June 1, 2015

“A lady's imagination is very rapid..."

Thank you, Jane Austen, for both Pride & Prejudice & the title of this post!  While Mr. Darcy may think that ladies jump from "...admiration to love, from love to matrimony in a moment," we, costumers & historical clothing enthusiasts alike, jump from laying eyes on a pretty dress (perhaps on pinterest) to instant love.  And then, from love to I MUST MAKE & HAVE THIS IN THE CLOSET!

Ahem.  I have those moments a lot, as I am sure you do too...anyways, most recently, it has been over the want of a Regency dress, or two, or three...With the annual 1812 weekend quickly approaching at the museum, I really, really wanted to make a new outfit or perhaps even a ball gown!  However, due to time, material and other constraints, that will not be possible.

So, instead, I will have to settle with sharing my current Regency wardrobe wishlist!  It's truly so easy and so much fun to dream!!  (And, perhaps, some day, when I have the skills, these dreams can be realized!)  With that said, what would I wear?

For Saturday (morning & afternoon):  Robin egg blue and brown is always a great color combination.  Throw in some cream and butterscotch accents, and you have my Regency day dress dream!

A light blue dress with sleeve and hem tucks based off the extant below.  I am also very inspired by this entire, gorgeous outfit: http://mantuadiary.blogspot.com/2012/02/regency-day-gown.html.

Cotton muslin dress
Museum of London
(Image via: http://www.museumoflondonprints.com/image/138392/unknown-cotton-muslin-dress-19th-century)

Add a sheer, ruffly chemisette underneath, and an equally sheer, ruffly spencer jacket over top!  Again, a look inspired by the creation of another fabulous costumer: https://www.flickr.com/photos/51732491@N02/6919577424/in/photostream/.  This is the spencer that I would model my sheer wrap after:

Rose pink striped cotton and silk spencer, early 19th C.
SKD Museum
(Image via: http://skd-online-collection.skd.museum/en/contents/showSearch?id=666329)

And, finally, accessorize with a cream or butterscotch silk hat & reticule.

Hat, c.1800
Metropolitan Museum of Art
(Image via: http://www.metmuseum.org/collection/the-collection-online/search/84405)

Bag, c.1825–30
Metropolitan Museum of Art
(Image via: http://www.metmuseum.org/collection/the-collection-online/search/100030)

For Saturday night's ball:  Everyone needs a "little white dress!"  It's a classic, Regency staple.  Mine would be based off this sweet little dress, a white spotted sheer with van dyke trim:

Dress, 1805–15
Metropolitan Museum of Art
(Image via: http://www.metmuseum.org/collection/the-collection-online/search/103412)

For all day Sunday:  Drawing inspiration from my favorite costume in one of my favorite period films, Bright Star (2009), directed by Jane Campion, a sheer, pink-striped dress with plenty of ruffles & a matching pelisse in case it gets cold!

Bright Star (2009)
Abbie Cornish as Fanny Brawne & Ben Whishaw as John Keats
Someday, I will make this...
(Image via: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/404409241515907418/)

A favorite of mine for a while...Dress, c. 1818-1820
Les Arts Décoratifs
(Image via: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/501869952196796289/)

Sleeve inspiration...Day dress
Tasha Tudor collection
(Image via: http://www.lavendersgreen.com/Early19th.htm)

1813 Costume Parisien.
(Image via: https://www.flickr.com/photos/51592109@N08/4882843991/in/set-72157624704755764)

 Topped off with a large, white sheer bonnet with plenty of ribbons:

My most favorite costume from the film!
Costume design by Janet Patterson, Hats by Jane Smith.
(Image via: http://www.janesmithhats.co.uk/pages/brightstar.html)

And, finally as a bonus, here's a sneak peak at the fabrics for my next 1810 short gown study:

Lewis & Clark Pattern #199965
Intended for the short gown using Period Impressions' pattern 462

Neckerchief appropriate?  I did come across some similar looking Dutch prints.

A 3 yard score for $4.50, plenty of fabric for a couple of aprons!

What's on your sewing bucket list?


  1. I quite understand the rapid rush from image to desire when historical clothing is concerned.

    1. I always want far more than I can possibly make - and need to focus on finishing a couple of projects that sparked enthusiasm but have been languishing in the pile for some time.