A little diversion from the 18th century--
I decided that I needed a more common gown for Regency events and I didn't want to invest a lot of money. I found a small Indian block print on Ebay that I liked and got 5 yards of it. The width was only 42 inches wide so it took all 5 yards to make a simple drawstring gown. I used the Sense & Sensibility Elegant Lady's Closet pattern with a few easy changes: I added 4 inches to the width of the front so that I would have more gathers on the bodice and I lowered the neckline by 2 inches. I also made the lower drawstring so that it tied at the center front inside the gown and made the sleeve band narrower. The gown was entirely stitched by hand using tiny French seams on the skirt and flat felled seams on the lined bodice. This is a really comfy gown for a hot day. Here is the fitting:
The Spencer was a little more challenging. I love the sketch of the spotted muslin Spencer in the book Costume in Detail. I decided that I would make a similar one out of olive green cotton to go with my gown. Here is what I had to work with.
The bodice front looks just like the bodice of my gown. I thought it would be easy enough to adapt the same dress pattern for this project. The original is unlined so I decided mine would be as well. I cut the back pieces the same as the gown. I used the front lining pieces and raised the neckline so the finished bodice would be 5 inches high. I also widened the shoulder pieces slightly. I lengthened the short sleeve to a finished length of 7 inches as indicated in the drawing and cut the long sleeve included in the pattern. I left the long sleeve plain instead of making one with the gathered cuff described in the book as my fabric is heavier than the sheer muslin the original was made of. I also made a very narrow band for the short sleeve as the original has a drawstring and I didn't want a white cord with the green fabric. I drafted a piece with 3 points --the center being 4 1/2 inches long, the side points being 4 inches long. The width of the piece with the points was 9 inches wide. I roll hemmed the pointed piece.
I stitched the bodice together with felled seams then I stitched the sleeve seams. I cut away 1/4 inch of the lower armscye to make it a little roomier. I had to baste in each layer of the sleeve separately. The pointed piece was first and I eased it to 8 inches. Then I basted the short sleeve in which you can see below.
The neck edge and the bottom edge had the hems pressed in --1/4 inch turned in then 3/8 inch turned in. The left front edge was turned in half inch before pressing the neck and bottom edges. The right front was turned in half in twice AFTER pressing the hems. An eyelet was made on the right front in the hem at the neck and bottom edges. This created a flap that covered the ties when the Spencer was closed as in the original. I used 1/4 inch cotton twill tape and threaded it through both casings. I stitched the tape in place at the side seams on the bottom edge and at the shoulder seam at the top edge so that the gathers would only be in the front.
The final outfit consisted of my chemise and stays with a strapped white petticoat, chemisette, the new gown and the Spencer. I wore my Regency cap with no bonnet as I hadn't finished it in time. I was so glad to have the Spencer as it was cool that day and it added just the right amount of warmth for the day.