Sunday, May 27, 2012

Regency Picnic Dress Project - Research

Nancy-Raven and I are planning a sort of Time Traveller’s Picnic for this summer. This means of course that I get an excuse to make a new costume since I’ll be around 7 month pregnant by then! I intend to make my first Regency outfit for the event; I would rather wear something loose fitting around my baby belly. As with any new project, I start with a ton of research – it is the best part of any project. My first source of inspiration for a regency outfit was Lis’ Pride & Prejudice & Zombiescostume.

Since I know very little about Regency period garb, I was glad to discover that I could make myself some half-corset that will adapt to my pregnant shape. Lis used Simplicity 4052 which is now out of print, but I am considering getting the Sense and Sensibility Regency Underthings pattern in PDF format.

This way I’ll be covered for undies. It will be my first project ever with period underwear (other than the under tunics I wear with Medieval garb). I have some cotton poplin I can use for the shift and some canvas leftover for the stays.

For the dress, I looked at many models, but the one I fell in love with is Goldenspring’s Regency Muslin Gown.

I love the pleated back, the train, and the sleeves! I am quite self conscious about my figure (as I may or may not have stated many times before) and my upper arms are no exception. Short cap sleeves as we usually see on dresses inspired by that era are not really my thing, but above the elbow sleeves are quite perfect. To make the pattern, I am aiming to use patterns from Patterns of Fashion 1, the bottom of the 1797-1805 Morning Dress and the bodice and sleeves of the 1806-2809 Frock (pages 48-49 of Patterns of Fashion 1), combined with Simplicity 4055 as a base and MacGyver something out of all of this. Let’s hope the results are good.

Janet Arnold, 1797-1805 Morning Dress, Patterns of Fashion 1, page 48

Janet Arnold, 1806-2809 Frock, Patterns of Fashion 1, page 48

Fabric wise, I wanted some sort of cotton, maybe English Lace, but I discovered that I have enough leftover of this white cotton sheeting with tiny white organic print to make that dress, so I won’t even have to spend on fabric.

 Cotton Sheeting for Regency dress

I used to think bonnets were ridiculous, but now I find myself itching to make many. I found this video tutorial on how to make a poke bonnet through  Lis’ Pride & Prejudice & Zombies’ page, made by the Oregon Regency Society.

I know someone who is going to get a couple of straw hats the next time she is at Magie du Dollar! (I want to make one for my daughter also).

Next I’ll need shoes. I found these on Etsy which look awesome.

What I intend to do though is find a pair of cheap ballet flats and add satin ribbons to them so I can lace them up like period shoes.

The last item I’ll need to make is a reticule purse. This seems fairly easy so I am not worrying about it yet (meaning, knowing me, that I’ll be making it the day of – just you watch me!).

Now for the really hard decision: what colour should I go for for the accessories? I have a beautiful Pashmina shawl in purple and olive green which would look lovely...

Purple and Olive Green Pashmina Shawl

...but I was also thinking of using this steel blue pin tucked taffeta I have leftover for my bonnet. 

 Steel Blue Pin Tucked Taffeta

Which colour should I choose? If I match to the Pashmina, I could look for gold or green fabric for my bonnet, trim it with purple gros grain ribbon, and wear my gold flats. If I choose the taffeta, I would add light pink ribbons and flowers to my bonnet, and I could probably find a similar Pashmina in blue and silver. Plus, I was thinking of eventually making a Spencer type jacket out of that taffeta. 

Decisions, decisions…