The Round Gown Bodice – Update

Despite rumors to the contrary, I have been working on my hand sewing and yesterday I finished the bulk of work on the bodice for the round gown. Here it is just draped over my dress form (i.e., no foundation garments, wrong chemise).

round gown bodice

round gown bodice

The neckline casing was done with a simple, on-the-grain piece of self fabric. I used my machine to sew it on and understitch to keep it flat. Then I turned the casing and sewed it down by hand. A length of white 1/4-inch grosgrain ribbon works great for gathering the neckline and tucks inside to stay hidden.

One of the things I like about Nora Azevedo’s pattern is its utter simplicity. The 1795 style is genuine. It’s a simple two-drawstring garment, with one at the neck and one at the waist and both gathered from the center front. No buttons or fiddly bits. One piece, over-the-head, pop on and go. This is the one I should have started with. Now that I can see with my own eyes what the fit is supposed to look like my other 1795 pattern makes a lot more sense, fit-wise.

Tomorrow is another sewing circle (yay!) so today I’ll french seam the sleeves and sew them onto the bodice. But I’ll leave the sleeve caps hand basted so we can fiddle with the pleating and get the fit just right.

In addition, I’d like to get that third panel of the skirt seamed and at least basted in place because I think having the full weight of the garment will help with the position of the sleeves as they will be worn. I don’t know if that’s true, but it sounds reasonable to me.

Hopefully, I’ll remember to take some photos this time so you can see how the Regency long stays look when I’m wearing them.

Let’s just say they do their job quite well (as in I feel like two large appetizers being served on a platter). And that will take some getting used to.


Fabrics for Tomorrow’s Regency Round Gown Workshop

"A vintage-y fabric stash" - found on Pinterest.

“A vintage-y fabric stash” – found on Pinterest.

Yesterday I started pulling potential fabrics for the workshop from my stash and discovered I’ve somehow managed to amass quite a selection. Far more than I’d kept track of…even the “dreaded” whites. In a way, though, I’m glad because now that I’ll have a pattern that’s drawn to fit me I can put together a few round gowns together in a more timely manner. Time will tell.

I’m also glad I this now because I’ve forgotten to pre-wash four of the them, plus each of the fabrics needs ironing (the whites are especially crinkly, despite a low temp dry). Guess how I’ll be spending this afternoon.

Here are the candidates to go into the project bag:

The Prints

You’ll remember these from before – I still can’t decide whether to make a solid gown with print overdress or a print gown with a solid overdress. But there will lots of people around, including the instructor, so I’ll take a vote and see which wins. And feel free to weigh in with your preference.

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In reality, they are no way near this bright. The print is a late 17th century-ish design cotton, the background is an ivory/cream – a bit of a gamble since yellow and I don’t work well together – but there is enough reds and pinks to outweigh the draining effect. The solid is a cranberry/merlot cotton lawn, greyed down just enough to fit the period.

And there is my very favorite soft blue “homespun”, although not quite that coarse, gingham check.

Lightweight woven cotton check

Lightweight woven cotton check

And there’s also a lightweight blue on white semi-sheer plaid that’s been lurking around for a while.

Dark Navy and Light Blue plaid on white

The Whites

These may also look familiar. Despite my aversion to solid white – it’s everywhere – it’s what was done so who am I to hold a grudge against it? They are  both cotton. The one with plain stripes irons out really stiff (hoping to get some tips about that) and the woven stripe is fab (but it’s loose enough that it may show a tendency to ravel if looked at crossways).

The Colors

I have more of these than I thought. Every time Denver Fabrics had a sale on their cotton lawn I bought a chunk. It’s gorgeous stuff and washes up brilliantly with just the right amount of sheerness in a solid color. I have Cherry Red, Cranberry Red, Forest Green and deep Marine Blue. Unfortunately, attempts at photographing the colors didn’t work: it’s quite grey outside and the artificial light skews them: the blue photographs as green.

The Cherry Red is pretty but bright and I want to show it to Nora Azevedo to get her take on it. I love the Marine Blue and I think it’s safe color-wise, but I’m bringing it to show her as well. The Cranberry Red and Forest Green are perfect colors.

Altogether, that makes enough for ten – ten! – gowns and/or dress/overdresses ensembles. But I don’t want to use them all for a single round gown style…I still like these others. So hard to choose!

Regency Gown Workshop and a Great Fabric Info Link

It’s time to shift gears and head back to Regency fashions. Flipping back and forth through the centuries like this can make my head spin, but it also makes for variety.

This coming Saturday, I will be attending a SITU-University Round Gown Workshop. Somewhere in Time Unlimited – Seattle is a great costuming group and our members’ interests cover all aspect of costuming genres. The University meetings are instructional and cover a range of needs and interests. And they’re always great fun.

Nora Azevedo in her Regency Round Gown pattern. (Oregon Regency Society)

Nora Azevedo in her Regency Round Gown pattern. (Oregon Regency Society)

On Saturday we will have Nora Azevedo, from the Oregon Regency Society spend a day teaching us the ins and outs of making a Regency gown using a pattern she’s developed. Just the tutorial I need! The instructions are to bring you Regency undies (so we will be dressed for proper fitting) and at least 5 yards of 45″ fabric.

As for determining which fabric, I found a fabulous resource. The Oregon Regency Society has a Northwest Chapter and I’m a member. The latest entry in the chapter’s blog is “Telling your Regency story with colour (sic) and fabric.” It covers colors, tones, prints – the works.

Best of all, it is chock full of visual examples: color palettes and prints and all sorts of visual references. No more wondering what “vibrant rose” or “muted greens” mean – you can actually see the color. Not only is the range of colors is much larger than I’d imagined, it contains some colors I love but thought were excluded. Yay!

The elbow is still pretty achy at times, but this is an opportunity I don’t want to pass up. (Note to self: throw some aspirin in the bag, too.) Photos and report to follow.

PS – My 18th century outfit hasn’t been put aside. I just need to go slow because my elbow hates staying tightly bent and pretty stationary while I do the handwork.