Friday, December 27, 2013

HSF Challenge #26: Celebrate!

Celebrate! the Christmas season, what you've learned this year, or simply having survived the Historical Sew Fortnightly 2013.

We were very generously given tickets to the American Women's Club of Amsterdam's winter gala, but there were still two things holding us back.  I didn't have a dress, and Dan didn't have a suit.  Thanks to an early Christmas present from my parents, Dan got a very spiffy suit, so I just needed a dress.  This summer I bought some very festive fabric, intending to someday transform it into a Regency gown.  The time had come!  I was on quite a deadline, but managed to get almost everything done in time (I still have to bind the sleeve seam (but that's inside so nobody sees that), and I may go back and add buttons someday).  The gown turned out perfectly, but I do have the new goal of figuring out Regency hair styles, as mine wasn't, well, right.  I probably could have used some jewelry too.

The Challenge: Celebrate!

Fabric: This summer I discovered my new favorite fabric store in Chicago- Fishman's!  It's not a large store, but had a ton of natural fiber selections, silks in particular.  And they had a dusty shelf along the back wall with $5 per yard striped silks.  Beautiful, light weight, and crispy.  Most of the fabric was a bit garish, or larger plaid patterns suited to the later Victorian era, but there was a gold, maroon, and blue narrow striped fabric that was perfect for regency.  It's not my usual color choice, gold doesn't really suit me, but for $5 per yard I couldn't pass it up.  So I bought all that was left, I think almost 5 yards.  My accent fabric was a gunmetal silk shantung.  I went looking to bring out the blue stripe, but the gunmetal, much to my surprise, went beautifully.

Pattern: Skirt was from La Mode Bagatelle, bodice and sleeves were my own creations, based several incarnations ago on the Bagatelle pattern.

Year: I was going for 1817-1818.

Notions: Hooks and eyes for the back closure; I would have preferred buttons but ran out of time.

How historically accurate is it? I hate this question.  I think I'm going to follow Festive Attyre and quit answering it.

Hours to complete: Not too many by my standards, the bodice only needed one mock-up, and I remembered a lot of my should-have-done's from my regency wedding dress, but the oversleeves took a while to get right.  Maybe only 20?

First worn: The American Women's Club winter gala.  I got a lot of compliments on the dress, and looked very regal next to all the modern dresses.

Total cost: $25 for the gold silk (still have a yard left over), $30 (full cost) for 1 meter of the grey (enough left to cover shoes or make a bag). So $55.

After a long night of dancing (thus the wrinkles)

My lovely piping job!

I got this shawl in Cologne Germany for $20.
100% Yak wool from Tibet.  And it's much
softer than it sounds!

And one of Dan in his dapper new suit.


  1. Oh!!! It's absolutely gorgeous! I loooove the stripes, and the colors are wonderful together.

  2. Love the cap sleeves--hadn't really looked closely at the detail before.

  3. Your neckline detail really adds a lot to the dress! Will have to remember that for future dress adventures.

    I saw this on the Historical Sew Fortnightly wall, and didn't previously notice the little tonal stripe in the gold fabric. It is beautiful! Such pretty details.