For the Dress Like a Georgian Day Picnic I changed my mind three times. At first I was positive I would do something from the 1790s so that I could re-use it for a Regency event. Then I thought I would take a step back and work on a Chemise a la Reine but I decided to save that for my lecture at The British Museum.
After catching Marie Antoinette I decided to go for a completely new approach based on this dress:
The first stop was to find the fabric and start draping. I used the techniques I learnt from my internship last summer in Colonial Williamsburg at the Margaret Hunter Millinery Shop.
The first tip I can offer anyone is to fully embrace the le point a rabattre sous la main. If you don’t know how to use that stitch Abby has the best tutorial on the internet: Click, click!
It looks a bit like this:
I decided to go for a faux pleated back because I only had about a week to pull this entire costume together. I could have cut time down by using the machine but I strongly feel that 18th century costumes are better fitting when they are stitched by hand. It takes more time but the stitches are strong and there is a more authentic feel.
I went back over my jacket I made in Williamsburg to see how to do the sleeves because I always find them a bit tricky.
Next step was to pleat the skirt and attach it. I basted the pleats:
And then attached the outer pleats to the bodice and whipped the inside to the lining. Make sure to catch you loops to bustle the back in this step!
Once the skirt and bodice were together (notice I removed the sleeves! They always give me a bit of a hard time at first. I decided to pull them out, baste the arm hole and move on. When I’m on a tight schedule I try not to waste time when I know I can finish something else).
On to the ruffles! I was so lucky that I went back and bought three extra metres of fabric because the pleats took 450″ of fabric (Trust me I had to triple check that measurement). I handpinked the edges and nearly destroyed my wrist doing so. The only thing I’m not happy with is that when I took my petticoat off I noticed that the edges frayed something awful.
The petticoat is 2.5 metres of fabric, skip stitched (can’t remember the proper name for this stitch!) the SS’s and pleated the front and back onto two cotton ties.
I based the back on the MA dress:
Finally got the sleeves in and stole the cuffs from my Paysanne costume (which I still need to post about!):
The night before I drew up a list of what I had to finish and unfortunately even though I had planned to decorate a pair of shoes they just weren’t a priority anymore, I decided the hat was more important. So here is a photo of what could have been:
I whipped the necklace up the morning of the event:
For the back of the dress I was inspired by one of the costume worn in The Duchess:
Now for photos from the event!
and finally because no Georgian get together is complete without the pineapple: