Politic Regency gown

This weeks challenge for the HSF was nr 11 and called “The politics of Fashion”.

Going into this years sewing I already knew I wanted a new regency dress, and since I can’t even look at the sheernes of the empir-gowns without thinking about the french revolution, Napoleon and everything in between, the choise of challenge was an easy one.

For those who don’t know, the style emerged from a mash up of: ladies freeing themself from the restrictive fashions of the 18th century, and the dream of a democratic state most like the one in ancent greece. 1778old-meets-new-french(The fact that the two citys Pompeii and Herculanum was just discovered beneath the ashes of mount Vesuvius, did their part in the sudden cravings for everything greek/roman styled I’m sure).rediscovery_lrg

I also had one other reason for picking this style of dress: I needed to try out some patterns for the regency sewing course I will be hosting this autumn.

So, after some searcing for suatable dress types, patterns and fabrics, I decided on this lovely yet stylistic shape as inspiration for my gown.69313281734961047_9TtejShl_c

Using the Simplicity 4055 pattern. IMG_8293

And a soft light yellow cotton voile I found in my stash.IMG_9226

Since this was my first time using a comercial pattern in about 10 years, and thinking of my would be students, I decided to follow the instructions to the point. IMG_8295Well that didn’t happend, but at least I read them through…

Or rater I did read them, but only after I discovered the back bodice pieces didn’t even come close to match up.IMG_8301After some iritation about “bad constructed comercial patterns” I discovered that the pattern company had included all the seam allowence beforehand. So cutting of my added allowence I sewed the back up – and it matched perfectly. Ops…IMG_8302

Putting that aside, I continued making the mock-up, and tried it on.IMG_8325

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It looked pretty good, and only needed some smaler tweeks.

So on to the fashion fabric. And since I only had about 1,5 m of the voile, I relinquised from the pattern and drafted a slim skirt with only a litle gatering at center back (instead of the large skirt panels originaly recured).

Then I cut the bodice , basted the soft ivory cotton used for interlining to the bodice pieces, and pinned everything togeter.

My ambition was to make the wole dress by hand, so I stiched the skirt, bodice and sleeve pieces togeter and felled all the seams.
I gatered both the skirt waist, the bust draping and basted the puffsleves.

Then I run out of time.

And when I realised, the day before the dance recidal, that I sewed two right back pieces, I gave up and treaded my machine.IMG_9074From there on it went pretty fast.

I sewed he bodice to the lining and set the sleeves. Decorating them with rows of trimming to make them even puffier, and ending them in smal self made bias strips.IMG_9078

I worked some eyelets to the front lining, and stiched a chanal for the gatering-cord on the upper edge of the bodice.IMG_9075Then I attached the skirt to the bodice, put on some hooks and eyes for clouser, cut the lenght and sewed the hem (finishing about 10 minutes before I needed to put it on to be able to go to the recidal).

The Finished dress:IMG_9201














Sneak a peak from the photoshoot:IMG_9142

Just the facts:

Challenge: Nr 11 – The Politics of fashion

What: An early 19th century regency gown.

Politic: The softer style developed in the late 18th century as a reaction to a lots of things:
-The opulance in fashion in the upper class leading up to the french revoultion.
-The introduction of the cheeper, more light weight indian cotton now being avalible to people all over europe.
-And the discovery of Pompeii and Herculaium, creating a dream of the ancient democracy, and a thous new cravings for more draped greecian clothing.
Read more on: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1795%E2%80%931820_in_Western_fashion

Pattern: Simplicity 4055 regency gowns.

Fabric: 1,5 m of light yellow cotton voile, 0,3 m of thin ivory cotton for interlining.

Notions: Thread, buttonhole thread, hooks and eyes, 1m of cord and 2 m of decoation trim.

How historical accurate: The pattern are supposed to be from an autentic sorce, but since I adapted it to my likning and fabric measurments I really don’t know anymore. The fabrics and ribbons are right, but since some of it are made on the sewing machine I would say 6/10.

Time: Since such a big part of the dress are sewed by hand, I think the total tally are up to about 15-20 hours. (Made only on machine it wouldn’t have taken more then 6 I think.)

Cost: No more than 100 sek (16 Usd).

