HSF #5 & MpRSW #1: Blue Under Dress

The HSF #5 Challenge: Peasants and Pioneers. The MpRSW #1 Goal: Under Wear. This recently completed garment fits both!

Now remember, and don’t judge me, that this project is one of those “I just want this to be done quickly and no one will be able to see the details” projects.

Here it is: an 1812 under dress.

First, the facts:

Fabric: Cotton-poly blend.

Pattern: The exact same as my 1812 white striped gown from last summer, which is adjusted from a gown in Janet Arnold’s Patterns of Fashion 1.

Year: 1812.

Notions: About 2 yds of 1/4″ cotton twill tape.

How historically accurate?: Accurate pattern, almost totally inaccurate fabric (that cotton counts for something, right?), and entirely machine sewn (not a single hand stitch, which for me is a rather unusual accomplishment). I give this one a 60% on historically accuracy. I think the pattern goes a long way towards being a saving grace. Ok, maybe a 65% if I count the cotton…

Hours to complete: Let’s say 16. All that gathering does add some time.

First worn: Not yet, but will be worn in April.

Total cost: Between $9-$12 (I can’t remember exactly how many yards I bought…)

How does this fit the HSF challenge? The simplicity of the fabric and style of the dress and lack of extra trimmings, puts this in the category of basic Regency clothing that could be worn by a pioneer-type. It’s probably still a little fancy for a peasant. It’s hard to make plain and simple clothing!

A few more pictures, then a little more explanation.

Machine stitching showing on the front. I have no problem with interior seams being sewn by machine on some garments, but I do prefer hand finishing on garments that are going to be seen.
Back. It looks rather medical scrub looking, especially with those white ties… Regency hospital gown?
Machine sewing galore!
A closeup of the back.
Here’s what it looks like on the inside. No raw edges: that makes me happy. There’s a drawstring along the top of the center panel so I can adjust it.
Looking over at the armsceye.

Explanation time. I actually don’t like this color much on its own. In fact, I think it does absolutely nothing for my complexion. Actually, it just looks bad on me. So why did I pick it, you ask? Well, this is intended to be an under dress, not something I ever plan to wear by itself. I was at the fabric store looking for colors that worked under my 1812 striped square neck gown, and this is the one! The other colors looked too much like skin, or just awful pastel shades of ew. Also, I was probably influenced by this next picture. I couldn’t stop looking at the blues.

At the Hermitage.

Anyway, given how much I don’t like the color/am amused by the scrub-like quality of it and don’t plan for this to be really seen, I just wanted it to be done, quickly and without fuss. That’s why it’s totally machine sewn. Granted, I did do a nice machine sew job, so I suppose it might one day be worn without the over dress, but I don’t see that as a likely option, at least on my body. Funny contrast is that the white dress is entirely hand sewn, with not a machine stitch to be found.

Here’s what the blue under dress looks like with the white striped dress over the top. (Oops, the blue hem was too long. Fixed that in a jiffy!)
The blue fades to a soft grey-ish blue under the white.
And it helps show off the stripes and the more opaque white areas of the white dress.
IMG_3562 - Version 2
For comparison, here’s what the white dress looks like with the original white under dress underneath.

Voila! One over dress, two different looks! One of the comments awhile ago mentioned the idea of the Regency LWD: Little White Dress. That’s been on my brain while I’ve been making this blue under dress. With different under options this LWD becomes more versatile and can change looks for different events. Nice!

Also, and this is really cool, my blue under dress is incredibly similar to this “slip” at the Met! The cool part is that I came across the slip in January, months after I had made the plan for my under dress. But look at the gathers on the sleeve at the sleeve band and at the crown, and at the shoulder strap construction of the bodice, and at the gathered top and bottom center front panel. It’s kind of uncanny, because this is not the dress that Janet Arnold based her pattern off of. Just goes to show that this construction style was used on more than one dress in the Regency period. Cool!

Early 19th Century slip at the Met.

As I dressed Squishy I realized that when I go to wear this blue under dress it would probably save me some fussing if I baste the shoulder straps of the two dresses together so the blue doesn’t poke out where I don’t want it it. That’s an easy thing to then take out again later. I’ll have to get on that before April!

9 thoughts on “HSF #5 & MpRSW #1: Blue Under Dress

  1. I had never heard of a slip WITH sleeves – that is awesome! I love yours, and it really makes that lovely white cotton show its pattern. Just great! Also, I love that you chose the blue because I have a blue slip that I wear under my white dress too. Yay for great minds thinking alike! 😀

  2. The gowns together look fantastic, Quinn! And I love that “slip” at the Met. Such a delicious color. I’ve got some lovely coral pink cotton/silk batiste that I’m going to use for a sleeveless undergown to wear with an existing sheer white overgown as well as a gown planned for the future. You’ll look like a drift of fog in yours!

    1. Yes, that slip is a great grown up shade of pink. Your fabric sounds lovely! I’m sure it will be a beautiful combination. A drift of fog… hm… Assuming I ever get out in one while dressed in my Regency clothes (not likely, since fog is usually in the morning…), that would be a neat photo shoot! 🙂

  3. Your striped white gown over the blue under dress is almost exactly what I’m planning for my Regency ball gown! Great minds, eh? Yours looks so pretty layered together like that, it gives me more confidence that mine will work out like I envision it. 🙂 I love it with the white under dress, too! Very pretty.

    Here’s the planning stages of my gown, if you’re interested: http://asartorialstatement.blogspot.com/2013/02/regency-madness.html I’d better get sewing – I only have two weeks left!

    1. Thanks for the compliments and link sharing. 🙂 It does sound like the two dresses will be very similar! I hope your dress comes together easily and turns out the way you envision it. Sew, sew, sew!

  4. Lovely job! The slip is a color I actually like but then again we have different complexions 🙂

    I do so love your undergarment philosophy! “I want it done now, and no one will ever see it” one I complete agree with and make use of as often as possible 🙂

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