Tuesday, August 12, 2008

All Dressed Up, No Place To Go

Well, I'm not technically 'all dressed up' since the dress still needs a few last minute touches, but the Jane Austin ball that I was rushing the dress for sadly sold out weeks in advance. I'll have to come up with something else to do with my Regency gown. I've learned my lesson, though. I immediately purchased tickets for Gatsby's Tavern's next event, the Governor's Ball, as well as my membership for Costume Con 2009. The Governor's Ball is 18th century, so I'll be all set with my 18th century Robe Francaise. I would like to get a wig and restyle it in the tall hair of the 1770's before the ball. I'm also starting to think ahead to possibly signing up for Costume College 2009 as well (which will involve going the Costume Guild West), the Dulles Sewing Expo, and Salon Con. I can't do them all...so we'll see which ones catch my fancy.
So, here's the bodice after it was fitted. Oddly enough, it overlapped too much on top in the back, and too little around the ribcage. I say 'oddly' because my ribcage and waist measurements are significantly smaller in proportion to my bust measurement. I normally have issues with the fit on top. It was easy enough to fix - I re-cut the pattern piece so the bottom was larger, and voila!
The bodice is always the hardest part, so once that was fitted it was just a matter of sewing in the sleeves, waistband, and skirt which I had already previously assembled.
I was very happy with the way the back of the dress turned out. All of those pretty gathers and pleats are perfect for the late 1790's/early 1800's, and I even managed to smush the gathers enough that they all sewed onto the back pattern piece only (apparently the gathers aren't supposed to be on the side back panel at all).
So here's how the dress is looking. This week I've been doing small hand stitched finishing details (like hemming the armbands and sewing in the waistband lining). I then need to do a LOT of practice button holes before attempting them on the dress. I've never been to great at button holes, and needless to say I will not go near my dress until I have mastered this elusive skill. Oh, and I should probably also buy some buttons. :)

One question for my readers - does the dress look sufficiently trimmed? The early Regency is marked by the simplicity of the gowns, so I didn't want to overdo it. I still have enough Sari trim to put a band of gold around the hemline (maybe even two stripes, one large, one smaller on top), or I could put a band of gold down the center front of the gown. Check out the Marquise website or Prints George to see pictures from the era if you're not familiar with gown styles. What do you think?


Courtney said...

I just stumbled across your blog, and I had to tell you how impressed I am. I'm a librarian by day, an aspiring historical costumer by night (I used to work in the costume shop of my college's theater department--that's where it started), and a relatively recent transplant to the NoVA area. I've been struggling to try and get working on projects instead of daydreaming about them (what with space at a premium here, let alone sewing-room space, and fabric stores few and far between), but knowing that there's someone as talented as you creating such beautiful work right "in my own back yard" has made me determined to get things under way, so that when CostumeCon comes to Baltimore, I'm ready. :) So, thank you for the inspiration!

Inoui said...


Thank you so much for your very kind words! Costuming is my evening hobby as well. If you have not checked it out yet, please visit the mid-atlantic costuming website. It has a running list of local costume events, and you can meet more local historical costumers. All the best!


Anonymous said...

I think you've done a wonderful job on the back pleats. They are perfect for the era. As for the trim, it looks gorgeous as it is. If anything you could trim the neck with the same trim that's on the sleeve bands.

Anonymous said...

If I may add my 2 cents, I think one thin band of the same trim would be nice around the hem. I think that would give the overall effect a well finished and "framed" look. What I usually do when trying to figure stuff like that out is actually go ahead and pin it on in place to see just how I like it, or not.

Kanga said...

This is GORGEOUS! Oh, I wish you were my neighbor so I could come to you when I need help, LOL! I am so impressed with your work - truly!