A new Regency gown!

Thanks to my friend Elizabeth, I now have a new Regency gown – a full day dress ensemble – that fits! She asked me to be her model for a Regency fashion lecture at Modesto’s Jane Austen-themed JaneCon, and I agreed! She kindly made me the entire ensemble for the cost of materials and washing/ironing labor, and I couldn’t be happier. It’s a good thing she loves to sew, because I sure don’t! I do love paying my friends, or doing them favors, in exchange for beautiful clothes! The look and fit is just perfect.

Me in mushroom hat/beret, fichu and spencer jacket
Me in mushroom hat/beret, fichu and spencer jacket. Regency makeup is weird but surprisingly effective – you use burnt cloves to fill in your brows and liquid/pomade consistency lip and cheek products.
Me, Elizabeth in our ensembles for the day
I’m on the left, Elizabeth’s on the right. She made us look good.

The outfit consists of an 1805-ish gown made from a block-printed almost-sheer cotton muslin from Renaissance Fabrics. It’s the first front-opening Regency gown I’ve had, as my other, smaller gowns were all of the slightly later frock (back buttons) variety. Since this gown has a bib front that pins in place, it’s taken a bit of getting used to. I think eventually I’ll add period-incorrect snaps and ties to help keep it in place so I won’t stab myself or flash anybody by accident.

The petticoat and chemise are made from a really lovely lightweight linen from Dharma Trading Co.. The stays were made from a nice cotton sateen from Renaissance Fabrics and cable ties (yes, you can use the right gauge cable ties to help you replicate softer-style/corded stays).

The Spencer jacket and beret/mushroom cap are made from a lovely red wool blend Melton suiting fabric from B. Black and Sons in Downtown Los Angeles’ garment district (I used to work not far from there, oddly enough). The spencer is lined in cotton sateen from Renaissance Fabrics. The ostrich feathers on the hat were from my stash.

The fichu (neck scarf thingy) is made from a beautiful cotton voile from Renaissance Fabrics and edged with lace from VirgilsFineGoods on Etsy. The fichu bow (and the ties on the back of my dress) are made from a silk satin ribbon from Renaissance Fabrics.

I think all of the patterns Elizabeth used were from Laughing Moon.

I added some Regency-appropriate cosmetics to help make me look just right. I’m wearing some Pearl face powder, lip pomade, burnt clove stick eyebrow tint, and liquid blush from LitttleBits on Etsy, who are known for their natural, historically-correct cosmetics and hair dressing products.

My earrings are pearl reproductions from the 18th/early 19th century, and my necklace is a reproduction of Jane Austen’s topaz cross (she and her sister Cassandra each received beautiful jeweled crosses as a gift from their brother). Both are from damesalamode on Etsy.

My Regency lace-up ankle boots are a discontinued style from American Duchess. They’re you’re go-to business for historical reproduction shoes from the 18th-20th centuries. I have…many pairs of their shoes lol. They also sell period-appropriate silk stockings and other foot-related tools and accessories, in addition to their own books on 18th century clothing and hair.

The glasses are prescription, in a historical-friendly gold frame purchased from Zenni Optical. Not my usual look at all, but it works. They make me look like Sophie Thompson as Miss Bates and I’m cool with that. I was concerned that it might be hard to see the road with the smaller lenses, but  I had no trouble navigating my period-correct “Barouche-Escalade” to and from the event. To make a long story short, my Volt is in the shop and Chevy mandates replacement rentals be GM products so…I got stuck with the most Karen car of them all, a Cadillac Escalade. I actually kind of love it now, even though I’m pretty sure this is exactly the kind of car that bougie sisters Mrs. Elton and Mrs. Suckling would want to have if they lived in the 21st century – the modern-day longer-than-a-regular-Barouche Barouche-Landau.

I love my new Regency ensemble and can’t wait to wear it again! Hopefully I’ll have a chance to get some better photos next time. As for future projects, we’re already thinking ahead to another Regency gown and an 1780s chemise a la reine!

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