the detail you put into it. Every time I encounter cartridge pleating I gain another round of respect for it…this time it was how you hand-stitched the “peaks and troughs” so it would lay evenly and not collapse. It is certainly something I can’t whip out in a week or two. But I do love the original and hope to see a link to more photos some day (if we all get lucky). Congratulations of finishing such a lovely garment.

      • Thank you to both of you! It did take me two years (from drafting the pattern, picking the material, and handsewing it all) to finish! So it wasn’t a quick whip up, that’s for sure.
        I had the opportunity to look at the original again a few weeks ago and I have realised that I have done things a little differently. But for a first try at an accurate-ish reproduction, I think I did ok. It was fun to try a new challenge!

  2. So pleased you are coming my way, period-wise. 🙂 Can’t wait to see what you will be making. By the way, my underthings are done and that first dress is waiting to be made. 🙂 Perhaps, we will be finishing one at the same time? 😉
    And, about the brown cloak in the picture: The other week Kelly, who had the chance to take measurements on the original garment, remade it for the Jane Austen Festival, Australia. She posted about the pattern and construction in detail on her blog. Here is the link, if you’re interested.

  3. Looking forward to seeing these pieces constructed! Regency is my favourite era, and I love the way you are approaching it (feels like a great “living history” perspective!) 1790s are pretty awesome, too. Good luck!

    • Thanks, Abigael! I am really excited about this shift into Georgian and Regency. And I must confess it will be a relief to leave the mountains of Victorian trim alone for a while. 😉

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