HSF #8: Red/Gold Regency Reticule

It’s been a little while since I completed a challenge for the HSF 2014. I’ve either been too busy to sew (sad!) or I’ve been sewing things that haven’t remotely lined up with the HSF challenges as they came along (also sad!). This time, though, I found a little bit of time to finish up a partially completed Regency reticule, which perfectly fits challenge #8: UFOs and PHDs (click through the link if you don’t know what those acronyms mean in sewing-land!).

Red/Gold Regency Reticule

I was inspired by this Regency reticule pattern which is available on Etsy. I just made up my own pattern based on the image. I didn’t quite get the proportions right so mine is more elongated and a little less round, as well as not bunching up very tightly at the top due to the fabric I chose, but I’m happy with it nonetheless. Perhaps some day, I’ll try making it in a lighter weight fabric and see if I can get a more round shape and a tighter gather at the top (on the other hand, this one does hold its shape nicely… and a lighter weight fabric may not do that for me).

The facts:

Fabric: Polyester upholstery fabric for the exterior and gold polyester taffeta for the lining.

Pattern: Made up by me.

Year: c. 1810

Notions: 1 tassel, gold and burgundy thread, and about 1 yd of gold silk ribbon.

How historically accurate?: Accurate in style but not in materials or use of a sewing machine… Let’s say 50%.

Hours to complete: Not many, though I didn’t really keep track since I worked on it in small bits of time.

First worn: Has not yet been used.

Total cost: Free (all stash materials)!

Variety Please: Regency Ribbon Sashes

In modern interpretations of Regency costume, there is a widespread use of what I am going to call the “ribbon sash.” By this I mean a length of ribbon, in a contrasting color to the dress and not used to trim any other part of the dress, tidily tied or sewn under the bust, and terminating with long hanging ends. I understand that this style provides an easy way to adorn a dress of any color or add color to a white dress, but I believe that the style is much too often used relative to the occurrences we see of them being worn in portraits, fashion plates, and built into extant gowns. I would like to encourage all of us to have variety in the ribbon sash styles we wear with Regency clothing.

When looking at portraits, fashion plates, and extant gowns, you do find the sort of ribbon sash I described in the beginning of this post, but you don’t find them in anywhere near the same proportion with which they are used today. You do see these types of sashes, but it is a small proportion of the styles worn and you see a variety of other sash styles, too. I would like to share a variety of ribbon sash styles with you and encourage you to pick one of these less used styles if you decide to wear a ribbon sash yourself or if you have the influence to encourage others in their own ribbon sash wearing. By expanding the styles of ribbon sashes worn, hopefully we can all more accurately represent clothing worn in the Regency period.

Generally speaking, there are 4 large categories of ribbon sash styles. I’ve included an example image of each style underneath the accompanying description and I’ve included links to other good examples (below the four sash style descriptions) so you can look at them for more ideas.

1: The Ribbon Sash (as described in the beginning of this post): a length of ribbon, in a contrasting color to the dress and not used to trim any other part of the dress, tidily sewn or tied under the bust, and terminating with long hanging ends approximately 24″-36″. It is very rare to see this style used in a fashion plate or painting with the termination of the sash in any location other than center back.

Henri François Mulard, Portrait of a lady, circa 1810

2: The Short Sash: a length of ribbon, in a contrasting color to the dress and not used to trim any other part of the dress, tidily sewn or tied under the bust, and terminating with short hanging ends approximately 6″-18″. I have seen this style with the termination of the sash in center back, center front, and  occasionally off to one side of the front.

Costume Parisien, 1817

3: The Belt Sash: a length of ribbon, in a contrasting color to the dress and not used to trim any other part of the dress, tidily sewn or tied under the bust, and with very short hanging ends or without hanging ends at all. This style is sometimes plain or sometimes adorned with a buckle or bow. The buckle or bow with short ends is often at center front.

Portrait de Laure de Berny ca. 1810 by Henri-Nicolas Van Gorp

4: The Trim Sash: a much more common variant of any of the first three sash styles. Any of the first three sash styles can fall into this category if the sash matches and coordinates, in a harmonious fashion, with trim elsewhere on the dress (neckline, sleeve openings, or hem).