First worn: On june 14th at the local dance festival, where my historic dance group did a performance. (picture are comming soon)

Final thoughts: I wished I would have had a bit more fabric for the back gahtering, and also that I would have taken the time to get the bust gatering in the right place (now they are a bit to far at the sides, making the bodice line look a bit bulky). But otherwise I like the it a lot, even though it reminds me of bumblebees a bit with the darer stripes.
And I’m happy that the pattern turned out to work so well.

Changes to a Regency Gown

About a year ago I took on a comision from one of the ladiees in my dance companys historical dancing group. They were having a regency bal, and she wanted something nice to wear.

She bought a pattern and we visited a couple of fabric stores to find the perfect fabric.

51cX1YofXlLThe pattern was “Reconstructing History nr 838” and called for some lightweight cotton or silk fabric.

We decided to go in a different direction – mostly beacause my client wanted something darker and more sutable for her age. We setteled on a nice striped cotton for the bodice and a navy blue cotton velvet to usa for the skirt.

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I took her measurments and strated on a mock-up. The pattern caused some problems having non-matching seams, and really strange proportions. After some fideling with the pattern I manadged to produce a well fitted gown. And she was really happy with it.

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Half a year later we attended the same Regency event and I noticed the gown looked a bit large on her. IMG_2244

So we decided to take it in, and to shorten it a bit. It took a couple of months for us to get together and take the new measurments. Then it took a few more months until I had the time to start working on it.

I ripped the hem out, cut the lenght, then I pressed and sewed the new hem. IMG_4717

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Then I started working on the bodice. This was the part I feared the most. It needed to be taken in about 6 cm at the top and 10 at the underbust. A quite large amount considering there where no good places/seams to do it.IMG_6047The pins makt the widht to sew in.

I closed my eyes and started to rip the linning out, and then taking the neccesary widht in at the waist and underarm seam. I also took a couple of cm out in the front, shortening the velvet ribbon and gathering the front bodice some more. Then I re-attaced the linning and the waistband.



Then, when she came to try it on, before taking it home, the dress was to smal…

So I opened the linning once more and let it out again. And now it will finaly fit her again.


(I’m so taking a break from comissions right now).

1810s Layering

Last weekend when dressing for the “Mikelsmäss” I spent 1 hour on my hair (curling, styling and tying the turban) and the remaining 10 minutes to get the rest of the costume on.

This was not a good way to do it, since I usally count at least 30 minutes for the dressing. So I ended up going “half dressed” to the event, and needed help with getting the fichu right and to close the dress when I arriwed.

The reason why it takes so long getting dressed, are of course the many different layers of clothing you need to get the right look of your costume. And tying a back laced corset on your own takes both skills and time.

So here is an other “un-dressing” post – Regency style.

IMG_2256Lets start fully dressed in: Gown and fichu, whit a headress (turban) and some accessoares like mittens and a shawl.

You could also wear a open robe or a spencer over the dress, and a few more accessoares like a riddicule (bag), muff, fan or a parasol.

IMG_2264Lets take away the accessories.

By now you could call yourself dressed and be on your way. But you would need some small items/accessoares to compleate the look of your costume.

IMG_2266Once we take the gown of, we reveal the complete fichu, the petticoat and the some of the corset.

The fichu is a pice of sheer fabric shaped as a rectangel or a tiangel. Ladies used it to cover the neck and bust, and pined it on before putting on the gown.

IMG_2273Removing the fichu we now view the top part of the corset and the petticoat.

The regency lady could also have worn an extra under-dress on top of the undergarmnents, to prevent see-througness in verry sheer gowns.

IMG_2278And then we are down to the underpinings with the corset, chemise, stockings and shoes.

The chemise are worn to keep the swett and dirt from the body away from the corset.

 The corset could also be in a short style (ending right below the bust), or in a wraping style.

It is important to remember to put the shoes on before the corset – since it is very difficult to lace or attach buckles while fully corsetted.


A month ago I got asked to be part of the dancing entertainment on a event the local historic museum were arranging.

So this weekend (29 sep) I got my regency clothing together and hurried to get to the “on spot” rehersal.

I curled my hair and tied a shawl as a turban, then I attached a brosch and some feathers to get the right regency look.


