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Saturday, July 12, 2014

· Regency Block-Printed Dress ·

Ahhh!  It feels nice to get back to historical clothing for a change- doesn't it?

I finally got a chance to get some more of my past historical projects photographed with Kathryn, so you'll be seeing a few more throughout the summer. :-)

I made this dress 5 years ago for a trip to England, and wore it when we visited Jane Austen's house.  It has had lots of love and wear since then, but its initial outing still evokes happy memories for me. :-)

The dress was based on an original (here), and I fell in love with the fetching idea of a triple row of cording on the top of the bib.  The cording is echoed by triple tucks on the sleeves and the hem.  The bib fastens with dorset buttons- lovingly handmade by my mom. :-)

The silk bonnet was made by my mom from Timely Tresses' Lucia pattern.  This hat was trimmed while we were at our height of Peacock Mania, and I'm now skeptical about the historical accuracy of using them.  However, I still have enough of a Peacock Mania Hangover not to care. ;-)

Recognize this fabric??  This was the original project for this hand-printed muslin from India, but I had enough leftover to make my Block-Printed 1770s Jacket last year.  I love how shockingly different the garments look!  I was cautious about using the same fabric to make a jacket because I was afraid that I would get tired of it and that it would feel too obvious.  Well, I couldn't be more mistaken because I usually end up forgetting that they're the same fabric! ;-)

My base pattern for this dress was Sense & Sensibility's Elegant Lady's Closet pattern.  I'm not a big fan of this pattern in general, but I have found that I'm pretty pleased with the way the back and sleeves work on me.  I used the back, sleeves (cut to a custom length), and front underbodice but made up the bib, skirts, and fastening based on period examples.  The skirt has a couple pleats at the side seams for shaping and gathers in the center back.

Taking these photos was rather bittersweet.  I loved putting it all on again, fell in love with Regency styles all over again, and started getting the urge to finally make that mint sheer stripe I've been saving for an 18-teens dress!  But then the realization hit- I don't really make historical clothing very much anymore.

I feel like I've unintentionally yet naturally moved on to a different phase now.  Gone are the days when I would wear my pre-20th century clothing to church and around the house.  Gone are the days when I'd make a huge effort to get into historical clothing (because let's face it- this requires so much more time to get ready than my normal!) just for a small dance.  And consequently, gone are my easy justification and ready excuses for making lots of historical attire.  We don't have many reenactment opportunities (of desirable periods...) in the area, and even if we did- I'm not sure that's my cup of tea.  And let's face it- there aren't even any great places to go for photoshoots!

I still love the varieties and intricacies of historical clothing, but I'm realizing how little of it I do anymore.  I really hope the costuming bug bites again soon!  I've missed it so....

For now, I guess I'll just enjoy my 20th century phase while it lasts and relive my "glory years" through past projects and the rare events that come up. :-)  Who knows what era-obsession will come next!

· Photography by Kathryn ·


  1. You do make such lovely costumes! I've been going the opposite direction and sewing more historical and less vintage/everyday wear. But that's part of the creative process! I too have few events near by to choose from so I'm a bit limited in my options on what periods to get into. You might see if you can find a costume convention to go to. I've been to Costume College, a convention in LA, twice and it was great for the costuming bug because I could wear any period I wanted to! :D

    1. Isn't it funny how we go through phases? :-)

      I've been dying to go to Costume College for years, but it's just never happened yet. :-/ Hopefully soon!

  2. Gorgeous as always Lily. I love the small beautiful details that you put in such as the tucks and dorset buttons. So beautiful.
    I know what you mean about changing sewing phases. I too started out in historical costuming, and wanted to wear that all the time, but over time, as my Mom prodded me to find something more wearable to make, and as my tastes changed, I found out all about vintage fashion which is now my favorite era to make my clothing from.

    the Middle Sister and Singer

  3. That is so beautiful!! I just recently discovered the Regency style dresses, but I'm dabbling in alot of different eras right now. I love them all! There aren't any events anywhere around here....ever, except for a small-town festival which I'm making a Colonial outfit for. :-)
    I love your dress!!

  4. This is still one of my top favorite dresses you've made. I love the brown ribbon sash with it too!

    You're ridiculously pretty.

  5. The gown is so pretty! And the fabric was absolutely perfect for this! Is the original this dress from Augusta Auctions? Because your dress reminded me of it immediately - plus, I've been admiring it for a while... considering to make something similar from a fabric I bought only a while ago, now that I've finished my first regency undies. :)

    1. You're absolutely correct! I've now edited the post to share it- thanks! :-D

      I am very much looking forward to your dress!

  6. Beautiful dress! I know exactly how you feel. I love historical sewing but I've found myself pulled away from for a variety of reasons. The vast majority of my sewing in the last two years has been vintage related, 1920s to 1950s. It seems like ages since I last made an 18th century gown and I think I only went to two 18th century events last year. I *might* make it to one this year. I have an 1812 event coming up in August and have yet to make my gown. Sigh.... there simply are not enough sewing hours in the day!



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