Thursday, April 04, 2013

Regency apparel preparation - Regencyish, Regencypunk?

I am preparing for an English country dance ball this Spring. It will be my second and my husband's first (the delightful man provided childcare last year so I might go). I have decided that we should have Regencyish clothes. The ball is wonderfully accepting of varieties of attire. Last year, I saw many authentic-appearing Jane Austen gowns; modern day formal and semi-formal attire; and even some casual wear.

Last year, I wore a gown I found for $8 at a thrift store that I thought had a nice Austen-ish look to it. Thinking it felt like fine fabric (silk) though there was no fabric content label and not recognizing the name, I googled the label and found it for sale on-line. Best thrift store find, ever (at least for me). Oh hang it, if there can be Steampunk, I don't know why there can't be Regencypunk. While I'm not punking anything, really, I'm using that as my excuse not to worry much about authenticity. Though I did cut off the fringe at the bottom.

I had thought of trying to add some puff sleeves to try to make it a tad more authentic, but didn't have much experience sewing and let it be. This year, I am planning to add puff sleeves and have done a mock up of the sleeves from a Simplicity pattern (Joann fabric stores has sales on Simplicity patterns for $1). It was quite easy as I used an old sheet. I doubt I will have as easy a time with the nearly matching silk slip I plan to use for the actual sleeves. I'm a little concerned that the drapey silk won't add much of a puff but the fabric will do what it does (and I've got a plan for more puff if needed). Worst case, it doesn't work and I go sleeveless again this year. At least I found some awesome opera length white kid leather gloves (for just over $3 - requiring a bit of repair, of course), to lend some authenticity. I will also attempt a more authentic hairstyle.

Now, for my very own Mr. Darcy (all the charm and none of the fortune). I am aiming for this look. At a thrift store, I found some black cotton pants and a white tuxedo shirt. My plan is to make the pants into breeches, using this delightful post for inspiration (I'm trying to charm the author into writing a post about his Regency waistcoat) and also consulting a Butterick pattern I have (Joann fabric also sometimes has their Butterick patterns for sale for $1 each).

I have ordered a pattern for the Men's 1812 Waistcoat from Rockinghorse Farm. I'm a beginning sewer (maybe advanced beginner...) and I'm feeling fairly confident about making a waistcoat. I helped my daughters with an easy learn to sew vest pattern, so I have some of the concepts. I also hope that this post of a similar Rockinghorse Farm pattern will help me through any confusion I have. Though it is a bit daunting.

The cravat will be the easiest part, I think, but will add so much to the look. I am skipping the frockcoat. As delightful as it is, the waistcoat is going to be enough of a stretch for me. While I doubt any gentleman would have removed his coat at a ball, this is where I rest easy in Regencypunk. My Mr. Darcy has an edge and goes into public without a frock coat. Couldn't you just swoon?

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