Thursday, January 6, 2011

Pattern links for women's regency

Today I ran across this lovely resource t hat has complied most of the regency patterns on the market for women.
In the Long Run Women's Regency Pattern Directory includes some online patterns as well as those in books in it's list.

Other links for today include
Sensibility's comparison chart between S&S's original pattern and the Simplicity version. This link is to the internet archive of the page since it has been take off the main page. (no wonder I couldn't find it the other day!)

Oregon Regency Society's blog post on stays is a good overview of different styles available on the pattern market.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


I'm sending you to the Library!
All links will be to World Cat, so you can find a copy closest to you.

The first few books I think you should see are:
Fashion from the Kyoto Costume Institute it has been published several times, including as a 2 book set. It covers the 18th through 20th centuries.

Revolution in Fashion: European Clothing 1715-1815, also from Kyoto features most of the same 18th and regency dresses, but it has the addition of three patterns from Janet Arnold

Patterns of Fashion 1: Englishwomen's Dresses and their Construction 1660-1860 by Janet Arnold this book includes patterns for women's dresses on a graphed scale, from original antique garments. Sketches of the dresses are given, but no photographs.

Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century Fashion in Detail from the V&A was previously published as Historical Fashion in Detail, You may also find it listed in your library as Fashion in Detail: Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century.

This turned into a series of books, Nineteenth Century Fashion in Detail has some Regency clothes, and Underwear in Detail has corsets from the time periods we are concerned with.

I think that is enough homework for now.
If your local library doesn't have these books, consider Inter Library Loan. or just spend some time in the costume history section.

Livejournal Links

Just wanted to share two sources of inspiration.
La Mode Illustree is an LJ comunity  where the members post Fashion plates, paintings and photographs spanning many centuries. Most members are good about taging the images with the eras they come from.
 So check out the tag page if you are not up to a walk through the history of fashion.

Historic Children's Clothing and Costuming is an LJ community to discus the many aspects of historic costume for children. This extends to Maternity and Nursing costume for mothers, as well as non clothing items for the children. The tag page will be helpful.

Both of these communities may have posts that are locked to members only.

Monday, January 3, 2011

doing a Scarlett

Yes Scarlett O'Hara the fictional charector who lived in the American Civil War.

What does she have to do with a costume party set in the 18th century/Regency?

She made a dress from curtains! And you can too if you choose the right curtains.

For regency you want to keep your eyes open for sheer cotton curtains, maybe with light embroidery on them like these from Target?

When it comes to the 18th century, you may want a quilted petticoat, keep your eyes open for a quilted coverlet of silk or cotton. Solid colors only.

You do want to stick with the natural fibers of Linen, silk, cotton and wool. you will likely find that the embroidery is done in a synthetic thread.

You can sometimes save money this way, though sometimes you may not. I would suggest you price the yardage first, then look at the premade curtains.

Going Stay-less

Not interested in wearing a corset?
Not wanting to do empire waistlines?

Consider the informal dress styles of the 18th century

Women's waistcoats were often quilted, bot not always

Here are some historical and reproduction inspirations.

V&A 1700-29 494-1902
V&A 1745 T.87-1978
Vintage Textiles C.1770
Vintage Textiles 1800-30 (old fashioned)
Sharon Ann Burnston has a pattern online from an 1740-80 quilted waistcoat
Mara Riley's Time-line of Women's Jackets briefly covers waistcoats of the 18th century.
Two Nerdy History Girls on quilted waistcoats. the ones shown are reproductions
Diary of a Mantua Maker made a reproduction
Costumes, Cats, and the 18th century posted photos from the Power of Fashion exhibit at Nordiska Museet in Stockholm, which include a quilted waistcoat that was not assembled, great for etting a look at the shape of the pattern pieces.

Another option is the Bedgown 
Manchester 1760-80 1972.110 Detail of fabric

Shortgowns are another option

There are other informal robe styles available as well.

A Banyan is also an option. The V&A has a lovely example. T.92-2003
If you do a websearch for Banyan, most of the examples you will find are for men, not women, and this pair was likely worn over pocket hoops, given it's shape.

Robe Volante 1720 French from Kyoto Costume Institute AC9184 95-1-2
Another that was auctioned at Christies
Painting titled The Declaration of Love by Jean-Fran├žois de Troy 1731

Robe Battante
Isis made one and her research is fairly good.

Please remember that these styles listed hear may have been worn over stays in period, they are just a few examples of what a modern woman may be able to wear without stays.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Patterns at the chain fabric store

Your local JoAnn or Hancock will carry these patterns. Often they go on sale for $1 or $2, sometimes 5 for $5 or 10 for $10. Opinions are mine.

2354 Women's "colonial dress. quite a bit wrong, pass.
3635 Women's 18th century undergarments to be worn under 3637 Shift, stays, panniers. Rather good for the usual offerings
3637 Women's 18th century gown to be worn over 3635 Rather good for the usual offerings
3644 Children's Pirates of the Caribbean Pirate (licensed by Disney) costume. The coat and waistcoat are actually not that bad, the breeches are not good, the shirt is not a period cut. 
3677 Women's pirate costume. complete fiction, no pirates allowed at the party.
3723 Women's "colonial" costume, quite a bit wrong, pass.
3725 Girls version of 3723, pass
4055 Women's Regency gown patterned by Jennie Chancey of Sense & Sensibility Unfortunately the corresponding undergarment pattern 4052 has been discontinued. Very good for the usual offerings.
4092 Women's 18th century gown styles after PotC Not as good as 3637 (calls for a zipper!) so pass it up.
4923 Men's 18th century costumes styled after PotC Not as good as 3644, the pants are still very wrong.

6139 Women's and Girls "colonial" dresses Don't bother

3072 Men's "Revolutionary War" costume. Forget the hat. the pants are still wrong, shirt is not a period correct cut. could be reworked to something better.
4254 Corsets for the 18th and 19th century. You want View A or B. there are some issues with these, but overall it isn't a bad pattern. View B was also included in pattern 4484, which also had other undergarments, now Out of Print

6630 Women's "regency" gowns Not terrible, Simplicity 4055 is better though

You may also like to read some other reviews

Jessamyn covers the regency patterns (including ones from other companies I have not included)
Greater Bay Area Costumer's Guild has an excellent pattern review section.