Sunday, January 1, 2017

Two Jane Austen convention gowns!

Some of the blogs I routinely follow have had very few posts recently and it occurred to me that if anyone has been following this one they are probably either long gone or feeling the same sort of disappointment that no pretty gowns are forthcoming that I have.

I'm not much of a blogger. (Surprise, no?) I started this one as a sort of dress diary but I've never been good about keeping up with diaries either. Starting midway through the past year and continuing on into this one I'm trying to organize myself better. The last time I was pretty organized was when I was about 14 years old and only had to do schoolwork and housework, basically. That year we moved and I got out of my routine and things just got crazier from then out. What with building projects, rental house maintenance, a new business for the family...the long and short of it is that I was never very organized and got less and less as time went on.

This year has just been too crazy to NOT organize! I'm slowly pulling together a few things but it's been a slow process. I've sewn many things since last posting, but don't tend to get very good pictures, (something I really want to work on!) and intend to put them on this blog.

I ended up making two gowns for the Jane Austen conference in Windsor. The first lady told a friend, and I ended up making a reticule for both, and a turban and belt for one gown! It was really fun doing the whole regency dress thing. The first dress was a green cotton lawn (wrong for the period, but right for the budget) with removable long sleeves. I started out trying to make a drop-front bodice but couldn't get the execution to work out. I think the problem was that the lady didn't want to do a corset (understandable!) and things fit very very differently. I made a bodiced petticoat and used some cording to make it fit more like a corset, but it merely smoothed it didn't shape.

On the first dress I ended up making a bodice very similar to my little girl dresses from the 1860's, and nice puffy elbow length sleeves for the shorter sleeved version that were copied off a picture from an actual gown worn by Queen Louise of Prussia, though her dress was silk satin and lace, and very elegant too! The research is always fun and the figuring out the pattern mind-twisting, to me. If I didn't like sewing so much and if I could find patterns for things I wanted to make I would definitely give up making patterns. The skirt turned out very well, I think. I used a straight panel for the front, an angled side skirt and an angled back skirt and got that nice regency feel with the weight in the back with it! It's so amazing how cutting things differently makes for a completely different look!

Fabric: Green lawn from Fashion Fabrics Club, buttons, ribbon and applique over ribbon picked up by client at Haberman fabrics

Dress details: Puffed sleeves, chemise style bodice with three piece back and buttons, rear skirt gauged, piped neckline and sleeve hems, skirt self hemmed, long sleeves attached with ties attached to the armscye in three places.