Thursday, June 11, 2015

Wayne County Museum Regency Gown Project

Back in March 2014, I had the pleasure of visiting the Wayne County Museum in Richmond, Indiana, to view an extant Regency round gown patterned (No. 31) by Saundra Ros Altman, owner of Past Patterns. The garment is quite extraordinary. I was struck by how well it is preserved and I was most impressed by its weight, the fabric being substantial and of a tightly woven cotton/linen blend. I took many detailed photographs of the original gown, especially of the construction and various stitching methods used. Finally, after more than a year, I've had the opportunity to construct my own gown using Saundra's pattern and my personal photographs as a guide for experimentation. I'd like to note, for those who are unfamiliar with this theatrical pattern, it is very popular among reenactors and I've seen many lovely variations on this gown. You may view one such example here (the very last garment pictured).

My gown is constructed from a burgundy and floral printed cotton, lined in burgundy linen, and tied in front by cotton cording:


While the greater part of the bodice is hand-sewn, the skirt and sleeves of the gown are machine sewn and over-locked - it's a dressmaking hybrid, to be sure. I will be making this gown again and constructing it all by hand from a heavy bone-colored linen that is comparable in weight to the fabric of the original gown. I would like to do a bit of simple embroidery in white around the hem, cuffs, and neckline. I'm not an embroiderer, but I'm up for the learning challenge. I'd like to experiment with the sleeves of the gown, perhaps create a style that is a bit more decorative. Also, for the second time around, I'll be gathering the back of the gown rather than pleating it to create a fuller effect from behind. I do enjoy the creative process! 

Blessings and happy sewing!

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