Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Fashionable Updates, Regency Gown Plans, and Why it Pays to be Wanton

First up--congrats to Wanton Redhead Writing for sharing her stylish self--and for winning the Burt's Bees Rose lip balm. Wanton--shoot me an email and we'll chat on sending this out.

Second--after a delightful weekend at the Happiest Place on Earth, I've decided I have to return in July for a Regency-era event. The Jane Austen Festival is outside my usual schedule--but I can think of no better way to spend a summer afternoon than with the ladies and gentlemen in whose company I spent this past weekend, and wearing a new gown from an era I haven't ventured into yet.

So! I've ordered a pattern to use for my new Regency gown, and plan to rely pretty heavily on Janet Arnold's Patterns of Fashion for guidance and adjustments. The pattern is Period Impressions Bib-front gown, and looks quite a bit like one of the gowns featured in Arnold's book. I'm especially excited to play with the fitting on the back and the gathered, high skirt. I'll be making the short-sleeved it will be worn in July. Should be fun!

As for the rest of the ensemble: I already have a shift I can use with the gown, and I hope to make a pair of Regency stays as well. I have enough book and internet resources for the stays that I *might* try drafting something myself. Nervous! Will see how it goes. And if the stays don't get done--I'll be taking a friend's advice to just wear a modern balconet bra with the gown. I'll whip together a white kercheif for modesty and sun protection from linen I already have. I will also try to finish a bonnet before the event. I hate squinting in the sun.

The only question on the gown now is fabric...I'd love to use a very lightweight linen or cotton. So far, a couple contenders:

Pretty moss green linen.

A somewhat unusual rusty-red linen.

Pale sky-blue linen-cotton blend.

My quandry is that I tend to look better in darker colors--but for a summery Regency day dress, pale colors seem much more appropriate. Perhaps a shot of color from my faux-coral necklace or a brooch or ribbon would brighten the ensemble and keep me from looking like a washed-out Pasty McPasterson.

Any thoughts on color choice? Will keep you all posted on the progress!


MrsC said...

Go for the deep colour. A white kerchief will brighten it up :) I am a dark brunette also and there ain't many pastels as do it for me either. :)

Gentlewomanthief said...

Ooh, I'm v excited for you! This sounds like a fun project! I agree with Mrs C (as a fellow brunette who looks deathly pale in pastels) ... Although that sky blue is gorgeous - I think it could work with a deeper blue accent (eg, piping or somesuch) and bonnet in the accent colour. Then one day you could add to the ensemble with a deliciously deep blue Spencer. Whatever you decide, I know it's going to be fabulous!

Connie said...

How fun!! One caveat. I'm sure you know this, but when I made a Regency gown for myself I was shocked at how much of my bosom ended up being "exposed." I knew Regency, but wow. If I make another one, I'll cut the bodice piece a bit bigger.

MrsC said...

Ah yes but a low cut bodice is an excellent excuse to add a kerchief tucker, which is such a lovely look on a coloured gown :)

Anonymous said...

I envy you a Jane Austen festival and shall watch your progress with the gown... I think the red, with a contrast piping, very smart. Matching bonnet and contrasts as well. And the spencer for later on sound divine!

Rowenna said...

Connie--so true! I plan on using a kercheif, as MrsC says--and perhaps making chemisettes later to expand the wardrobe a bit.

GWT--I'm really leaning toward that blue! I may go ahead and get it--it looks like the color may be saturated enough that it will work well. I can wear light colors if they're saturated. And dark blue accents would be gorgeous, you're right!

Mesmered--I'm so excited to make this gown and to go play in it in July!

Gentlewomanthief said...

Yes, I find light blues and turquoises are amongst the few light colours that work for me. Also, liking the idea of a pretty kerchief tucked in, too!