Costume Parisien, 1812

All of these sash styles are seen with different styles of termination. I’ve most often seen a variety of bows as well as tidy arrangement of loops. Often, the belt style seems as though the belt sash is actually sewn to the dress, but for the sake of options, I can easily see a ribbon sash made with a closure such as hook and eyes so the sash can be easily added or removed from any outfit. It’s worth noting that there are a substantial amount of images showing ladies from the front who appear to be wearing a ribbon sash of some sort. The trouble is that we often can’t see what’s going on in the back, so we can’t know with certainty what style of ribbon sash is actually being represented, though we can make educated guesses.

Here are more examples of each of the sash styles shown above:

1: The Ribbon Sash

Portrait of a lady, ca. 1810: ribbon sash on a white dress (ties in back)

Costume Parisien, 1813: ribbon sash on a white dress (ties in back)

2: The Short Sash

Auguste-Amalie de Baviere, ca. 1815: short sash (ties in front)

Costume Parisien, 1817: short sash (ties in back)

3: The Belt Sash

Laure de Berny, ca. 1810 (bow in front)

A young woman wearing gloves in a park, 1813

Anna Maria Magnani, 1814 (bow in front)

Woman knitting in a blue dress, ca. 1819 (bow in front)

4: The Trim Sash

Dress, ca. 1810, The Met: belt sash

Dress, ca. 1810-1811, Gemeentemuseum Den Haag: belt sash

Costume Parisien, 1812: belt sash

Costume Parisien, 1812: belt sash

Dress, ca. 1810-1815, Rijksmuseum: belt sash

Family Portrait, 1813: short sash (ties in front)

Of course, these are only a starting point. My pinterest boards have hundreds of pins from the 1800s and 1810s that you are welcome to look at for other ideas. Keep the contrasting ribbon sashes in mind, but don’t forget that you can make sashes out of your dress fabric, too (see below). Sashes made from self fabric are quite common. Look around and see what you can find that inspires you. This Regency Portraits board has a lot of great images showing all sorts of sashes as well.

Here are some great examples of dresses with sashes made from self fabric (meaning that fabric used in the dress was also used to create a ribbon sash look):

Désirée Bernadine Eugénie Clary, ca. 1810: long sash

Costume Parisien, 1810 short sash (ties in front)

Costume Parisien, 1811: short sash (ties in front)

Costume Parisien, 1811: short sash (ties in front)

Costume Parisien, 1812: short sash (ties in front)

Costume Parisien, 1814: short sash (ties in back)

Costume Parisien, 1817: short sash (ties in back)

In looking at my pinterest board covering 1800-1809, I do find that there are some very cute sashes then, too, that are relevant for a potential sash look. In  this period it seems that most sashes match the trim used on the dress, though it is not an absolute rule. I’ll include a few examples of this sort below, so you can look if you’re curious.

Costume Parisien, 1799: short sash (ties in front)

Costume Parisien, 1800: short sash: (ties in front)

Costume Parisien, 1800: trim ribbon sash with long ends

Young Woman Drawing, 1801: short sash (ties in back)

La Belle Assemblee, 1807: trim ribbon sash with long ends

Costume Parisien, 1808: belt sash

Felicite de Durfort von Merry, 1808: belt sash

Charlotte Bonaparte, 1808: belt sash

For the record (and because I always forget!), the official “Regency” is referring to England during the years 1811-1820, following the Prince of Wales being named regent for George III in 1810. In France, the Napoleonic Empire spanned the years 1804-1814. So there is some overlap between Empire and Regency, but not a whole lot. (And just to add another date to the mix, the Federal period in America roughly spanned the years 1780-1830.) For the purposes of this post, I’m using the word Regency to specify the 1810s, but my points about variety in sash styles are relevant for the first decade of the 19th century as well.

As a final note, let me encourage you to use color in Regency dresses (color in trim as well as color in the fabric), especially in those dresses intended to represent the 1810s rather than 1800s. By the 1810s, not all dresses were in white tones, as they were much more predominantly in the first few years of the 19th century. Colors were used often, some of the colors even being rather vivid in tone (don’t get too carried away with very bright colors, though, because chemical dyes weren’t invented till the middle of the 19th century). Check out these great resources that describe and show colors used in the Regency:

Colours used in the Regency and Georgian eras

Regency Colors and Fabrics

HSF #18: Red And Gold Regency Tiara

The theme of this HSF challenge is Re-make, Re-use, and Re-fashion. For this challenge I took two modern bracelets and turned them into a Regency tiara.

