Regency Dresses for Average Size Ladies

Royal Exchange Costume Hire Dept has a million awesome costumes in sizes typical of actresses, since that’s who the costumes were made for. Actresses are more often of petite, slender stature than the rest of us, so one of my great joys is to make historical dresses to fit people who like their pie. Like me.

I had a ball (geddit?) making this regency dress for them, with some ends and scraps in the bin of exquisite fabrics but not enough of them to make much of anything.

The triple-pleated hem made it fall beautifully and the faux piping in the seams set off the shaping beautifully.

I’d drafted it on the XL dress dummy, since it’s not for a particular person but for generic slightly larger than very small women. But the below picture is a good illustration of my technique when drafting for a specific person. Just imagine a real person in a fitted t-shirt having bits of fabric pinned to them.

It really cuts out the middle man, as it were, and you get to start the show with a piece that actually fits rather than make many toiles on the way to there from a generic measurement chart. It’s especially important with people of unusual shape or proportions. Like me. But in this case, a shop dummy shape was fine.

I was especially pleased with my ruched cuffs.

And almost gleeful with my sleeve caps.

The tops are just an oversize satin sleeve tacked to the undersleeve below in various places to get that bubbly-ripply effect. The oversleeve pieces looked like this to start with:

And like this when inverted and pressed:

And the beads are really just there to set off the oversleeve from the undersleeve.

I mean to make more of these fancy sleeves. Maybe onto charity shop jackets…