Easy P’easy Regency: From bed to ball gown in 30 minutes or less
January 16, 2014 by RealLifeArtist
This post is contributed by Celeste Sargent as part of the 1817 Regency Ball Blog Series.
Have you been invited to a Regency Era Ball? Has your wardrobe fallen behind on the hottest 1817 England fashion trends? Are you unwilling to sew or buy a costume for just one evening? Well, you could go to a thrift store and find a dress or tuxedo to modify as these people did:
“How to Get a Proper Regency Look From a Thrift Store“
But if you’re like me and that is still way too much time and money, here is how to make a Regency gown out of a sheet in 10 steps. BONUS! “Men’s Regency Attire: 3 easy cravats” at the end.
10 Steps to a Regency Gown
- Step 1. Start with a single sheet (a double sheet will work, but it is bulkier), 20+ pins, 2 draw strings (approximately 1 m long), and your choice of sleeves and belt (see Step 9).
Step 2. Fold the sheet in half to make a long cylinder (if you are using a double sheet, you will have to fold it in 3rds so it is just wider than your hips).
Step 3. Overlap the edges to make a long, narrow cylinder and“Sew” the edges together using pins, being careful not to catch the bottom layer.
Step 3. (If you are using a double sheet, you will have to pin the bottom and top edges of the overlap as well)
Step 4. Tie the first draw string around the middle of the sheet, keeping it loose and easy to untie.
Step 5. Fold the sheet in half OVER the draw string by pulling the thin edge of the sheet down over the thick edge. You should have a double layered cylinder. (adjust the size by folding it more or less. Top crease above the bust and bottom around ankles)
Step 6A. Step into the middle of the cylinder, with the seam at the back, and tie the draw string tightly ABOVE the bust.
Step 6B. OR, secure the draw string BELOW the bust.
Step 6B. then fold the top layer of fabric up over the bust to the desired neckline.
Step 6B. Pin crease to bra at desired neckline (FRONT).
Step 6B. Pin crease to bra at desired neckline (BACK)
Step 7. Arrange the fabric so it falls smooth and flat in the front and sides and bunches in the back (the double sheet is a lot bulkier in the back).
Step 8A. Tie the second draw string around the outside of everything under the bust.
Step 8B. Tie the second draw string over the top of everything under the bust.
Step 9A. Add your choice of sleeves and belt
Step 9B. Add your choice of sleeves and belt
Step 9. Add your choice of sleeves, and decorations. The regency had a diversity of necklines (U, V, square, scoop) and sleeves (cap, puff, short, med, long). In addition, women often wore a chemise (a light, white collared shirt) under a dress to cover the chest and/or shoulders. Here are some different combinations using:
- wrap around shirts
- sports bra
- wire edged ribbon
Step 10. Accessorize with flat shoes, a shawl (long rectangle of coloured fabric like a long Pashmina, often of Indian silk), a reticule (a fabric purse with a draw string), a fan, and/or long gloves.
Men’s Regency Attire: 3 easy Cravats
1)Start with a white collared shirt (not a tuxedo shirt) and piece of white linen (in this case I used Jersey because that’s what I had). The cravat should be about 4-6 inches wide and 1.5-2 meters long.
2). Pop the collar and wrap the cravat around the neck a few times, finish up with the style of your choice. Here’s three fun options: bow, scarf or knot.
3) Finish up your outfit with dress pants, dress shoes, and a vest. (WARNING: It is best to avoid a jacket. The tailcoat was extremely time-specific. It had a VERY short waist and puffed shoulders, which are hard to find or imitate)