Sunday, February 9, 2014

My new 1820's Dress!

I decided, a few weeks ago, that I love the look of the early 1820's.  You still have those Regency waistlines but you get those cute little puffy sleeves too.   I just had to make one.   Here are some of my inspiration first:

I love that it wasn't pastel and that trim around the neckline. The trim goes only around to the back opening and then comes over the shoulders, down to the front waistline like you see here. It's at the MET if you'd like to see more pictures.

This one I liked for it's simplicity. It only has the neckline trim and let's the actual cut of the dress and the pattern of the fabric speak for itself. More at Whitaker Auction

To start with, I needed a new pattern. I've made...a few... regency era patterns for myself. I took one of the many (the first one I found) and used that as a base. From there, I re-cut pieces to make more sense for 1820's. For instance, I has to make the armscye more curvy and take out the side piece so there wouldn't be a visible seam anywhere near the front of the dress - all the seams where in the back or back side.

Once I got the bodice done, I started on the sleeve. I flipped to Janet Arnold, and saw a diagram for the early 1820's sleeves. They are stupid simple. Seriously. It's a trapezoid with a bloated top line. I made mine at 8" for the wrist and about 28" for the top line before it got a massive allergy attack. ;-) In the photo above, the sleeve is just pleated and pinned to the pattern. I ended up gathering my sleeves which, I think, looks really cute.

The dress completely sewn! I was going to add trim but I ended up not having the time. So, I wore it like this! But with a giant red ribbon around my waist.

Close up of the back of the dress. I noticed on a lot of the 1820's dresses, they seem to have slight v-backs. This works well with my pair of short stays!

This is what I was planning on doing. I did cut out the trim and started to sew it but it looked horrible. I'd much rather have a plain dress than one with horrible looking trim. I just need to sit down and handsew the piping along the edge rather than even attempt to machine sew it.

Robin got this great photo of my at the Betsy Ross house.   You can't see the dress, of course, because it was cold out so I had my properly period coat on.  The shawl I have was $4 at the thrift store and the straw hat was $2.   It's a very fine straw - I was surprised to find one that worked decently for Regency.  I just added a black silk ribbon to it and tied the hat down.  Easy! 

Now, no outfit is complete without shoes. Luckily, the flats that were so popular in the 1820's are popular again. Yes, our flats are not historically correct - I machine sewed the dress. I'm not too concerned about straight last shoes with this outfit.

Back in October, I was looking for a good, but cheap pair of flats to wear with my dresses simply because I'm tired of wearing my pink kitten heels with everything.   Not that they are cute, but I need a new pair of shoes!   With that in mind, I saw this:

I immediately made grabby hands for the screen. See that toe? That toe is exactly like the toes I have in a pair of extant shoes and like many pairs of extant Regency shoes I've seen. The elastic would stretch and not be obvious around the foot - and there isn't any at the toe. I needed these shoes.

Insert problem.

They haven't made these shoes since 2006. NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!

I looked EVERYWHERE. The shoes just didn't exist at all. So, I set up an ebay alert. Tada! Two weeks later, a lady was selling a red pair - but with gigantic mirrors on the toes. I have no idea why anyone would want mirrors on the toes of your shoes. Although I do know a few ...individuals at Renn Faire that would think this was awesome for kilt checking, the problem is everyone else can see up your skirt when you aren't kilt checking. Not a good idea.

So the mirrors came off. Now the problem was the glue left behind.

I ended up adding a bit of black silk to the toes of the shoes to cover up the glue.

By the end of the day, it didn't look all that great.

IMG 0250

Oh well.  Try again!  


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