Friday, August 1, 2014

HSF'14: #14 Paisley & Plaid: Regency Day Dress

There was a bit of excitement in my city this past week! While I am very positive I am not the only historical fashion enthusiast in town, I wasn't sure how to go about finding other people. I have a partner in crime who is quite happy to make dresses and wear them out with me, but we have a hard time getting together sometimes. I am not really interested in the focus groups, and I just don't have the energy to work up to creating a group myself (though I may still have to). Then, we found out that someone in our city is very passionate about Regency and is holding a ball in September! My partner in crime was THRILLED and has leapt into wardrobes with both feet. As it happened, I had a Regency gown planned for the Paisley & Plaid challenge, so I spent the night at her house where we had the unusual but enjoyable experience of making a pair of dresses from the same pattern. Within a 24 hour period, we both had dresses that were only in need of a few finishing touches, such as hems. I finished my dress the next day when I would normally be tempted to let it sit and then finish it right before I wanted to wear it. Sure does feel good to finish something, though!

I feel the need to tell you, lovely readers, that I have never liked paisley. I was probably in my early teens, and a lot of the linens I'd received from my grandparents (being hand-me-downs from the 70s, probably) had these horrible (I thought) paisley prints on them. E-yeuch! And even up until a few months ago, I hated paisley. What an awful motif, I thought. Well, while I'm still not a huge fan, when my mum's stash was available for picking and some paisleys in not-horrible-70s-prints came out, I knew I had a paisley challenge coming up, and I grabbed them for my own stash.

I'd wanted to try the La Mode Bagatelle pattern for some time. I liked that it was a complete wardrobe from the skin out, and was eager to see how it went together. My partner in crime was just finishing a bodiced petticoat as I arrived, and after a bit of pattern tracing, fabric choosing and washing, and supper, we cut our fabrics. I had to make a mock-up bodice, which I then used as the lining.

My partner in crime leapt into the construction with both feet, while I took the time to read the directions, sometimes several times over. I did not find them to be the clearest directions, so if you use this pattern and like to read directions, take the time to read them carefully. Despite that discrepancy in our working styles, we progressed at about the same rate.

We both felt that the band was a great idea, giving the bodice a bit more support to sit under the bust, rather than having the skirt start falling from the same place. We also felt that it was just a little too long, and cut ours shorter to better suit our tastes. I waited to gather my bodice until the false bib was in place, rather than gathering the layers individually. Before attaching the skirt, we added on our sleeves. I know she had to play with the size of the band to achieve the look she wanted, and I ended up taking mine in a bit well after the rest of the dress was completed (but before it was hemmed). After that, it was just attaching the skirt - she kept hers with a flat front and gathered in the back, I pleated mine starting at the edges of the false bib with most of the fullness concentrated at the back.

I took my dress home with only closures, hemming, and finishing the false bib to finish. It was a very productive day! We got through an entire season of Doctor Who as we sewed. And I probably could have pushed a bit harder and had it finished the same day I took it home, but in the end, I worked on it slowly and finished it the day after. Which is still good, I usually wait much longer to finish a dress! I really can't wait to wear this out somewhere :)

What the item is: Regency Cotton Day Dress
The Challenge: #14 Paisley & Plaid
Fabric: 4m of cotton paisley print (60" wide).
Pattern: La Mode Bagatelle false bib-front round gown with long sleeves
Year: 1810s?
Notions: thread, ribbon, self-covered buttons
How historically accurate is it? Probably not very. Fabric content, sure, pattern, maybe. Mostly machine sewn, with hand-finishing on the hems.
Hours to complete: A season of Doctor Who, including patterning.
First worn: Not yet, but hopefully soon!
Total cost: The fabric was from my mum's stash (so free to me), a bit of ribbon and broadcloth from my partner in crime's stash, three button bases left over from my last Regency dress that I got on sale... I'm just gonna call this one free :D (Oh, I will need to buy a bit of tape for the band facing, so it'll be around $1)

And a preview of it being worn! (Apologies for the bathroom selfie and cropping out my laundry-day hair. I broke my full length mirror a few weeks ago. Epic sad-face!)

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