Full Regency Era Costume

Regency Costume

At last I have taken proper pictures of this costume!

Regency Costume

I’m wearing my Regency underthings along with a bodiced petticoat (which is exactly what it sounds like – a petticoat with a sleeveless bodice attached to it).

Regency Costume

The Dress first: Some soft blue cotton I bought locally at a store that no longer exists :(

If you’ve read my previous post on sewing Regency you’ll know that I’ve had such a hard time with Big 4 company costume designs. For this go around I went with Laughing Moon #126. I knew I wanted to be able to dress myself so I chose the “apron front” or “bib front” gown design.

Regency Costume

The way it works is pretty neat – the dress has two long slits down the front sides and this is attached to the gathered rectangle portion of the bodice. You put the dress on, then pull up the front of the dress, tie it around in the back (like you would an apron) and pin (yes pin, with little straight pins) the gathered bodice to the shoulder area of the dress (kind of like you would with a pin on apron.

No, you don’t get stabbed by the pins. You’ve got lots of extra layers underneath the dress. And you can barely see the pins once they’re attached.

Regency Costume

This style was only popular from around the late 1790s to 1810 but I like it much better than the back buttoning dresses (those are difficult for me to put on alone).

Regency Costume

Some cool features of this pattern which I liked and felt were more authentic than the Big 4 patterns I used – extra long sleeves that cover half your hands, a back bodice seam that raises up higher than the front, sleeve caps that extend far in on the back shoulders, a ton of back pleats, and a nicely curved and wide front neckline. All of these details are accurate to the time period.

I made a straight size 12 and it fit perfectly right out of the envelope (I seriously love this company, they’re now my go-to for all historical patterns).

Regency Costume

Prior patterns I’ve used ended up looking too frumpy or too juvenile but this pattern looks elegant even though it’s only a day dress and nothing fancy.

The only thing I changed was making the neckline lower by about 2 inches.

Unfortunately my bodiced petticoat’s neckline isn’t as wide as the dress’ but that’s ok because the open neck area was usually covered by a chemisette/tucker (like a 19th century dickie) or a fichu (a square of fabric wrapped around and tucked into the dress, kind of a fashion leftover from the late 18th century) which is was this is. It’s just an unhemmed piece of chiffon.

Regency Costume

The bonnet I’m quite proud of. It’s the Lucia pattern and kit from Timely Tresses. I chose this “jockey” style because I’d never made a hat before and wanted to start simple. The big gold feather came from them, too.

The ribbon is just some satin poly. I bought it and the fancy velvet trim at Joann.

The fabric is some silk crepe de chine which I’m not entirely sure is accurate to the time but I liked the color and it made for a nice, lightweight bonnet. The lining is handkerchief weight linen.

For my first try at a bonnet it went pretty well. The only thing I didn’t like was that it seemed that the last section of “poof” in the back of the bonnet was way poofier than other areas. Maybe I messed something up, I don’t know. So in the end I tacked some portions down in back to reel in the poof.

I also got a tiny 1/2″ barrel curling iron to curl my bangs and hair around my face. However the humidity made my curls all go flat after only about 5 minutes. Oh, well.

The curly style was quite popular at the time. Here’s a good Pinterest board with tons of portrait examples.

Regency Costume

And finally, I bought some ivory flocked silk stockings from this site and some ballet flats that I decorated with ribbon (inspired by this extant pair) to complete the look.

Regency CostumeI have these and a bunch of extra photos in my flickr costumes album if you want to see more or see anything up close.

 

Scout Tee Forever!

Knit Grainline Studio Scout Tee
Ok, I feel I should preface this post with a bit of backstory. The week before I made these shirts I had been making a lot of sewing mistakes. Repeatedly. Dumb mistakes. And I should know better.

For example I was sewing a bag, a large tote bag with lots of pockets. I totally messed up the outside zipper pockets. I read the instructions wrong or mixed up the illustrations. In the end, I had to re-do several steps before I could continue.

