Silk Taffeta Van Dyke Gown

This gown is entirely hand-sewn, every last stitch! I made this gown out of silk taffeta. While my mock-up was closer to the original gown, I wanted this one to appear slimmer from the front and to have a more fitted bodice.

The original is in the Greene Collection at the Genesee Country Village & Museum. Known information is that the skirt has three panels with slight gathering on the front and pleating in the back. The sleeves and bodice top each have two tucks. The wonderful pointed cap sleeves have what would have been white silk ribbon bows. The sleeves are long enough that they would have to be pushed up on the arms to use the hands. I’m not sure what’s going on on the bottom, if that’s trim or discoloration, but I made tucks, and closed this gown with buttons. Buttons weren’t common, but I used them anyway.

The VanDyke points around the neckline have been used a lot on old quilts. It’s the same technique, and it’s lovely. I’ve matched these details in this replica. This gown has the same tucks on the sleeves and neck, the same number of Van Dyke points across the front, and four tucks on the bottom. The long under-sleeves are detachable so this can be worn as a ball gown!

More photos are in this Facebook album.

Rainbow Dash

 

This dress was inspired by the My Little Pony character, Rainbow Dash. Dashy is a blue pony with a rainbow mane. Made of a polished blue cotton in regency styling, this dress takes an un-regency twist with a rainbow of buttons down the back. The sash can be tacked at the sides or left loose. The hair ribbon is on a spring-pin and is included. Every little one who loves her favorite pony needs something for her hair! Each pony will have a dress.

More photos are in this Facebook album.

Regency Peacock Sari Ballgown

I made this gown from an Indian silk sari featuring India’s national bird.

The split overskirt and bodice are entirely from the sari, and the back of the underskirt is added fabric. Saris are available in set lengths. The slate overskirt has a sweep train and is tightly gathered in the back few inches. The underskirt has a larger circumference and is pleated to allow for the movement of dance without adding bulk.

The gold edging has a green glass bead in the center of each tail, a blue glass in each eye, and gold balls in each diamond closer to the edge. The bodice center panel is made from strips of the edge with the same beading, and the skirt center panel has a glass blue bead for each eye. The directions of the edging mirror each other. This gown closes in back with hooks and eyes.

More photos are in this Facebook album.

Van Dyke Regency gown, blue

This was the mock-up of an extant gown I planned to replicate by hand (and later did). A mock-up is a tester used to check the fit. I happened to have many yards of silk dupioni laying around and decided to use it for my mock-up and to sew it by hand as well. Well, it came out nice enough that this is a bonus gown not really fit to be called a mock-up. 🙂

The original, which is the green one on the right, is in the Greene Collection at the Genesee Country Village & Museum. Known information is that the skirt has three panels with slight gathering on the front and pleating in the back. The sleeves and bodice top each have two tucks. The wonderful pointed cap sleeves have what would have been white silk ribbon bows. The sleeves are long enough that they would have to be pushed up on the arms to use the hands. I’m not sure what’s going on on the bottom, if that’s trim or discoloration, but I made tucks, and closed this gown with buttons. Buttons weren’t common, but I used them anyway. The VanDyke points around the neckline have been used a lot on old quilts. It’s the same technique, and it’s lovely. I’ve matched these details in this blue silk mock-up/replica. It was a lot of fun to wear!

More photos are in this Facebook album.

Sari regency gown

Once again I had to miss the Oregon Regency Society/Washington Regency Society annual retreat, but once again I have gowns there instead. 🙂 I took over this gown when Nora was drowning. It happens to us all from time to time, especially when an unexpected move happens, as it did for her as well as for me. I received this with a couple pieces on the bodice seamed, but otherwise in pieces, mostly one big uncut piece.

In regency circles vintage silk saris are very popular. Ladies in the regency era loved them too. Unlike then, regency saris are fairly affordable now thanks to, according to an Indian friend of mine, a strong cultural desire to stay with current fashions in India. Vintage saris are no longer fashionable there, but are still very beautiful and so sold to people in other countries.

Saris require some creativity. Since the quantity of fabric is limited generally to no more than six yards, sometimes less, and the decorations on it can be done in numerous ways, making the most of any beading, embroidery, etc., can be tricky. It’s just not the same as buying six yards of another fabric and embellishing it afterward. It’s also tricker to make sari gowns for us ladies over 5’6″ or so due to the width. But it can be done.

This sari had an end that was eggplant with embroidery and beading that became the bodice, and part of an edge the sleeves. The other narrow end had a narrower decorating strip. To preserve that strip, I made the skirt a cross-over skirt. No sense in cutting that pretty piece off. Originally I had added bias strips of gold silk dupioni to the bottom to make it a little longer, and used the same silk to bind the neckline. But the silk was too stiff in the end and took away the swingy flowiness of the skirt. So off it came, a tricky feat when dealing with the sheer silk chiffon of the sari, and I rebound the neckline with a strip I had left of the olive. The sash is just a remnant of the dupioni pinned on.