Red and gold Regency inspired tiara.

The facts:

Fabric: None! But I started with two modern bracelets that were a gift from my mom.

Pattern: None.

Year: Loosely 1790-1820, but who knows, perhaps this will find a use in another period as well!

Notions: Gold wire and hot glue.

How historically accurate?: I give it 50%. This is absolutely on the more on the historically inspired side of things rather than the accurate historic costume side of things. The jewels are almost certainly plastic and the design is based on general Regency styles rather than any specific inspiration. Oh, they also did not have hot glue back then…

Hours to complete: 2.

First worn: Has not been worn yet, but will get worn to a Regency ball in Chelmsford, MA on October 5th!

Total cost: Free (the wire and the hot glue was in the stash)!

Here are some more shots of the construction of this tiara:

In the beginning: stretchy bracelets. Thanks mom!
The loose jewels after I cut off the elastic.
Another possible design. I decided against having some of the jewels turned on their corners. It would have been hard to engineer and, after all, simplicity was a popular style in the Regency!
The back of the tiara, where you can see the wires holding it together. There is also a loop at the center of the bottom row of jewels so I can pin the tiara to my hair at that point to keep it from bouncing.
There are wire loops at the ends of the tiara so I can pin it to my hair. The hot glue covers the ends of the wires so they don’t also catch my hair.

That’s all for now. When I wear this I’ll be sure to take more pictures!

Reminder, The MpRSW Is Upon Us!

My push to complete my new 1864 green ball gown is complete (more on that soon), and that means a shift in focus to the Regency! It also means that the Mar-pril Regency Sew Weekly goals are upon me. I’ve already completed my project for the first goal, the 1812 blue under dress. Have you been working on a project for Goal #1? This is a reminder to get going, because the due date is tomorrow!

Goal #1 (due March 18): Under Wear Ideas to complete this goal: make from scratch, finish, or trim something worn under another garment, a petticoat, underdress, shirt, or waistcoat could fall into that category, or maybe this is a great opportunity to trim a finished garment already in your closet.

Don’t forget about me!

This is also your reminder for…

Goal #2 (due March 25): Evening Wear Ideas to complete this goal: an all new garment (gown, breeches, waistcoat, or tailcoat, for example), finishing a garment in progress, trimming an already finished garment, sewing something to keep you warm while on your way to an evening event, or maybe completing accessories to wear or take with you to an evening event.

I’m planning to use this goal as encouragement to fix the rip in my red 1813 evening gown. What progress are you planning?

Dancing “The Cottage Bonnet”

In my second post about the recent Pride and Prejudice ball I attended, I mentioned that the Commonwealth Vintage Dancers did a small exhibition during the course of the evening, I even included pictures. Well, this is even better! A video of us dancing “The Cottage Bonnet,” a Regency period country dance, during the ball. This is the level of difficulty that’s being aimed for at the Regency Intensive Dance Weekend in April. Hopefully we can have an entire room full of people successfully dancing like this at the second, more formal ball of that weekend event! I hope you enjoy. It’s pretty fun!

Introducing the “Mar-pril Regency Sew Weekly”

JPEG Regency Sew Weekly

What is that, you ask? It’s a group sew along!

Why? Well, you see, in April my friends and I will be participating in a Regency Intensive Dance Weekend hosted by the Commonwealth Vintage Dancers. There will be lots of dance classes in modern clothes, but also balls and day events in Regency clothing! Of course that means new clothes to be sewn during the months of March and April and some of us keep our motivation going better than others. This sew along is intended to encourage and sustain the motivation of all of us (and anyone else who is interested in participating!).

April 13-14, 2013 in Salem, MA. Hosted by the Commonwealth Vintage Dancers

What do you have to do? Sew! Really, though, that’s it. You can make your goals as small or large as you need to. All you have to do is complete the goals as they come up, and then share your progress. That will keep you accountable, and hopefully encourage you to stay motivated.

Goal #1 (due March 18): Under Wear Ideas to complete this goal: make from scratch, finish, or trim something worn under another garment, a petticoat, underdress, shirt, or waistcoat could fall into that category, or maybe this is a great opportunity to trim a finished garment already in your closet.

Goal #2 (due March 25): Evening Wear Ideas to complete this goal: an all new garment (gown, breeches, waistcoat, or tailcoat, for example), finishing a garment in progress, trimming an already finished garment, sewing something to keep you warm while on your way to an evening event, or maybe completing accessories to wear or take with you to an evening event.