Then I worked on a baby romper for a friend. In my defense, one of the pattern pieces was mislabeled so I marked the wrong spot to attach ruffles. But I can’t blame a typo for mixing up my ruffles and I swear to thread I sewed that damn bodice with that super tricky elastic onto the bottom part of the romper three times! Ugh. And I have to do it again! Grainline Studio Scout Tee

…with those setbacks in mind I felt I needed a “quick win” and what better pattern to use than Grainline’s Scout Tee.

scouttee
(Precious Scout Tee, too good for this world, too pure…)

“When in doubt, make a Scout” should be carved on my gravestone.

I made these two Scouts over a couple of days and it’s nice to just have a simple project to get your sewjo back.

Knit Grainline Studio Scout Tee
The Fabric: I can squeeze a Scout out of less than a yard of fabric which makes it a great candidate for stash busting. Both of these fabrics are leftovers from previous projects.

The gray top is a printed cotton jersey I bought from the Cloth Pocket sometime last year. This is my first knit scout and I used the same size I normally cut and it worked out fine. The only problem with this fabric is that the grainline is so janky and sideways I had difficulty figuring out how to lay the fabric straight. Grainline Studio Scout Tee

The brown chevron version uses leftover rayon challis from this romper from last year. I had to drown this stuff in starch, it was so shifty, and I was forced to cut one of the sleeves out a second time because it was so oddly shaped.

Knit Grainline Studio Scout Tee
The Changes: Nothing major. I tried a new technique on the knit top neckline. I sewed the binding so if folded over to the right side, stitched it down and left the raw edge free.

It rolls up on itself and I think it makes a cool effect. Oh, and did I mention that I totally sewed the binding on the wrong way the first attempt because I am why I can’t have nice things? Knit Grainline Studio Scout Tee

I also tried a technique that my friend Susan recommended to first adhere some Stitch Witchery in the hems as a stabilizer and then sew over it with a twin needle. It helps prevent that ridge you sometimes get with twin needles and makes for a crisp hem without making it too stiff.

On the rayon top I cut the neckline about 3/4″ lower for some reason I don’t remember.

Grainline Studio Scout Tee

The Results: Ugh, sometimes you just need something to work. Something familiar and safe. If there’s comfort sewing like there’s comfort food then the Scout is my buttery mashed potatoes.

30 Days of Sundresses – Indigo Dyed Beach Cover Up

Indigo Dyed Beach Cover-up
My good friend Melissa from Melly Sews is a fellow Austinite. You might have seen me talk about her a few times.

30 Days

Like last year I decided to join her month long celebration of summer-y dresses but this time I wanted to mix it up so I made a fun beach cover up. And as my upcoming island vacation is not for another couple of months I’m afraid my backyard fence will have to stand in for white capped waves and beach umbrellas.

Indigo Dyed Beach Cover-up

I was inspired by the tunic-style simple dresses I’ve seen. I also liked long sleeves because I hate to get sunburned. It rather short, and the front slit rather deep so no one would mistake this for a real dress. It’s very much a walk-from-the-beach-to-the-resort-lobby kind of garment.

Indigo Dyed Beach Cover-up

I like the breezy look of white fabric but I wanted an extra bit of flare so I decided to dye my fabric.

Indigo Dyed Beach Cover-up

Oh, and pom poms! ‘Cause when else do you really get to flaunt some chunky pom poms on your clothes?
youwillneed

For this design you will need:

– About 2-3 yds of natural fiber white fabric. I used a linen/cotton blend.

– About 3 yds of big pom pom trim.

– A bucket or large container WITH A LID. Plus another bucket or bowl for water to soak your fabric.

– A dowel rod or something that can be used to stir the dye – NOT a food utensil.

– Water

– An indigo dye kit (I used this one, which has all the materials you need) or your own dye.

– A plain t-shirt or woven bodice sewing pattern with sleeves. I’m using Grainline’s Scout Tee because it doesn’t have any darts and I am too lazy for darts.

Indigo Dyed Beach Cover-up

Dyeing the fabric:

I dyed my fabric prior to cutting out the pieces just in case I messed up.

I did cut down my fabric into two smaller sections so that it would be easier to fold and handle.

