Thursday, July 9, 2009

Step One to a Romantic Era Wardrobe

A Petticoat!

As the Victorian era grew out of the Regency era, waists became longer, necklines became wider, and skirts became fuller. Layers of petticoats helped to "poof" out the skirts of the gowns, still without giving them the huge rounded hoop-skirt look of the 60's.

This area of transition in between Regency and Victorian is called the Romantic era, a somewhat forgotten era until the release of BBC's wonderful masterpiece, Wives and Daughters, which takes place in the late 1820's, early 1830's.

I am attempting to make myself a "Wives and Daughters" outfit out of Jenny Chancey's Romantic Era dress pattern. Since I don't have a corset, or the money for a corset pattern and supplies at the time, I am going to make more "Molly-style" dresses with the slightly higher waists so that I can wear them with my short stays. Eventually I will make myself a full-length corset, I hope.

My first step was making a petticoat. I derived the following from a mix of patterns. I took some hints from Jenny's instructions for a bodiced petticoat (though this wasn't "bodiced" :-P). I got the idea of the flounced skirt from Simplicity 7157 (which I think is out-of-print now). Unfortunately, the fabric I was using for the flounce (leftover fabric from the 1914 dress Beth R. made for Marianne) just wasn't long enough to gather. In fact, it barely made it around the bottom of the main skirt. So it's just pretty fabric, it's not exactly flounced. :-)

Well, I'm afraid I've rambled enough about my petticoat. Let me show it to you now! :-)

Here is the front (sorry it's a bit wrinkled and not really spread out):

The back:
This was my first experience with buttonholes, actually! I am deathly scared of making buttonholes on the sewing machine; it's just very intimidating! So I made them by hand. They're not perfect by any means, but I enjoyed making them, and thought the pink was a fun accent. What do you think?

And a sweet little rose in front :-) :

I would love to get started on the actual dress very soon but I don't have the fabric yet. I'm a little nervous, because I want to make it just right... I really should make a toile first. Will share with you any progress!

P.S. About the pelisses/spencers, I am putting those off until the weather gets cooler. I'd rather make something I can wear now, now, and then make something to keep me warm. :-)


Marianne Dashwood said...

Very lovely! You'll never do the buttonholes as well as your sewing machine, but I will say they look very well indeed!

Elinor Dashwood said...

"Thank you, Mamma!"
Actually, at first I was like, "What?" but then I got it. LOL :-D

Anonymous said...

I like those buttonholes and the rose, Melanie! And please do share how the dress is coming along...:)