Sunday, 25 January 2015

Progress on the Regency Dress

I have no experience in pattern drafting: enter the 'making it up as you go along' dress.

I literally drew a bodice shape, then held it up to my body to check that the neckline was where I wanted it to be, re- drawing it until I had the right shape.  Next up, I made a quick draft version of the bodice.  This showed me the final version would need to be longer in length, and with additional length in the straps.

The fabric I am using for both this draft version and the main under-dress is simply some very old bed linen.  It is old, beautifully thick and crisp at the edges, but soft, thread-bare, and holey in the middle.  The  gathers didn't work too well in this thick fabric, so I've decided to make the under-dress smooth with darts and leave the gathering for the thinner more drapey lace over-layer. 

For the skirt, I cut the fabric in a vague A-line shape, the waist matching the bodice's dimensions at the front, as regency dresses were mainly flat fronted, with gathers or pleats at the back. I cut the back skirts just over a hand's width wider than the back bodice to allow for pleats.

You'll notice there are no zips or buttonholes at the back.  Instead, the dress will be closed traditionally with a drawstring at the neckline, and another at the waist. The rest of the dress remains open. The drawstring is done by creating a channel with self fabric; this also serves to cover all raw edges!

You can just about make out the pleats at the back.  Though white on white is hard to see!

Next, I am attempting to create pleats at the bust with the lace. I had no idea how to do this; so, with the fabric on my mannequin, I pinned it to how I wanted it to look, and then basted the fabric in place.

The lace is a simple dobby-spot design; this design of fabric is Regency accurate.  My fabric is a cheapo poly though, but I like it and think the teal colour is fun.

So that's as far as I've got to date. I now need to draft some little sleeves, and sew all of the overdress together. I have just under two weeks left to go!  I also have to find time to cobble an outfit together for darling husband. Fingers crossed that it all comes together!  


  1. Wow that looks like a very impressive start there! Love the colour of the teal overlay fabric. It's going to look splendid x

  2. The 'making it up as you go along' seems to be working very well so far - it's looking great!