|A quickly sketched Office Special. Yeah, I still do those occasionally.|
FINALLY, two mad scientist friends of mine told me of their experience hunched over a hot stove and pot of boiling dye, pouring in their secret potions, stirring in unknown ingredients in hopes of achieving the elusive ‘Turkey Red’ (a bluish-red of varying tones) desired by regency gown-makers. Ultimately, their experimentation culminated in their desired colour and they achieved it using a huge cooking pot they’ve consigned solely for dyeing, a bottle of vinegar, and unknown amount of salt, and about an hour of a half of vigorous boiling in whatever desired colour.
Mind you I had EIGHT yards of fabric to dye. And I do not own a huge pot. So I bribed these alchemists with a packet of my newly bought sugar pearls to help me with my indignant, obstinate, stubborn piece of fabric. They agreed. So after work I zipped to Nora’s nearby house and the task began.
|Double double toil and trouble, fire burn and cauldron bubble...|
|Nora enjoys her waffle.|
|Too dark to tell at this point.|
|Final colour. A lot more vibrant than the blah-red it was before.|
The problem with a modern dress form is the position of the breasts. The regency silhouette requires your girls to be lifted up above the chest’s empire line. Draping a regency garment, a tailored one, is a challenge when your dress form is shaped for a modern woman. It’s easy when you’re making ruched, drawstring items. It was frustrating trying to ‘predict’ the shape of my body without being able to drape it on myself wearing my regency stays. I’m no Project Runway contestant... I have questionable sewing skills at best, the only advantage I have as a seamstress is that I’m the kind of person who will just try something, and do it, even if I’m doing it wrong. I’ll experiment, and just run with whatever comes to my mind. That’s why whenever someone tells me my costume is nice, I think they’re being insincere, or if they’re genuine, I tell them not to look inside—because *I* know how slipshod it is.
I digress... at length, I figured it out, although I’m a bit annoyed by a rather abrupt seam, which thankfully, I can cover with buttons. Here’s a sketch of what I’m aiming for:
|A hastily drawn facsimile of what I have planned.|
|This is possibly my favourite extant gown|
But on the most part, I make what appeals to me, and what is best suited for my body (which is still changing). I figure that ladies in the Regency were inventive and imaginative like people are today, and I would rather do something original to me than just not use my imagination and just mimic things that already exist. Boring.
The buttons are somewhat modeled off the Kyoto Institute’s navy riding habit—I also like the pointed front, but I like a shorter bodice and a narrow crew collar with no lapels. I love the shape of the back from Janet Arnold's habit, but what I'm making is not exact. I want something simple and non-froofy—with as little fuss and muss on the neckline so my already large girls aren’t further enhanced by lapels and collars. I will also place some loops and fasteners on the skirts and waist so I can bustle the skirts rather than tie them up inside. I want to have the overly long skirts because I fully intend to ride in this habit—and I still want to be able to use it as a walking dress/travel dress.
So I finally bit the bullet and cut linen on Saturday night. I decided to use the last working mockup as lining, so it will be lined in black cotton; that was machine stitched (with white thread, good Lord), but it’s all inside so who cares? I layered some duck into the small crew collar, and I may add some to the front panels for a little structure too, we’ll see. It was hard to sew through those three layers. I may cover the crew collar in black silk velvet but I’m still on the fence about that. We’ll see.
I am not posting any photos until it’s done. Sorry. :D