Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Regency Corset Completed!

Finished! Well, actually it was finished a few weeks ago, but I've been super busy with my new sheer gown so I'm just now getting photos posted of the corset.

(I've also been distracted with geneology research lately. I'm determined to become a member of the DAR: Daughters of the American Revolution , and you need to prove you are a direct bloodline decendent of someone who served (in any capacity) the new democracy. I've found my bloodline patriot: Isaac Workman 1742-1847; now to gather all the proper documents.)

Anyhow... back to the corset: I fitted the mock-up made from the Mantua Maker 1810-3 pattern on my newly updated dressform. Let me just say - I LOVE having a dressform that is my perfect figure.

I only needed the one fitting on the dressform. The adjustments were made to the pattern, and out it came fitting like a dream. I have a nice Regency silhouette now.

Now, flesh squishes a whole lot more than my sturdy duct tape, so the bust is not "fluffed" as it is when actually wearing the corset. My bust sits high and is separated by the wood busk in the center.

You can see above how the wood busk doesn't curve into the abdomen. This makes it easy to breathe, but I'm not sure I like having so much "space" in the front. I can't bring myself to put in a clasp busk (Victorian) in a corset before 1825, so I guess I'll have to live with the shaping.

Again, the back will be laced closer together when I'm actually wearing it.
Oh, and I used 1/4" spiral boning all around as the corset is cut partially on the bias grain. And don't tell anyone I cheated and machine-stitched, in one run, the bias binding. I do use modern techniques when possible or time is of the essence!

Here are the bust gussets. Before sewing the gussets to the main piece I whipped stitched around the folded-in point for reinforcement.

As I mentioned, I'm currently finishing up my white sheer gauze dress. A quick photo of that, along with my other quick Regency projects, will be forthcoming.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Dreaming of a 1798-1802 Ensemble

In preparation of the Jane Fest in Fresno in May, I have thoroughly immersed myself in Regency research. Whenever starting a new project, even if I'm well versed in the fashion, I *always* go back to primary and secondary sources for new ideas, inspiration and to delve further into the particular period.

I seem to be drawn to early Regency fashion from 1800 to 1810. I rarely think of 18-teens costumes, probably due to my well-endowed bustline and the extremely high waist of that decade. (Although, for another time, I'm becoming more drawn to the 1790s transitional styles too and would love to pull off a nice 1795 full round gown with tall feathers in the hair.)

I remain humble about the fact that I look good in Regency styles. My mentor, Michelle, has a wide ribcage, and therefore has to choose very particular gowns to be flattering on her figure. (So keep your figure in mind when choosing styling details in your new costume projects.)

The dress design will have a low, round neckline with full bodice gathers at neck and waist with a trained skirt also with gathers at the front and the standard full gathered back panel. The opening will be at center front.

My fabric is a natural white cotton fabric that is gauze-like with a windowpane weave. As I was just about to give up my search at my local JoAnn's, I wandered over to the home dec section and found the sheers right on the first row. It is so soft that it'll be a dream to wear. And since it's sheer, I'll also need to whip up a bodiced petticoat for modesty.

I'm working from a sketch from Fashion in Detail of an early 1800s dress. I pulled out my most recent sage green ballgown pattern and spent quite a bit of time altering it. The muslin is cut and ready to be sewn for a first fitting. Although I'm hoping my patterning will allow me to get away with just the one fitting so I can move onto the robe.

Here is the first rough draft of the pattern:

The sleeve head has a 1" seam allowance for pin-fitting into the armhole during the fitting.

Initially I wanted a pelisse to complete my outfit. My model for the Jane Fest presentation will be in a spencer and I wanted to show another example of outerwear (despite wanting a new spencer because I love them). But in consideration of the early style dress, I went with the open robe that is quite popular with early Regency costumers.

I've pulled out my Janet Arnold book along with the Cut of Women's Clothes by Norah Waugh which both show the open dress from the V&A. You can also see a reproduction in yellow on Kate Winslet as Marianne in the 1995 Sense and Sensibility.

But I'll have to finish the dress first before I continue with the robe. So back to sewing...