"Resign yourself, Catherine! Shops must be visited! Money must be spent! Do you think you could bear it?" - Northanger Abbey

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Regency dress - Rant!

I've made mock up of the S&S dress, and one from patterns of fashion. And been unhappy with both. I just don't feel comfortable in them. Or secure. Or in any way that they 'flatter' me.

I just get the feeling I could get the same result with a old sheet and some safety pins.

I can make clothes (I've prooved that now) but the 'regency dress' completely eludes me. Everything I try fails. But I'm running out of time to get something made for the Jane Austen festival.
I can't afford to fork out a couple of hundred quid to get a dress made.
I'm so angry about it I'm seriously considering just buying a modern maxi dress and disguising the to with a shawl!!!!!!

Surely I can't be the only person with this problem?!


The Fabric cost me the same as the cost of buying this dress
Which is the 'shape' I was looking for....just add sleeves or a jacket.
Can you see what I mean? It looks classy not bedsheet like.

Addition 2
pics of the bodice mock up

Sorry had to try taking pics in mirror....
this is my fabric I bought


  1. Poppet why not post some pics of it, with you in it, and the international experts *ahem* may be able to advise?
    Also, perhaps you could take a month off, come to NZ and do our Regency Dress course at the shop? hehehe. I know, I deserve a wet teatowel for that one!

    1. Just imagine two ostrich eggs sat on a short tree trunk and covered in a sack...you get the effect.
      *sigh* If I can't show my small natural waist I just look all out of proportion. But its not just that. I can't afford/don't know how to work with expensive material. So I' stuck with cotton instead of looking classical and floaty it looks like a last minute costume made for a school play.
      I can't do fitted clothes! Why didn't the regency have stretch jersey?

    2. The regency style suits every figure, if done right. So, stop being so coy and show us some pics of you already! Sounds like you would better suit a skirt that isn't gathered into the high waist. That will show off your waist again.
      much as I don't usually go for commercial patterns, this one may be a better start? The3 bodice not having any seaming in the front may need a tweak but it's bound to suit you better. xo

    3. added the pictures temporarily...so you can see....there's no skirt attached as I haven't cut it yet. The 'Sleeve' is from another project just to give idea of how it looks with a sleeve.

      btw. any tips on stopping the fabric fraying before I finish trying it on.

    4. Love the DP dress! I also think yours has huge potential. The bodice is too long for Regency and that front will be tricky for you as it has no shaping. I suggest you try a horizontal dart from the unpicked side seam (this will shorten the front bodice underarm seams anyway and if it works then you can trim the back to match it) to about an inch shy of your 'bust point' as well as pleating some of the fullness into the high waist seam like on the DP dress. It also looks like the neckline is too wide for your shoulders, try pinning the back centre seam in about an inch in total, which will help pull the shoulders in.
      To prevent fraying, just run a zigzag stitch along the raw edges. On sloping cut edges, always sew them from the wide to the narrow though, as this helps prevent the sewing from stretching the fabric :)
      I think you are doing great, don't give up and just take one adjustment at a time. Also, I always fit with the seams facing outward so if I pin it anywhere it is easy to mark and make the adjustments.

    5. 'horizontal dart from the unpicked side seam'
      I'm having trouble visualizing this..any chance of a diagram you can doodle on the photo using paint or ps and email it to me if that helps? I have several side seams to choose from.

  2. What is your body shape? Do you have slender or chubby arms? Are you tall or short?
    Different styles suit different people.
    Are you wearing regency short stays underneath or a push-up bra?
    Cheers, Aylwen

    1. I am short in leg rather than waist...I think (Well it looks like I have no ankles).
      I am an hourglass. And although I don't think I have big arms. My biceps do tend to only 'just' fit when wearing shopbought clothes.
      I tried making short stays and found them no support at all, and can't find a push up bra in my size so I'm gonna be using my corset.

  3. I too found regency very unflattering until I had a corseted shape I was happy with. I found I needed to hoist the bosom as high as it could go to get that true "high waist", and by doing that, the rest of me didn't look so out of proportion. If I didn't have the high bust, I just felt dumpy and dowdy and looked like I weighed 15 lbs more than I really did. : /

    Now, there are some periods in the regency era when the bust was not so high, but if you are endowed in the bosom area, you may find that look displeasing as well. :(

    I personally think you really need to start with a great corset/stays that give you a high bust - mine actually sort of "minimize" the look of the bosom which is awesome for me - and then any dress you make to go over them will look awesome too. It is not hard to make stays but they can be difficult to fit right, so maybe its one of those instances where you could purchase a good set of well fitting stays and then make all the other garments yourself? I wish we lived closer to each other - I'd love to help you make some stays! Stays are just awesome. :)

    1. Its nice to know I'm not a freak and that others have the same issue.
      I wish you lived nearby too....
      I tried buying stays by mail order turned out to be a disaster. I tried sewing short stays and just felt uncomfortable in the lack of support. I can't warrent having stays custom made for just one use on one day.

  4. I agree with Sarah, I think that stays would be the solution to the problem. Sorry you're having so much trouble with the patterns! I can usually sew right through an S&S pattern with no trouble. Hmm.

    1. I just can't understand why I can buy a modern empire maxidress and its tolerable but as soon as I try regency patterns it looks terrible.
      And as I sew everything by hand I'm loath to unpick and re-sew.