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Posts Tagged ‘Regency bodiced petticoat’

For the past two months I have been working on a commission costume for a friend. She is attending a “Battle of Waterloo Ball” in London to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the famous defeat of Napoleon by the English, and she needed a Regency outfit.

Stays

She decided that she wouldn’t bother about a chemise, so we jumped straight into making the stays. I drafted the pattern for the stays myself, using her measurements and following a similar method that I used to draft my own.

The stays are made from two layers of white cotton drill, with the boning sandwiched in between. For the centre busk I used two clear 30cm rulers and the boning is plastic imitation “whalebone” boning. The lacing is cotton cord and I used some thin cotton tape for the front drawstring around the top of the bust. The eyelets are hand sewn using a buttonhole or blanket stitch.

She was particularly concerned about her large-ish bust presenting a problem, so I used a double row of boning underneath and to the side of the bust area. The “cups” of the corset do extend a bit higher than normal to compensate for the lack of chemise. Traditionally, the corset holds the bust underneath while the chemise contains the bust from above. In this case, I used the bodiced petticoat to contain the top part of the bust.

The front view

The front view

The side view

The side view

The back view

The back view

Bodiced Petticoat

For the petticoat, we used the Regency Wardrobe Pattern by La Mode Bagatelle. I used the “DD” sizing for the bodice part but in hindsight I probably didn’t need to, as I needed to do a fair bit of adjusting because it turned out so big.

The petticoat is made from white cotton broadcloth, with cotton tape around the top edge to draw it in over the bust. The buttons are just plain modern plastic ones. The bottom of the petticoat is hemmed with some wide bias binding, which forms a casing for some large cording. This helps the petticoat stand out from the legs and prevents the gown from clinging.

The front view

The front view

The back view

The back view

Ballgown

I drafted the pattern for the ballgown myself, using a lot of similar features that I used in my own purple Regency ballgown. However, I used the sleeve pattern from La Mode Bagatelle (View C – short sleeve). My friend gained a lot of inspiration for how she wanted her gown from one she saw at Edelweiss Patterns.

The ballgown is made from purple dupioni silk and lined with acetate bemsilk lining. The piping around the waist and sleeves is made from cotton cord and cream satin bias binding. The buttons are self-covered and there is a ribbon drawstring around the lining of the neckline.

Side of Regency ballgown

Side and Sleeve view

The sleeves are “smocked” by sewing thread in a 1cm diamond and then pulling and knotting the threads tight. This is repeated in a honeycombed pattern across the sleeve. This creates little “puffs” on the other side of the material (which I used as the “right” side), and my friend then sewed little pearl beads to. The hemline was embellished later with some cream lace drawn up in scallops and some “flowers” made from the same lace.

In the pictures below, the dress takes on a luminescent glow from the morning sun, but the colour is actually darker purple than this.

The front view

The front view

Back of Regency ballgown

The back view

Spencer

The cuff detail

The cuff detail

We used the La Mode Bagatelle pattern for the spencer, using View H (minus the sleeve caps and with the addition of the peplum).

The spencer is made from a beautiful cream silk that my friend had in her “fabric stash”, but not dupioni as it has no slubs. The piping is made from cotton cord and gold bias binding. The buttons are a gold plastic button with a military design; a larger size for the front and two smaller ones for the cuff.

Instead of boning the collar (which is instructed in the pattern), I used two layers of very stiff, woven, sew-in interfacing which has worked really well.

In the pictures below, the spencer is shown over the bodiced petticoat.

The front view

The front view

The back view

The back view

The side view

The side view

I am very pleased with this little project, as I don’t normally do pattern or gown drafting for other people. And my friend is also very pleased and is looking forward to her trip overseas in a few months!

Related Posts

My Regency Journey: How to draft a corset pattern

My Regency Journey: Making a Ball Gown – my own purple ballgown

Making a Regency Spencer – my own spencer

Sources and Relevant Links

Regency Wardrobe Pattern by La Mode Bagatelle – to buy

A Pink Silk Regency Ballgown – by Edelweiss Patterns

“Smocking” instructions – on Pinterest

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The fourth stop on my Regency Journey is to make a bodiced petticoat. This was usually a sleeveless garment, reaching to the ankle, worn over the stays. It made the light cotton garments less see-through and provided a little more body to the bottom of the skirt (rather than having it clinging to the legs).

The cotton dresses of the Regency period were sometimes so thin that the legs were visible through them, as the satire print below shows. In this picture, the Regency woman’s shoes, stockings and garter are clearly visible beneath her skirt. As women in the early Regency era did not often wear drawers, it is possible that their “bum” might have been seen without the aid of a petticoat! This new style of fashion was in sharp contrast to the previous era, where thick, stiff, multi-layered skirts created a very different silhouette.

The Year (1740) a Lady’s full dress of Bombazeen. The Year (1807) a Lady’s undress of Bum-be-seen.

A bodiced petticoat could also be boned and be used instead of a corset, as it provided the necessary support to the bust in order to achieve the correct silhouette.

My Regency Bodiced Petticoat

There are several good websites with instructions on how to make a bodiced petticoat. I roughly copied the design of the bodiced petticoat used at Sense and Sensibility Patterns, and then followed her instructions.

My petticoat will go over a corset, so there was no need to put in any boning to support the bust. I decided to do a petticoat mainly as a substitute for dress lining and to ensure that the bottom of the dress stood out a little.

The sleeveless bodiced petticoat, worn over a chemise and corset.

The waistline is a little low on this garment, but the darts around the bust still support the correct silhouette. Once again, I used felled seams. The petticoat skirt is made up of 5 panels: a front (cut on the fold), 2 side front, 2 side back, and 2 back panels. The top third of the centre back skirt is open to enable to wearer to put it on. The bodice is made up of a front (cut on the fold), 2 side back and 2 back panels. The bodice front has three curved darts under each bust which serve to push the bust upwards. The finished width of the waistband is 1 and 1/2 inches.

I added a ruffle at the bottom of the petticoat to help it stand out a little. In order to avoid hemming a long length of ruffle, I folded a piece of material in half lengthwise and then gathered the two layers of raw edges as one.

Making a ruffle: the material is folded in half lengthwise and the top two raw edges gathered together.

In terms of ruffle length, use at least 3 times the circumference of the bottom of the petticoat, as a ruffle that is only 2 times the circumference will be a little flattish. I used roughly 9 metres of ruffle to fit around a 2.5 metre bottom. I also made a casing to cover the raw edges of the ruffle on the inside, and then threaded some cording through the casing to help the bottom stand out a bit.

The finished ruffle, with a row of cording encased above it.

During construction, I forgot all about allowing enough room in the bodice for the back panels to overlap so it could be done up with buttons. To fix this, I added a small rectangular flap to one side for the buttonholes, and sewed some clear buttons on the other side.

Back view of the bodiced petticoat, with chemise and corset visible underneath.

The next step of my Regency Journey is to make a dress for daywear.

You can read all of these posts in order at My Regency Journey.

Related Posts

My Regency Journey: Corset Construction

My Regency Journey: Making a Chemise

How to Make a Regency Poke Bonnet in Ten Steps

Relevant Links

How to make a Bodiced Petticoat – Sense and Sensibility Patterns

Patterns for Regency Underthings – Jessamyn’s Regency Costume Companion

How to do Flat Felled Seams

Examples and pictures of Regency era underwear – Jessamyn’s Regency Costume Companion

Jane Austen Festival – website

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