The Regency period has slowly been building in my estimations, ever since watching and reading ‘Norrell and Strange’ which really captured my imagination. Susanna Clarke is a literal genius and I recommend you all to buy the book even though it is a brick, but it’s just so wonderful and worth it!
I also recently joined a group called the ‘Jane Austen Dancers’ in Bath which I sadly won’t be able to continue if I head off to uni but I will definitely return during my holidays as it’s so much fun and they’re such a lovely group of people. I mean, how can you not when you adore Jane Austen?!
Anyway, they’re the ones that turned me onto the Jane Austen festival happening in September and finally gave me the excuse to make my own regency dress! I’d always wanted to but never had enough time or inspiration.
I started with a little sketch of what I wanted to make. I already had an idea of what I wanted based off of this lace I’d found on Etsy and fallen in love with instantly. I knew that I’d need a darker base colour as the lace was black with white feather embroidery, so it was a choice for me between green, navy blue and red. I hate green and blue didn’t seem appropriate, so red it was!
Then onto the pattern! As I humorously put on Facebook:
‘This stupid pattern is just like Ikea instructions. Step one: make the entire bodice 😣‘
There was literally no reference to pattern pieces, how to put them together or anything. It wasn’t quite rocket science, but still, I’d prefer it if the pattern specified as I’m still an anxious sewer.
As you can see I figured it out, sewed it together then made the lining, which is basically just making a copy of the bodice. As I’m working with taffeta it didn’t matter which side was the ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ side of the fabric which was kinda awesome as that’s always where I slip up, putting things the wrong way round, especially zips!
The skirt is rather uninteresting, just a lot of sewing and re-sewing thanks to French seams (taffeta really frays) so I won’t post any pictures. I also sourced some perfect buttons from my local haberdashery, pictured below.
This is the first time I’ve used the buttonhole foot and I thoroughly recommend it. I was always scared of it, but I have created the most professional-looking buttonholes since using it. It also helps If you practice on your fabric. Taffeta is a lot different than other fabrics so I liked to experiment first.
I’m going to create another post after this one showing detailed shots of my final regency dress, and possibly another after that if I get any good shots during the Jane Austen Festival, so keep an eye out!
*Completed Regency dress pictures can be found here*