Making a Floral Regency Dress, Part Two

I might have forgotten about this project. Again. I finished making it at the beginning of August and still haven’t finished writing about it, how awful is that?

Today i’m fixing that! This is the second post about making my Floral Regency Dress, part one is posted here and shows how I made the bodice. I also have a post about making the bonnet that goes with this, which is posted here.

The first step in making the skirt was cutting it out. I decided to use my usual four piece skirt method, which involves rectangular front and back panels and two side panels. The side panels are made from a rectangle that is cut horizontally to make two gored pieces which add volume to the hem but keep the skirt relatively narrow at the waist.

That process has never given me any trouble before. But this time I messed up because I forgot something very important: for this to work you have to be using a fabric that is the same on both sides.

Would have been great if I remembered this before cutting the fabric!

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To fix it I placed the pieces together with the right sides facing each other. Then I trimmed away a lot of the length and width so they were mirror images of each other instead of being identical.

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Much better! Just not the size i’d wanted them to be.

I should also mention that due to limited amounts of material these panels were cut on a different grain than the front and back panel. Which isn’t ideal but luckily isn’t too noticeable once everything is sewn together.

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I cut out the front panel and pinned everything onto my dress form so I could see the shape. The skirt is definitely too wide for Regency Era fashion, but I liked it so I left it that way.

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Then I made a bit of bias tape and marked a slit down the center of the back panel.

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That got slashed open, then I whip stitched bias tape on to cover the raw edges. This creates a nicely finished opening  which makes the dress easy to get on and off.

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And then all the pieces got sewn together with french seams. After this was done I trimmed the top edge and rounded out the hem so the skirt will have a nice little train.

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Then the skirt got hemmed. I left one and a half inches for the hem. The first half inch got tucked inward and basted down then the hem was turned under by an inch and whip stitched in place.

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I gathered the top of the skirt down. I realize now that I really should have removed volume from the front, but at this point it was a little too late. It’s most densely gathered at the front and back, the sides are left completely smooth.

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Here it is pinned onto the dress form. Aside from the misplaced volume I was happy with it.

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So I pinned it onto the bodice, then sewed it on with a one inch seam allowance.

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I made some more bias tape out of scraps.

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And used that to cover the raw edges.

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Speaking of bias tape, I cut out a bunch of four inch long one inch wide bias cut strips. These will be used as ties for the back of the bodice.

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I ironed the raw edges towards the center then ironed them in half so no raw edges were visible. To make sure they stay this way I whip stitched around the edges of each one.

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Then the little ties got sewn between the lining layer and the top layer of the bodice. When they were attached I stitched the back of the bodice lining shut.

Then I made a sash from a long strip of cotton sateen and sewed that around the bottom of the bodice.

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And that’s it! The dress is finished!

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I did take some worn photos of this, but i’m not happy with them. I worked hard on the dress and bonnet but seriously slacked off on the undergarments. My chemise was too short and gaped horribly at the back. The petticoat was too long and not the right shape. The fichu is just a piece of lace because I forgot to make one and was in a rush to get this photographed. I think the sloppiness of those things really effect the way the dress looks when it’s all put together.

I think when summer comes around i’ll make some major changes to this and hopefully end up with a dress (and ensemble!) that i’m happier with. In addition to the changes mentioned above i’m going to hem the dress and remove a good 20″+ of volume from the skirt.

It’s not perfect but I think with a few fixes I can get this project to a point where i’m happy with it. At least I actually finished this project, which is more than I can say for my previous two Regency fashion attempts (they both ended up in my scrap bin…)

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Thanks for reading!