I hurried to lace my brand new corset, put on the petticoat, stockings and mylovely “Kensingtons” shoes from American Duchess.


Unfortanley I didn’t have the time to find some ribbons to replace the shoe buckles with. Although 20 years wrong in the time period they do look beautiful.

The dress I wore was the HSF Striped regency gown, matched with mittens, fichu and an shawl.

The dinner went well, and the dancing even better, with lots of on-lookers and applaudes.

And now for some pictures:

IMG_2211Ladies inside warming themselfe before the dancing.

IMG_2210Our gentlemen

IMG_2218Outside, listening to speeches after the dancing. (sorry for the poor quality photos – It was quite dark by this time.)


IMG_2227Talking after the dance.

IMG_2231Anna, looking lovely in the dress she made herself for a prevous event.

IMG_2240The whole group

IMG_2243Solveig, Anna and Sievert.

IMG_2244Me and Solveig. I made both our dresses this past year, from the same pattern (Reconstructing History nr 838).


IMG_2249 I found it exiting to notice the differences between the dresses and the way they look being worn in two different ways.

Wood, Metal and Corsets

As the 19th HSF challenge Wood, Metal and Bone past by I feelt I needed to make something a bit more challenging then the Suffragett brosches I finished just in time.

An with a regency event coming up swifty, I decided it was time to make myself the 1820s corset I’ve been wanting since I bought a wooden busk half a year ago.

Here are some inspiration pictures:







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And the pattern comes from the trusted Norah Waughs “Corset and Crinolines” – A 1820s corset.

1820 waugh

I bought 0,5m of cream colored cotton sateen, and found some plain cotton sheet for the linnig and interlinning in my stash.

I dafted the patten, made some changes to the sizing and made a mock-up.


I needed to raise the cups 1,5 cm and take them in 2cm a the top. And lenghten the shoulder straps.

IMG_2181I also needed to add 4-5 cm to the back pieces.

After drafting the alterations on the pattern, I cut and interlined all of the pieces.

I sewed the bust and hip gores, the boning chanels and set the gromets on the back pieces.


Then I started on the decoration.


By now I feelt I was running out of time (this was just a couple of hours before the event) and I needed to decide which ones of the decoration seams was the most neccessary – regarding both prettynes and function, though to the strengtening quality of the stiching.


Then I made and attached the lining and putt the boning in to the chanels. I used bias-tape to bind the edges, and put a drawstring into the bias-casing in the front of the corset. Making it adjustable over the bust.

I finished sewing just in time, since I straight away needed to hurry to get dressed and on my way.











Just the facts:

Challenge: 19 – Wood, Metal and Bone.

What: A regency corset

Year: 1800 – 1830s

Pattern: Nora Waughs “Corset and Crinolines” – a 1920s corset.

Fabrics: 0,5 m of cream cotton sateen, 1 m of white cotton sheet.

Notions: One wooden busk, bias tape, thread, gromets, boning (cable-tie and plastic whalebone), lacing-cord and ribbon.

How historical accurate: Machine made with gromets and polyester thread. Butt the pattern, shape and the color are correct. Mabye 5/10.

Time: 10 hours (the evening before and the same morning as the event).

Cost: 200 Sek (22 Usd)(50 Sek, not counting stash).

First worn: On 28 sep “Mickelsmäss” (celebration of the harwest) where I was part of the dancing entertainment.

Final toughts: The corset do what it is supposed to (bust-wise), but I’ts not that comfortable. I almost got a cramp in my side/waist sitting in it for two hours. Mabye I need to change the fit.

Regency accessoars

To make a historical outfit all you need is the right undergarnments and a plausible fabric in a color or pattern used during the intended era. (Honestly, in most circles you can get away with lots of inaccuracies if you have the overall silhouette down)

But how to make your costume go from “nice” to “wonderful”?

It’s all in the accessories.

What would your Elizabethian dress be without the starched ruff, or your 18th century Anglaise without the headgehog-hair/wig.

So for the HSF challenge 7 “accessorize” I decided to style my new Regency gown (which I made in the 6th challenge) with some matching accessories.

But what would I make? There are so many things the proper Regency lady would need.

