My new triumph, made for a flat party with a definite theme:
We named our flat after Barton Cottage from Sense and Sensibility, so of course we had to have a Jane Austen themed tea party before the year was out. We didn’t require costume – you can see the edges of my flatmates in the photo (I wasn’t sure how they’d feel about appearing on my blog) and neither of them are in full Regency getup.
The dress is insufficiently Regency for my tastes – I’ve spent the last two weeks researching that period and how the dresses are made, and it bugs me that the waistline is a little low, since I don’t own stays and had to make do with a modern bra. The fabric is an old tablecloth from a second hand shop (I really love repurposing old curtains/tablecloths/duvet covers, they’re super cheap and you can find some really gorgeous fabrics sometimes. This one is wonderfully soft, almost a flannelette, and the whole 2+ metres of it was $5).
I hadn’t realised that you can’t see the sleeves in this photo, so I’ll go take another now, but in the meantime take a look at the lace around the neckline (also around the sleeves). I’m planning to raise the hemline by an inch and add a wider lace in the same colour, when I get time for some handsewing.
Excuse the finger – the lace wasn’t sitting flat, so the camera couldn’t see it.
And here is the sleeve: a slight puff sleeve, drafted myself but shape based on a pattern in an amazing book of historical patterns for fashion in my local library (apologies for forgetting the name).
The pattern was made myself – a proud moment, to be sure – the skirt based on an Empire-waisted dress I own, but not the same by any means; the bodice by pinning and taking out darts until I got something that fit me – I’m really proud of how well I did at that, cause it fits me pretty well.
It’s fastened at the back with hooks and eyes, which I’m not taking a photo of just yet as it has a tendency to gape between them – I’ll let it out slightly at the back and add more hooks and eyes, and it should mostly fix the problem.
It’s named after Anne Elliot (from Persuasion) because she’s my favourite Austen lady, and I feel she is probably the only one who wouldn’t turn her nose up if I met her in this dress…
And it’s super comfortable. Some days I just don’t want to have a waist, which is where this is perfect. So I do throw this on sometimes when I don’t want to bother with proper clothes – the cut and the soft fabric together make it feel more like pyjamas to wear, but it still looks amazing. Perfection.
I’m now super excited about the next eight or so dresses I make. Also via long and convoluted blogging routes I found the Sew Dolly Clacket competition and Dolly Clackett herself (also known as Roisin Muldoon), who has the most beautiful dresses I want to wear all the time, and am definitely considering entering. My current dress in progress is probably a similar style but different fabric to most of hers, but I’m sure I can find a fabric to use for the next one that’d fit, and I would wear that dress actually all the time if I did make one.
Other dresses in the pipeline: an Austen-style balldress (I want to hone the skills used to make this one – more Regency dresses required!), a 50s-style day dress (I have a beautiful princess-seamed vintage 50s tea dress I want to take a pattern from, and I finally managed to get my hands on enough fabric to make it up in – another duvet cover), a brown-and-gold version of this one and so many that are just the barest of dreams and desires. Basically I only need to own dresses, right? No other clothes required.