I decided earlier this year to complete a Regency styled gown in every color of the rainbow. I already had an orange gown and had completed a red gown. Next should be yellow on my list but I haven't found the perfect silk yet to do the gown I want. Instead, I went with something a bit more silly. I went with green and decided to play up the colors of a watermelon.
The main body of the gown is a dark green dupoini silk I got from Fabric.com for $1.95 a yard a couple of years ago. The pink is a shantung that I got from my local Joanns. Although the colors are period, the silk isn't. Since this was supposed to be a fun quick gown, I machine sewed almost all of it.
However, this was the gown that broke my last sewing machine. I started this gown way back in the spring/early summer. The skirt is a block of four yards of fabric. I made a growth tuck right below the knees and then slipped a long strip of the pink silk beneath it. I've seen this done in period gowns of the time to give the effect of multiple ruffles when it's really just one ruffle with a growth strip sewn above ti.
The bodice came out beautifully. It's a pattern I created last year and I've been using ever since. It's actually only a elongated front with a small back piece. I think it's in Patterns of Fashion where one gown is cut like that.
It was the sleeves that were my downfall with this dress. Originally, the pink trim you see along the neckline was the "puffy" sleeve for a pair of short panned sleeves that were to go on the dress. However, my sewing machine died and the silk frayed and I just didn't feel like fixing all the issues I had with the sleeves to begin with. So! I noticed how wide and how long the puffy sleeves were, sewed them together and then cut out two stripes. I sewed those strips together and then folded the very long strip in half to sew that. Once I had a very long tube of pink silk out of the former puffy sleeves, I pleated the thing to the neckline and that's how the trim ended up there.
I cut out the sleeves from the same green silk but I also cut out linen lining since I knew it might get cold and the silk is rather thin. My chemise sleeves only go down so far to keep me warm. They actually came out rather well but are a bit tight at the elbows. Something to work on next time!
Another issue I had was the sewing machine needle hit a pin that was holding a pleat on the trim. This caused the needle to go about as dull as a dried spaghetti noodle. Which, in turn, caused the needle to pull at the light weight silk and cause some minor "pulls" in the fabric. I can just buy more of the silk and re do the trim but it's slightly annoying.
Other than that, I'm actually rather pleased with the way the dress came out. I've dubbed it my watermelon gown and I might have to make a very silly hat in a Regency style to match!