A Whole New Sewing Plan

In light of a uber-awesome event, which I will not name until I have our tickets purchased due to the limited number, all sewing has been rearranged. There is now a new sewing list with fabric being rededicated. All of this must be sewn, change that, must be researched, draped and sewn in the next 3 months.

For Dan –

  • Regency pants  (plaid with some blue wool)
  • Regency waistcoat (Ummmm????)
  • Regency frock coat or formal coat – must find out which is which, and what is what on this (Dark blue wool )
  • Regency shirt? (white cotton)
  • Figure out what to do about headwear and footwear.

For Me –

  • Regency corset (which was draped and patterned for me a year ago. Talk about a kick in the bottom to get working on it.)
  • Regency under-everything: chemise, petticoat….
  • Regency dress – to be made out of the vintage sari I was going to use for the court dress.
  • Dance slippers…
  • Hair… um… something….
  • do I need new gloves???

Here are the fabrics I’m planning on. The sari has a large empty area as well as a wide panel of the gold design. The gold is very stiff. The plaid wool has a bit of texture to it. I think it will be comfy for him.
Here is a better look at the wool.

This all said, I am very, very new to the Regency era of clothing. I’ve worn poor examples of the dresses and have one sad mock-up from a decade ago. So, I’m starting from scratch here. I am open, very open, to a reading list whether it be articles, books, tutorials, what have you. Send them my way!!!

My biggest learning hurdles are the different shape in sleeve for my dress along with the whole construction and shaping of Dan’s coat plus his pants. Honestly, with his coat and waistcoat if someone were to specifically say ” make this”, it would help narrow my focus down while aiding my learning curve.

20 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. A mutual acquaintance of ours suggested I contact you to share some information. How do we proceed?

  2. Can’t wait to see what you sew up, and you have me intrigued with your super-secret event! I *think* I know which one it is, but I won’t say anything. 😉

    And the Regency is definitely an interesting era to do once you’ve done mid-19th century for so long. the dresses take a lot less fabric (which is nice) but frankly I find the whole empire-waist thing a bit less flattering than the full corseted look. In any case, I’m sure whatever you make will look smashing. 🙂

  3. Oh! Since you’re asking for Regency costuming advice: I can’t speak to the men’s wardrobe part, but from my own experience, Simplicity 4052 (by Jenny Chancey of Sense and Sensibility) is a fabulous underthing pattern. Here’s my blog post about it:

    The companion dress (Simplicity 4055) I would not recommend, as the fit was a bit off. Several other ladies that I’ve known that have made this pattern also had issues with it (like the waistline being way too high up). Anyway, just something to think about, hope it helps. 🙂

  4. Hi Jesse,
    Which mutual acquaintance do we have?

  5. Thanks, Anna. The funny thing is, I wore Regency for the museum well before doing CW, but I never learned about it from the costuming standpoint. This is well past due.
    I think I’ll be draping my clothes as this will be a minimal budget project. Sounds a bit crazy there. I’m hoping the tailoring books comin my way will get me through Dan’s coat.

  6. Thank you. If I can budget wise, I’ll pick that up. I should really see about reregistering on her site.

  7. This morning my biggest questions are:
    a) Can I use the plaid for Dan’s pants? (How I wish the linen pants I found for him were drop front.) The paintings I’ve been looking at seem to show a dark coat combined with lighter, solid color pants. Also, this is a formal event. But, there isn’t any budget for more fabric. ???
    b) I still need to figure out what sleeve I need. The year is 1813. My arms are rather large.
    c) Is there muslin on the left hand side of the top shelf that I can use to drape a toile for the bodice? Can I just corset my mid-century duct-tape me?

  8. I love Regency! Unfortunately I don’t know too much about menswear, but here’s a stab at it:

    (a) Unfortunately…. very highly unlikely. Fashionable pants (I think “pantaloons” is actually the correct term!) are almost exclusively shades of buff or tan (similar to buckskin breeches with riding dress), or even mustard yellow “inexpressibles.” Formal evening wear is always black, though. The most formal wear is knee breeches, but long black trousers were acceptable in most places and on most men except the traditionalists.

