Regency June 5 update:

Put the gown on today and got some good photos. The fit is perfect. I’m a little disappointed that the train doesn’t flow well on its own, but I can live with it. It must be because of the weight of the material combined with the hem’s weight. But it does look lovely when spread out behind me. So many people think that Regency styles make everyone look pregnant, and done incorrectly, they certainly can. But I didn’t look preggers at all in my new gown.

The Folkwear pattern creates such a wonderful A-line in front that floats over the torso and creates a slim line. It’s the perfect length, too, and I usually have to take up hems quite a bit. This might mean that anyone taller than me (about 5′ 2″) might have to add length to the skirt pattern pieces or make a narrow hem, instead of the 1 1/4 inch hem the pattern dictates.

It was a bit difficult to adjust the waistline drawstring, because I had half-tied it before putting the gown on to prevent it slipping back into the channel. But I needn’t have worried about that. I managed to get it untied, pulled it up a bit tighter, and tied it off. Ideally, that would be easier to manage. Perhaps it would be better to have the waistline drawstring tie in front inside the gown. There’s nothing wrong with having to pick up a skirt to tie off a drawstring in front. Might be better than having to perform acrobatics with my arms trying to reach the middle of my upper back with the gown on. I’ll leave it as it is on this gown, but maybe for a future gown with this pattern I’ll make that adjustment.

The sleeve hems are snug against my arm, but they don’t restrict movement in any way. When I make the gown again, I’ll extend the sleeve pattern seams by 1/4 inch each and then add 1 1/2 inches to the arm measurement instead of just one to add some extra ease.

I noticed that the strap of my undergarment, which is just a normal, modern, elasticized bra-type strap and sits near the edge of my shoulder, was showing just a bit at the gown’s shoulder piece because of the wide neckline. I might have to add a lingerie strap, and when I make a true Regency pair of stays, I’ll have to make the shoulder piece very narrow.

I decided to add a set of thread-chain carriers at the underarm seams so I can thread a ribbon through. I tested out the 1 1/2 wide sage green grosgrain ribbon when I tried on the dress today, pinning it in place with the ends in the back and then tied in a bow in front. I think the bow in the front is just distracting. It looks much better with the ribbon flat in the front as an accent and the bow in the back. Just a small tack at center front keeps the ribbon in place.

My first Regency gown is now complete–and I still have no idea where I’ll ever wear it. But it kept me busy, got my creative juices going, and helped me rededicate myself to my sewing projects.


Regency May 29/30/31 update:

*As anyone keeping track might notice, there’s a big gap between my postings for this project. What can I say? Life happens.

This Memorial Day weekend I was fairly productive on the Regency gown. All that remained to be completed was to hem the skirt and apply the trim to the sleeves.

The hem, even with the dress’ train, was simple enough. Just folded up 1/2 inch, pressed in place, then folded another 3/4 inch and pressed, and then sewn up. Because the train drags on the floor, I didn’t want to do a hand-sewn hem and risk any of the threads or the fold of the fabric catching and pulling against something and wrecking the hem finish.

So I opted for a machine-sewn hem. I am nothing if not practical. Seriously. It would tick me off to no end to spend a ton of time hand-sewing a blind hem or even whipstitching a hem and then have it pulled out the first time I walk over something slightly less than smooth.

I used the same beige thread I’ve been using for the rest of the project, since it blends into the background of the fabric so nicely. A nice tight stitch all around, and voila! The hem was finished.

Next step: sleeve trim. Before I got around to that, though, I wanted to try on the gown and make sure I wasn’t doing all that work for nothing!

I put on the foundation garment, pulled the gown over my head and was immediately thrilled by the results. The gown is so flattering. The waistline corrections I had to make, including the insertion of the triangular back panel, make it fit perfectly. There was plenty of room to maneuver while getting it over my head.

Once I could bring myself to take the gown off, I got started on the sleeve trim. First I applied the organza ribbons that bunch up the sleeve in three places, tacking them at each end. Then I tacked an ivory organza rosette (purchased ready-made) over the ends of each at the top of the sleeve. Along the gather, where the three ribbons terminate at the bottom of the sleeve, I stitched a folded satin ribbon over the ends of the organza ribbons, covering them. At the middle of the folded satin ribbon, I stitched another ivory rosette.