Goal #3 (due April 1): Day Wear Ideas to complete this goal: making, finishing, or trimming a dress, a spencer, a pelisse, a tailcoat, or a waistcoat, or perhaps completing accessories to wear or take with you to a day event.

Goal #4 (due April 8): Accessories Ideas to complete this goal: reticules, chemisettes, parasols, bonnets, gloves, hats, shoes, boots, stockings… this is a soft and easy goal so if you didn’t make one of the first three goals, this gives you a great catch-up opportunity!

Goal #5 (due April 12): Anything Left! You know there are always things you hoped to finish earlier but you’re still trying to finish them up at the last minute? Make this a goal to complete whatever it is you didn’t complete before now. Maybe that’s another accessory, or a hem, or some trim, or maybe it’s just gathering your thoughts and your clothes to pack for the weekend.

How do you participate? Take the MpRSW (Mar-pril Regency Sew Weekly) image at the top of this post and add it to your blog, if you have one. Then, as you complete the goals, post about it on your blog. Don’t forget to leave a comment here with a link back to your blog post!

Do you have to participate in all of the challenges to participate? Nope! Pick and choose as you wish. The overall goal is just to inspire creativity and completion of Regency related sewing projects!

Do you have to be attending the Regency Intensive Dance Weekend to participate? Of course not! Again, the goal is just to inspire creativity and completion of sewing projects!

If you’re also participating in the Historical Sew Fortnightly, as I am, then perhaps there will be times where the two sew-alongs overlap for you. I know that my HSF #6: Stripes (due March 25) item will also fit into a MpRSW goal, since it’s a Regency item. Other upcoming HSF challenges include #7: Accessorize (due April 8), which should be easy to use for overlap, since the MpRSW #4 goal: Accessories, is due the same day, and #8: By The Sea (due April 22).

Finally, let me just say that it would be pretty awesome if you’re out there in the blogging world and want to join in! This sew along is smilingly aimed at all of you who might enjoy a helpful hand of motivation to be fully sewn and fully clothed (ahead of time) for the Regency Intensive Dance Weekend, but I hope that doesn’t discourage you from participating, even if you won’t be at that event. Hopefully some of my sewing motivation will be passed on!

1812 Sleeveless Undergarment Research

As I mentioned in my last post, the one where I shared pictures of my new 1812 under garments, there aren’t a whole lot of extant examples of sleeveless undergarments from the Regency period, so I had to take the research images I could find and extrapolate what was necessary for my dress from that information. Here are a few extant examples of sleeveless underdresses.

Early 19th century. Petticoat. The Met.
Petticoat. 1800. Cotton. National Trust.
Early 19th century cotton petticoat/underdress. MFA Boston.

It is fitting that this last one was worn by someone who lived in Boston, MA (that’s where I live). Neat! And isn’t the whitework at the hem lovely? Fashion plates and extant underdresses and petticoats from the early 19th century not uncommonly have hems that had white work and lace decorations. I didn’t incorporate that into my underdress… but maybe in the future I can make another such garment and include that detail!

Natalie Garbett also wrote a blog post about a sleeveless underdress that she made, which you can read by clicking this link. It’s super cute (and has hem trim)!

I actually didn’t find any sleeveless chemises, though I did come across mentions of them. I suppose a lady could have tucked up the sleeves of a normal chemise, or worn a sheer dress with the sleeves of the chemise showing through. Here’s an example of an early 19th century chemise with sleeves. This one is pretty ruffly, but the basic shape is the same, as is the gathering tie at the neck.

1810s linen chemise from the Met.

Fun in the Sun Part II (Regency Picnic 2012)

As you might recall from my last post, I have more Regency picnic game pictures to share with you! I’m excited! I hope you are as well… We left off with the four of us playing “Graces” and coming up with innovative methods of playing to keep us amused and challenged… let’s just see where that led us! I had a hard time condensing the photos… I hope you’re not overwhelmed!

Lost my bonnet, but I caught a hoop on each arm! Success!
Yes! Bonnet still on head and two hoops! Wow!
Double hoop-age and a silly looking action shot! What could be better?
Reach! Somehow, I think this is much more graceful looking than the last photo…

Okay… now we get silly!