    (b) Do you have access to Patterns of Fashion, or Hunnisett’s Costume for the Stage and Screen? I love Hunnisett for Regency. Although accuracy isn’t her primary goal, the scaled patterns in the book are taken from originals. There are something like 5 skirt variations, 4 bodices, and 6 sleeves. Large arms aren’t a problem, either. You don’t need to do puff sleeves for evening.

    If you want accuracy, I would not use the S&S pattern. It’s pretty and goes together well, but it’s deliberately drafted for modern wear and there are niggling things about it that making it easy for me to recognize.

    (c) You say you already have a corset, which is good. This is a really good article on Regency corsetry. It’s different from other periods: http://oregonregency.blogspot.com/2011/10/achieving-proper-fit-with-regency-stays.html The key to getting the Regency “look” right is getting the waistline high enough, especially in the back. Now that I’m figuring that out, I see reproductions all over that really need to be raised up a good 2″!

    I would really love to help you – I have a passion for Regency, but there really isn’t one go-to source for accurate info. (Jessamyn’s site is really good for an overview, but it’s not intended to be the end-all of information, and she’s not updating it. http://www.songsmyth.com/costumerscompanion.html) Feel free to email me with other questions (sceneinthepast at charter dot net). Oh, and check out my Pinterest – I have about a dozen boards just for Regency.

  9. Ooo, yay, Anna! I’m thrilled that you’re stepping back in time! (Devious laugh…) I can’t wait to hear what your secret event is…

    Generally, dark coat and light pants for men is the style in the Regency, even for formal evening wear. Dark coat and dark pants is also pretty common, especially for a more military look. But I think the plaid you pictured will be fine, especially if you’re trying to use fabric you already own to keep the cost down.

    Do you have the Janet Arnold books? I find them to be indispensable for looking at pattern shapes. The sleeve I use for 1812/1813 is essentially just a regular short sleeve pattern that I’ve adjusted by adding crown height (an extra 2″ or so) and fullness by splitting the sleeve up the center and spreading it about 6″. Then I gather the excess at the bottom of the sleeve and at the top of the sleeve and center the excess when I’m sewing it into the dress. Hopefully that makes some sense the way I’ve written it… 🙂 The nice part about the bodice is that is relatively small and doesn’t take much fabric to drape!

    Keep posting your challenges and questions so we can all jump in! More heads are better than one. Can’t wait to see what you come up with. I’m sure it will be lovely.


  10. Thank you Ginger and Quinn. The imput on the pants is very helpful. I do have that bolt of cream wool. I don’t know if that is going to be too heavy though. I would call it a medium to heavy weight wool. I’m hoping one of the people at the site hosting this event will be online soon. This way I can ask them.
    I don’t own my own Janet Arnold books, nor Hunnisett’s book. I have Costume in Detail to pull from. I also have Jason Maclochlainn’s book on tailoring on the way. I was told while he focuses on Victorian clothing, there is an early coat in there as well. I also ordered DeVeer’s before knowing about this event. I don’t think it will help directly but may have some help with the drafting. I’ve ILLed a few books. I’ll ask for Hunnisett as well.
    Which sleeve would you suggest for large arms? What will look nice? The sari has this interesting section where the threads are not there, almost like a fringe. I was thinking I might be able to play with this in the sleeves. I think what concerns me most is going from the mid-century armscye and sleeve shape to the early one which appears to sit higher and more into the back. Is the sleeve sitting as far back as it appears in some of the dresses? Some make it look like it sits back to almost cover the shoulder blade. (As I reach around my back to feel and almost pop that shoulder out.)
    I’ve going through Jessamyn’s site. There are some very helpful bits there. I’ll check out the Oregon Regency article. I was lucky to have a great costumer drape my short stays for me last year. Granted, it took until last night to start making it.

    Thank you all for your help!!! I appreciate it!

  11. If you have cream wool that would be better for the pants than the plaid. It sounds like the weight would be ok. If it’s coat weight wool then it is probably too thick, but medium-to-heavy sounds lighter than that to me.