1817-walking-dress-la-belle-assemblee2Robes and ridicules …

imagesCAW6EP0V… turbans, open robe, spencer, fans and muffs …

regencyfashion… shawls, bonnets, gloves and parasols.

I decided to prioritate headwear – since my hair is cropped in a boyish style I would never be able to arrange it in the curly up-dos so popular at the time. So instead I need to cover it up.

I searched all the stores in town for a straw hat to make into a bonnet. But the sunbonnets was no where to be seen in the still cold and snowy march.

So I needed to re-think the bonnet and decided on the much simpler turban. I bouhgt a shawl in a similar green color as the trimmings on my dress, and practiced wraping and pinning the turban to my head. The American Duchess has a great tutorial which I used to get the shawl to co-operate.

But since the turban seemed a bit too easy I also decided to make some gloves – or mittens to be exact.


mittens-18th-c-met-musThese were my main inspirations

Using the pattern from “Costume Close-up”, I drafted and cut the pieces in an ivory cotton blend.


They are completely handsewn and decorated with green buttonhole thread and the same green linnen as for the gown trimmings.

I also bought an ivory lace fan, and cut a big triangle of ivory organdy to use as a fichu (neck coverage) for the photoshoot.




accessorisePhoto: Elin Petersson

Just the facts:

Challenge nr 7 – Accessorize

What: White and green Regency mittens. And my light entries – the green turban (a scarf) and white fichu (a hemed piece of organza).

Fabric: 0,5 m cream colored, thick cotton fabric with a small soft nape.

Pattern: “Costume Close-up” By Linda Baumgarter – Mittens.

Year: 1740-1840.

Notions: Pieces of contrasting green fabric, sewing thread and green buttonhole thread.

How accurate: Pretty good – completely hand stitched with historical patterns and sewing techniques. So about 90 %.

Hours: 6 hours – lots of decorative handstitching.

Cost: 8 USD.

First worn: On Gods friday when we had the photoshoot.

Final thoughts: I love my mittens and plan to make lots of them in different colors and fabrics.

I also noticed that the hostess of HSF The Dreamstess mentioned my mittens as one of her favourite accessories for this challenge.

Regency Stripes

Well, as I haven’t been able to sew all the things I’d liked this month, I will continue to posts about the HSF-challenges finished earlier this year. And as soon as I manadge to find the time to make something new (and to photograph it) I vill share it whit you.


For the HSF challenge nr 6 – Stripes, back in mars I knew that I wanted to make a regency dress. Having recently finished my first attempt at this kind of dress for a customer in december, and was itching to give it an other try.

Here are some of my inspiraion dresses. 1810klein



I already had the pattern since before: Reconstructing History- lady’s regency gown, but I hated it. Everything was wrong with it. The pieces didn’t fit togheter, and the gathering was just ridiculously massive. It gave me a serius head-ake trying too figuring it out the first time.


So I studied the pieces of Arnolds two regency patterns.2013-03-03 18.42.55


Then I re-cutt the pattern to make a lot more sence. I made a mock-up and did some final adjustments to the pattern.

Then I found the perfect fabric super cheap in my new favourite fabric store.

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It is a pistage-green striped really thin cotton weave. I also got a darker green linnen, cream colored lace and a plastic row of pearls for the decoration.

The sewing went fast and easy and after only one day of sewing I could try it on to check the lenght and back closure.

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Then I hemed it, and hand stiched on the lace and beads.

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And finished










IMG_1573Photo: Elin Petersson

Just the facts:

Challenge nr 6 – Stripes

What: A simple mint green Regency dress

Fabric: 3,5 m of soft and thin cotton fabric (almost like voile).

Pattern: “Reconstructing History” nr 838. Not a pattern I would recommend for a beginner. I had to change and alter almost every pattern piece. (I think it would have been both faster and easier to make a new one from scratch).

Year: About 1800 – 1810

Notions: Green contrast fabric, 5 pearl buttons for closure, thread, 2 m of lace and 3m of pearl-ribbon.

How accurate: Mostly made by machine, and with modern pattern reconstruction and sewing method. So except for the silhouette and the “look” of the dress – not accurate at all I’m afraid.

Hours: About 16 (with lots of handstitching on the decor).

Cost: About 30 USD

First worn: On Gods friday when we had the photoshoot.