Sunday, September 12, 2021

New Regency Era Court Gown


Hello! I have been sewing, it's just been a lot of modern stuff until this week! (I got tired of posting all the modern stuff because, well, how many knit dresses do y'all really want to see?)

Since I live in England now, I got to go to the Jane Austen festival finally. It was toned down this year but amazing. I absolutely love Bath and had a great time.

My gown for the ball was the only new gown I made (because I have umm....a lot of Regency gowns? Like....a lot?). I looked through all my fabric and saw this old sari that I didn't have anything in particular planned for. It immediately got snatched out to of the closet and declared to be the fabric for the gown.


I actually used a pattern that I apparently drafted up ten years ago. Eeck! It only needed a couple of minor changes to it at the back (it was slightly too big of all things!). The sleeves for the pattern were a new draft. I used nearly the exact same method as here to recreate a sleeve base from Janet Arnold (one of the early 1800's gowns). For the gauzy sleeve you see, I simply cut the sleeve base in four, expanded the sleeve base out, and played a game of connect the dots. So, the linen undersleeve is the same as the new sleeve base I drafted out but the gauzy sleeve is the expanded one. I gathered the gauzy silk to the linen undersleeve and stitched those together first. I then added the cuff trim to the bottom of the sleeve and then sewed the sleeve up. It made it much easier that way (trying to fit cuffs around the sewing machine is always a nightmare.).

The skirt is just three big rectangles. I cut off the pallu of the sari and made most of that the train for the gown. The train was lined in the same blue silk taffeta I used to make Felicity's Christmas Gown for Carnivale last year. I still have enough of the silk left to maybe make a forepart, line some sleeves, and make a bodice? We'll see!

The "skirt" of the sari I used for the skirt of the dress; I just cut it into two because I wanted an apron front gown. The top of the skirt has a "belt" of the silk taffeta which the gathered bodice piece is attached over.

The bodice itself is an old pattern but, as I mentioned, I modified slightly. Other than taking it in in the back, I also curved the front to have an "open" front - or apron gown- rather than a normal closed front. The two embroidered front pieces are pinned down to the apron front but I might eventually add a gold belt to hold them together.

First Wearing

Honestly? This gown came out a lot better than I expected. I finished it just a couple of hours before the ball. (I brought my sewing machine with me to the hotel!) My mind has been so on 18th Century and Renaissance that I forgot how to do Regency and had to remind myself how to piece together an apron front gown. Once I got to making it, I quickly remembered, thankfully!.

I wore the train over my arm most of the time (like in a lot of court gown fashion plates from the period!) to dance and it was very easy to dance in as well as wear. I didn't have any major issues but might make more petticoats to really puff out the gown.



Although the second isn't a court gown, these were three of my main inspirations.  All are from about 1804-1805.   

I'll probably make another gown like this one and will definitely add some stuff (it needs gold trim around the neckline!) to the new blue court gown I have now!


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