    Personally, I like puffed sleeves, because they add some interest to the simple silhouette and they are way easier to pattern/set in without trouble, plus they have built in ease for the unusually shaped armsceye. Like you mentioned, in some dresses the sleeves to extend all the way to the shoulder blades, which takes some getting used to–wearing wise and patterning wise.


  12. Hi Anna, I’m glad if I was any help! For the sleeve, a simple straight sleeve like Quinn’s is good. The armseyes do tend to extend far back over the shoulders. I’m a coward about draping sleeves, so I’ve used scaled and fitted patterns for both, and tweak from there. A smooth-set sleeve has a cap like a sine wave, with the seam set to the inside of the arm. (Did that make any sense?) I hope you can get Hunnisett at least on ILL.

    I love Costume in Detail! It’s really good for getting an eye for proper bodice proportions.
    There are quite a few fashion plates on my Flickr, organized by year. Here’s 1813:


    Sleeves tend to be short (level of the waist) and gathered into a band, but not super big, nor do they puff up from the shoulder.
    The double skirt effect would be pretty with a contrasting color, especially since your sari is lightweight/has open sections. You could do that with the sleeves, too: Have the open section right across the middle of the sleeve (or bias – they loved using bias on sleeves), with a contrast showing through.
    Skirts are on the short side in 1813, too. 😀

    This is exciting!

  13. I asked Dan to look at the weight of the cream wool. I was thinking it would be for outerwear from a 19th century sense of weight rather than modern sense. I did notice plaid pants in the cover image for the event. That makes me feel a little better.

    I’ll mock-up a few sleeves once I get the bodice draped. With this event focusing on dancing, I will want movement in the arm until I get used to the sleeve placement. I could just imagine raising my arm for a turn or pass through and pulling some stitches.

  14. Striped pants! 1811:

  15. And more striped pants, from 1810.

  16. Thank you for the images.
    I’m going to need help picking a waistcoat fabric…. anyone?

  17. Waistcoats are fun! They are infamous for being all sorts of wild colors and patterns. Quick fashion plate survey shows that stripes rule.

    Mustard yellow, with a pale blue coat:
    Blue and white stripe, with a driving coat:
    Horizontal stripes this time:
    Stripe visible here:
    This dude again, striped pants and checked waistcoat:
    Horizontal stripes. This is a more informal outfit; his cravat is actually a handkerchief.
    Somber gentleman, but with mustard/white waistcoat peeking out.

    There are also a number that appear to be white or cream-colored, although it’s possible they just weren’t colored in for the plate.

    If you do a solid, something like the mustard would be kind of fun. Otherwise, a color that coordinates with either the trousers or the coat, but doesn’t match either one.

    For material, I think silk, or maybe a fine wool, is most appropriate.

    Oh, I just had another thought. I remembered reading that most coats had self-fabric buttons, with the exception of blue coats. Those had brass buttons, flat brass I think. A fashionable extreme was to have very large buttons, so don’t do them too small.

  18. Ooo, lots to look at. Thanks. I saw a bit on the buttons for blue coats. How curious is that!?
    I was attempting to look at some original waistcoats to get a better feel for the fabric. The stunning embroidery is off the ‘doable’ list. I did see a remnant of a white/off-white with a blue stripe and floral stripe. It is a cotton jacquard weave, but affordable. I need to develop a better eye though. She has the same with green. (I also saw a red damask that would look awesome with the buttons I bought him.)
    Tonight, I’ll be finishing the corset and making the kitchen shelf curtain that needs to be done before I dive further into this.
    Oh….. tickets purchased.

  19. That remnant sounds rather awesome! I wouldn’t have a problem with a cotton jacquard for this. Cotton is called out in some of the fashion plates for things that surprise me, including some pantaloons. I said silk or wool because it’s easier to find nice fabric in. I have by no means done a survey of fibers for menswear! There are a couple people on pinterest with Regency menswear boards… let me go find them for you.

  20. This lady has both men’s and women’s, organized by year:

    1800s and 1810s men’s fashion:

    Regency men:

    1787-1817 men:

    Early 19th century men:

    1790s-1820s men:

    Regency England, men’s fashion:

    Regency dandy:

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