Wand attack pose. Not very Regency-like, but amusing, nonetheless!
Strike a pose! Conduct an orchestra! ???

Attempts at being graceful and Regency-like…

Very graceful hoop catching.
Waiting to catch the hoops.
Gracefully catching the flung hoop.
Another graceful pose. Okay, okay, so I wore my sunglasses for much of the picnic. Shhh!


Graceful, certainly, but I don’t think I caught the hoops that time…
This certainly looks like one time when the hoops are going to hit the ground…
(More sunglasses… didn’t they have those?)I think I’m confused about why the second hoop is on the ground by my right foot…

Fun in the Sun Part I (Regency Picnic 2012)

Vacationing is lovely while it lasts, but it does seem to make real life a bit overwhelming. I’ve been slow on the posting lately because of my vacationing. And, to be honest, life + vacationing is most likely going to be slowing me down some more over the next month or so. Some of my vacations will generate some really great pictures, though, so stay tuned for those in August!

It’s been roasting-ly hot here in Massachusetts for the last few weeks, but the heat didn’t stop the Massachusetts Costumers from enjoying the annual Regency Picnic. It was toasty, but we tried to spend lots of time in the shade. And despite the heat, we had a marvelous time! Join me in recalling the fun through viewing (just a few of the 300 or so) pictures we snapped that day.

Our idyllic setting at a lovely park in Bridgewater, MA.
Okay, so our food and table setting was not historically accurate. But the colors were so nice and summer-y! (And the pink lemonade was quite refreshing.)
After eating, we strolled through the park and took pictures (and coerced random passers-by to take photos of us…). Lovely group of ladies, don’t you think?
Then we played a Regency game called… “Graces?” (Ack! I can’t remember the name… Jenni, help me!)
Basically, each person has two long sticks which they use to fling the be-ribboned hoops at the other player. The second person catches the hoops on their own sticks before flinging them back again.
I’ve included pictures where you can see the hoops in midair. Despite the fact that we often seem to be catching the hoops, I also have many pictures where we, um, didn’t catch the hoops…
Eventually, we got the hang of it and decided to make it more challenging. In this instance we had two hoops going at once, one flung by each player!
It took a little time to get used to the coordination of flinging and catching in quick succession.
But we got the hang of it and then we started flinging two hoops at the same time in one direction! That meant the person catching had to catch two at once! Eep!

After that challenge we thought we were finished with the game… but then one of us (I can’t remember who…) had the brilliant idea to attempt to make graceul, Regency-like poses, while playing the game. That kept us going for awhile longer, with some amusing photos and lots of laughs, but you’ll have to wait till my next post for those photos (I don’t want to overload you with too many fun in the sun Regency picnic photos at once, you know!). In the end, the heat wasn’t so bad!

Project Journal: 1815-1820 Regency Ensemble Part V: Completed Spencer (Massachusetts Costumers Regency Holiday Tea)

In the greenhouses at the Regency Holiday Tea.

Despite the long name of this post… Here it is! My (almost) finished 1819 Regency Ensemble! The ensemble includes an early 19th century white linen chemise, 1815-1820 pink cotton corset, 1815-1825 ivory cotton gown, 1819 brown velvet Spencer, 1819 straw bonnet, and mid-19th century fur muff (ok, so it’s not quite as giant and droopy as a Regency muff… but it was cold outside!). You can click on the links to see more about each piece. There is more to come on the gown and bonnet.

Right now I want to focus on the completed Spencer and its details. Please click on the link above to see my research for the Spencer: it is based off a Spencer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. You can see pictures of the mockup Spencer here. The Spencer is constructed of brown cotton velvet that is flatlined with white cotton. It is trimmed with green cotton cording, vintage brown lace, and green tassels to match (Aren’t the tassels so adorable?).

1819 Spencer
Back of the 1819 Spencer

I wore this Spencer to the Massachusetts Costumers annual Regency Holiday Tea. This year, in addition to having tea, we visited the Lyman Estates Greenhouses, which were built in 1804 and added to in 1820, 1840, and 1930.

On to see more of the greenhouses
Ornaments hanging from a tree!
Picture time!
Admiring the decor
So many beautiful things to look at

The tea was lovely and I do believe that my Spencer turned out wonderfully! Spencers are so adorable and varied. I hope to make more in the future… but there are other things to do before I go back to Spencers. The next big push is going to be Edwardian outfits for Titantic evens in April!