I was recently asked to play some Colonial songs at Seniors Club to commemorate the bicentenary of the crossing of the Blue Mountains by white settlers in 1813. I had practiced two brackets of four songs which took us through, very quickly, the convict arrival, the convict's life, the free settlers, the development of the plains over the mountains which was the saving of Sydney, the growth of the nation on the sheep's back, and finally a song about our national identity today. Sounds like a lot in eight songs, hey? Thankfully, my husband joined me as I have no confidence singing in public and together we got through it, me on the baritone ukulele and he on the banjo guitar and soprano ukulele.
So, what has this go to do cooking, quilting or crochet? Well, on the Thursday before the event (which was the following Tuesday) the leader (my mother-in-law, Shirley) asked me what costume I was wearing. Come again? I was not prepared. I have loads of dress ups for different eras but nothing from this period of time
I spent the afternoon researching fashions from 1813 and discovered it is the Regency period. "Woo hoo!" I thought to myself, "I love Pride and Prejudice!" Although I know that style does not suit my body shape, I felt for sure there would be a tutorial somewhere about Jane Austen style dresses. And that is when I found the Danielle Dress on the Burda site. What a lifesaver! And it is FREE!
I rummaged around in my fabric stash and found everything I needed. The fabric I used was a wretchedly horrible feeling polyester, but it had the right kind of print for a Regency day dress, and I had enough of it. I also had just enough plain white polyester for lining because the other fabric was too thin to wear by itself. I found a zip in the right colour and length, and lace (which I didn't end up using) and I was away!
Thursday afternoon I download the pattern and start putting it together. It was super easy to follow.
Because I don't have the kind of bust that fits nicely into standard dress patterns, I thought I would add some extra length. So I cut the front and back pieces...
And then sliced up a handy Spotlight catalogue. These are 4cm strips.
And then I inserted them into the sliced front and back pieces. Looks quite pretty, doesn't it?
I used dart line on the bottom of the back piece to draw a new dart.
And I added extra length to the skirt by moving the hem line up to where the red pin is (where two sheets of paper where glued together). I used this same measurement on the front and back skirt pieces.
Using a long ruler, I extended the line of the skirt.
I didn't make the lining separate. I just sewed both the main fabric and the white lining all together at the same time. I did this to save time and in the end it turned out fine so I am glad I didn't go to the trouble of making the lining separate. And here is Bessie who wouldn't stay off it while I was trying to force the pins through the cheap and nasty polyester.
And here is the finished product. I was actually quite pleased with it, although I have discovered you can't walk very fast with such a narrow skirt at your ankles! I wore a white lace scarf with it, some pink ballets, and attempted some sort of Regency updo (no, I don't normally have my fringe in tight curls) with some purple mini chrysanthemums in it. The dress itself was very easy to make and I highly recommend it for anyone going to a Regency themed event. I have even seen them made as wedding dresses and they are really lovely. Full marks to Burda for making it free!