Regency Dance Weekend Part III: Fell Off The Sewing Wagon, But Got Back On!

Yup, that’s me I’m talking about in the title of this post. I was straggling along the first bit of the Mar-pril Regency Sew Weekly road. For Goal #2: evening wear, I had hopes to fix the rip in my 1813 red evening gown, but unfortunately I didn’t get to it in time for the deadline.

Sad, sad rip.

I did get to it before the Regency Dance Weekend, though, so I was able to wear the dress for the Grand Ball and Reception on Sunday night. I’ve got pictures of the event to share soon, but for now I’m going to focus on the gown.

When I first made this dress back in January and wore it to the Pride and Prejudice Ball in February, the skirt of the dress was tightly gathered across the back to take in all the fulness of the skirt. But while taking pictures after the ball, the dress caught and ripped! I suppose it’s hard to tell in the picture, but the rip was not small.

Gathers used in the back to take in all the fullness.

Ugh! What to do? Try to patch it, or darn it, or replace the whole vertical panel where the rip was? None of those ideas sounded like they would be pretty or fun.

I didn’t actually get around to fixing this until after I had constructed my Tree Gown, which has a skirt with an angled (trapezoidal) front panel and the back panel cut as a rectangle. The effect of that shaping on the Tree Gown is neat: there is less fabric to gather at the back and the skirt has a nice shape to it that is different than the shape that is created by the original tube shaped skirt on the red gown. In addition, I decided after looking at the pictures of the red gown that the gathers were too poofy in the back and created a shape I wasn’t looking for.

So I came to the idea of using the trapezoid plus rectangle skirt shaping for the red gown, because making a trapezoid would allow me to cut out the section of the skirt with the rip. This required taking the skirt off of the back waistband, sewing the new seams, then reattaching the whole thing. Since I was taking it apart anyway at that point, I decided to also pleat the fabric around the back instead of gathering it, like this dress, below.

1812 Wedding Dress at the Met with a pleated skirt.
The ripped side of the skirt, removed from the waistband and with the new seam pinned. Now you can see the scale of the rip!

It looks like I don’t have any great pictures of the back of the gown with the new pleated back… whoops! Here’s one picture, though, where you can sort of see what’s going on with the dress.

Sort of hard to tell, but the area where the skirt meets the waistband is much flatter, and the skirt has a much bigger flare at the hem due to the new seam shaping.

Perhaps hard to envision, but if you compare this back picture to the one at the beginning of this post, there is a definite difference. It wasn’t a fun project, but it needed to be done, and I sure am glad it is! Next time there will be pictures of the reception, including more fun pictures of this dress.

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