Following the kit directions I went outside and put 4 gallons of warm water to my plastic box.

dyevat

Then I poured in the indigo dye. It quickly starts to change color once it hits the water. Neat looking, right?

After that I added the reducing agents and mixed. The key to indigo dying is to not introduce oxygen in the dye so you always need to stir very slowly without splashing and cover the dye container in between uses. Oxygen “sets” the dye so if too much gets in the dye vat it won’t work.

Stir the mixture gently and let sit, covered, for about half an hour or until the liquid itself turns a lime green color and the top of the vat has a layer of darker blue on top (called “flower” or “bloom”). It kind of works like a protective barrier to keep oxygen out.

Prepare your fabric by folding it up. For my square pattern I folded it accordion style down one direction then the other making a nice little stack of fabric. The kit comes with a booklet of patterns to try.

Then I placed the two wooded boards included in the kit on either side and secured them with rubber bands (also in the kit).

watersoak

I soaked the fabric in water and squeezed out excess air and fluid and transferred it to the dye vat.

You’ll need gloves for this part, obviously. Push the flower aside and carefully dip the fabric in the vat. Don’t let it hit the bottom as sediment can collect down there.

I kept my fabric submerged for only 2 min or so but you can keep yours in longer.

greenfabric

Then take it out and set it aside. It will look lime green but after exposing the newly dyed fabric to air it will begin to turn blue.

dryingfabric

The fabric looks darker while wet.

When you’re finished you can keep the vat covered and it will last for about a day just in case you decide to go dye-happy and find every white shirt and pillowcase in your house and dunk it in there.

 

Cutting pattern pieces:

After the fabric has dried, gently wash and iron it.

From here you need a few measurements. 1) The length of the dress from the center front neckline point to hem + seam and hem allowances, and 2) the length of the sleeve from the underarm point to hem + seam and hem allowances

bodice_pattern

I took the front and back pieces of my scout tee and aligned on the fold of my fabric. Then, with my ruler I extended the center front line down from the neckline to my new hem (Measurement 1). I next extended my side seam down and slightly outward from the underarm point and drew a gently curved line connecting my new center front and side seams at the hem.

sleeve_pattern

I made the sleeves longer by doing something similar – extending the seam lines down and out to give the sleeve a bit of a “bell” shape, and adding a slightly curved hem (Measurement 2).

makefacing

For the neckline you have a few options. You can simply bind it with bias tape or you could make a facing with a neckline slit like I did by copying the neckline curve from the original front and back pattern pieces.

Assembly:

Almost finished! From here I put together the pieces like normal.

If you made a new facing sew it on like this:
sewfacing

 

  • Add interfacing if you like to the facing pieces.
  • Sew the dress front and back at the shoulders. Sew the facings at the shoulders.
  • Finish the raw outer edges of the facings.
  • Right sides together, sew the facing around the neckline. When you reach the front slit, stop, pivot, and continue down to your slit end point. Pivot and continue back up making a narrow “V” shape. Pivot again back at the top and continue around to the end.
  • From here you can cut the slit. Be very careful not to cut through the stitches. Clip the corners. You can undersitch the seam allowances to the facing if you’d like.
  • Turn right side out and press.

For the sleeve and dress hems I folded the raw edges inward 1/4″, slipped the pom pom tape inside so it is covered by the folded fabric (and you only see the poms from the outside) and zig zagged around the the edge.

Indigo Dyed Beach Cover-up
I hope you found this tutorial helpful!

Coursegiveaway

Melly Sews is also hosting weekly giveaways celebrating 30 Days of Sundresses. This week you have the chance to win one three detailed and informative online pattern drafting classes (Melissa has her own pattern company so she has a lot of experience in that department). You can click here to enter.

Thanks for reading!

Indigo Dyed Beach Cover-up

My Sewing Room Tour

My sewing room

Cut Out + Keep is hosting a photo tour of my craft room. This is kind of a big deal. Not because my room is extra special or anything. Rather my room normally looks like this:

That means I dumped a bunch of half finished projects in the hall furiously cleaned my room to take these pics. There’s also a little interview if you want to read that.

You can head on over to Cut Out + Keep to witness this one-time only miracle.