The event was the re-creation of Nathaniel Gow's quadrilles first being danced in Edinburgh, in 1817. So 200 years later to the exact date, we were doing the same dances, in the same Assembly Rooms! There were a number of workshops beforehand, and I wish I'd attended more of them, because it was a bit hard to hear the authentically un-amplified dance calls. However, the musicians in their little alcove sounded great, and the hall made a stunning setting for the dance. There was dinner and dessert included, and we got through an impressive number of dances. And Raven happened to be in town, which made it extra special! It was a pleasure to have her company for last-minute hemming, and be able to do regency dancing together again.
|Friends! Photo courtesy of Juliette Lichman.|
|One of many quadrilles. Photo courtesy of Juliette Lichman.|
I hadn't made a new regency dress for a while, and given the bicentennial we were celebrating, I decided to aim for the later end of the period, with a more triangular skirt and a horizontal emphasis in the trim. Well, I would have done if I'd had time to add any trim. I started the dress the weekend before the dance madness started, so it's actually kind of a miracle it was wearable!
|...and back! Again, pictures courtesy of Juliette.|
This is it! Entirely hand sewn from silk, with cotton lining in the bodice and sleeves. Worn over my old shift and stays, and a new petticoat. I didn't get a good picture of my hair, but I'm wearing a lovely comb made by Peryn.
Construction details and more pictures below...
The pattern is a combination of the c. 1809 gown in Patterns of Fashion, draping, and me staring at pictures of extant dresses trying to figure out where the skirt seams are. In the end, I'm very pleased with how the shape turned out. Here are some of the ones I was inspired by:
|Duchesse d'Angoulême and the Hospital at Toulouse by Joseph Roques, c. 1815. Need to work on my silly hat and dour expression!|
|Costume Parisien, 1809. I may try something like this for the hem eventually?|
|Evening dress worn by the Countess of Palfi, c.1810s. Pleaty bits!|
The construction process was slightly more creative than usual. I made the skirt and the back of the bodice first (the latter came with me to the Inter-Varsity Folk Dance Festival in Cambridge to have hooks and eyes attached- I was determined I wouldn't have to be sewn in!). Once those were attached, I basted in the front lining and shoulder straps and draped the bodice front. Once I knew how big the front piece needed to be, I cut it in silk, and fitted it with darts.
|Back and skirt sewn together.|
|Contemplating the front draping.|
|Sleeve awaiting attachment. You can see the silk gathered onto a fitted lining, with piping on the edge.|
|Pleaty bit partially attached. This was about 24 hours before the ball started.|
Links for research images because I couldn't just insert them with the URL, I'm sorry I'm technologically inept.