More photos are in this Facebook album.

2013 Regency Retreat: Tara’s princess ball gown

Once again I had to miss the Oregon Regency Society/Washington Regency Society annual retreat, and once again I have gowns there instead. 🙂 This ball gown was surprise for Tara. I was asked to make another white dress, but the fabric given had gold on one side, and so I asked about a ball gown. No one had thought about a gown for the ball! So I decided to make one. This trained gown is split up the front and, like all regency gowns, will have a petticoat under it. Since she has a nice one now, that will take the place of another layer added to this dress.

In addition to using the shimmery side out (gownsfor the very wealthy in the era would sometimes have real silver or real gold thread woven into the fabric, so “cloth of gold” literally means a fabric made of very thin strands of gold that can bend!), I added some gold trim and purple jewels from my stash. Purple is Tara’s favorite color. In lower light this gown, especially the trim and jewels, sparkle like crazy.

More photos are in this gown’s Facebook album.

 

Yellow-dot Regency Gown

Text from 2012:

On a Thursday afternoon (what is it with Thursdays?), I met with Oregon Regency Society leadership member Nora, who is also a friend of mine, to finish some things she was working on for the annual retreat. One thing she wanted to take the next day, but hadn’t started, was a dress made from this fabric. So after dinner, I set about cutting into the fabric to make a gown for her, and was given free reign. I love that. After about 4 hours, between a donut-run and fitting another gown on her that she was making and reminiscing about New Kids on the Block and other bands we loved as kids and teens and still do, I’d gotten as far as the hem. The period-correct seams are all French seams. I’m very good at French seams even on curved seams and armcythes. Fortunately for me, I’m good at picking out seams if I need to reset sleeves, as I had to do for this gown. Yes, I make mistakes. 🙂 I also correct them. Then I tried it on Nora over her period-correct underpinnings. She nearly cried and said, “You made my dream come true.” This is the best sort of compliment not only because I love when people love what I make, but because I love seeing people I care about so happy. Since she had to work early in the morning before leaving for the retreat, I finished the hem at home, three tucks an inch wide with about an inch between each, and a narrower hem at the bottom. Originally I was going to “hide” the hem in the bottom tuck, but upon looking at it ironed but not yet sewn, it took away from the airy look, and so I made it a narrow hem, which “framed” the tucks.

 

You can see more photos, including her reaction, in this Facebook album.

Regency bonnet and spencer

July 29, 2012 was the 5th annual Oregon Regency Society picnic at Pittock Mansion in Portland, Oregon. New bonnet and spencer worn over her white regency duds already posted. The spencer is made of white cotton sateen that I dyed pink and made a bit large for growing room. Double-breasted and closes in front with four buttons. The bonnet has a straw brim. Under/in front of this, cotton sateen was pleated in one direction on top and the opposite direction on the bottom. On the top, it wraps around to the other wise. White gimp trim covers the stitch lines. White cotton sateen pleated on at the brim and gathered at the back both covers the outside and lines the inside. Decorating the bonnet is a white, double-faced pink ribbon on which five genuine ostrich feathers in pink and white were strategically placed asymmetrically without appearing to be “thought about too hard” (though in reality I sat there trying to decide whether or not I should add just one more feather until my husband convinced me, rightly, that it would give too much symmetry – oh, how much thought goes into making something look thoughtless!), and finished with a large, very high quality silk peony. I am extremely picky about the quality of fake flowers. I don’t like them to *look* fake, and most do. I think that something looking fake, even if it is, just ruins the look of the finished item. So I am pleased with the flower. My outfit for this picnic matched, including bonnet, though I did not get to finish the lining of my own spencer as I decided to meet up with friends the following morning for dressing, and so had to get up earlier than planned. Had I gone right to the picnic I could have finished, but the allure of girl-time in the morning was too great, and so I borrowed a beautiful shawl. I so rarely make anything for myself, so this was a treat!

More pictures are in this Facebook album.

Brown and pink print regency dress

Original text from 2011 with photos from 2011 and 2012:

This regency dress was made a couple sizes too big. This little munchkin has already grown a inch since I made her her Christmas nightie for this year. Right now the waist is as her natural waist, but it’ll go up as she grows into it. Seven button close the back and the waist ribbon wasn’t tacked on, so slid up a bit. It’s lined in a tan and cream floral print cotton. I’ll post pictures os the inside soon. The inside is as neat as the outside! I did not make the collared piece she’s wearing. That is a long-sleeved onesie she already had. However neckline fillers were common in the regency era, so this is a period-correct look. As you can see, it started to rain! November 27, 2011

The photos in sun were taken in Missouri on April 6, 2012. The following day it rained. I forgot her waist ribbon, but the dress is still sweet without it, and she looks so in place in a grassy meadow.

More photos are in the Facebook album for this dress.