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.

 

  • Sara N.

    It looks beautiful!

  • Caitlyn Myers

    Wow, color me impressed! The construction is really clever, and I agree that you managed to find a style that doesn’t look dowdy or childish. But my favorite part is the bonnet–it’s just perfect. I love the setting that you photographed in, too, although I have no idea how you survived outside in so many layers without completely melting in the heat.

    • Thank you! It was the morning so it wasn’t super hot yet. I wanted to take pics in that park ’cause they have peacocks there but all the birds were chilling up in the trees so no shots of me and peafowl. The gardens are still nice tho. 😉

  • jen

    This costume is amazing! It all looks so authentic 🙂 I cant imagine how warm it must have been wearing it out though!!

    • Thanks, we went out at 9 am purely for that reason. It was still a little warm, though. I guess I’ll need to make a “summer” regency dress soon.

  • Adriane

    Dixie Victorian must be very proud!

  • Suzanne

    Oh, I really love that! You look like you belong in a Jane Austen movie.

  • Gorgeous! Your hair and skin are just right for this costume…

  • Gail

    This is just so cool! I love that you include the details of when these styles were popular, and how widely worn they were. Great work!

    • Thanks! I’ve learned so much about the time period from even just a little researching, especially how the details in fashion changed over a relatively short period of time.

  • Steely Seamstress

    This is wonderful. It looks so authentic. I just thought you might be interested in this http://www.janeaustenfestivalbath.co.uk/ – it’s a Jane Austen festival in Bath (UK). I know that’s probably a bit far for you to come! But I’m hoping that they will put up some photos on the site of the regency parade.

    • Thanks, I’ve heard of that festival before but I doubt I’ll be able to go to it anytime soon. It looks so much fun, though!

  • Lia Marcoux

    Aaahmazing. Amazingamazingamazing. I especially love that bonnet. And your research is so thorough! Ahh!

    • Thank you! The bonnet is probably my favorite part of the whole outfit.

  • Love seeing one of the new Laughing Moon patterns made up. It looks fantastic on you, and such a lovely color. Well done! The whole look is spot on.

    • Thanks! I really like LM designs and patterns. All one ones I’ve used have been great so far.