Fitting the Regency Clone

It has been a while since my last post… but a lot has been happening here, on the private and university-related ends of life. So the sewing has taken a little break. But today it is back and I can finally give you an update on my latest Regency project:

Currently I am making the 1805 frock from Janet Arnold’s “Patterns of Fashion”, for which I finally fitted the toile today. And let me tell you, making this gown has been a marvel so far. The pattern was taken from this extant evening dress on exhibit at the V&A:

The extant 1805 frock.

And, ever since enlarging the original pattern, I have dubbed this project “the clone”. This is not because I am re-making something extant, but because the original dress would fit me straight off the stand, without any alterations. Ever since realizing how its wearer’s bust and underbust measurements fit mine to the tee, I have been wondering whether there was a clone of me running free in the Regency era. And, I would have absolutely loved to meet the lady in question. Judging from the intricacy of her frock, she must have been from the French upper class. Perhaps I should write a short story about our meet-up one day.  ;)

When fitting the toile today, things got even funnier. While patterning the front piece, I had originally added an extra three inches to the neckline band and another four to the sleeve band, just to be sure. And, lo and behold, I ultimately ended up taking almost the whole extra length back out,  down to the original dimensions. You can see where I pinned off the excess fabric in the pictures below.

Fitting the toile. (Please ignore the gathering thread having slipped out on the right) ;).


Fit of the back neckline and sleeve.


The last thing I need to do now is to jump into my petticoat and stays, to make some final adjustments. And, with the toile fitting so well, I will not have to worry about making another lining; I can simply use the piece as they are. The toile was made from a scrap of an old cotton sheet and is very comfy to wear. Hence I see no reason to throw it out. This whole project will probably never stop to amaze me. :)

I will try to get back to you once the bodice and sleeves are finished. See you all in a little while.
Love, Nessa



10 thoughts on “Fitting the Regency Clone

  1. Twilight Storm Crafts says:

    LOVE the dress you’re patterning your dress after! I’m working on learning hand embroidery, and tambour embroidery, to embellish something (hopefully more then just one something) similar to this too. I can’t wait to see how it keeps progressing. Best wishes!

    • Nessa says:

      Thank you so much. It’s always nice to meet people learning the same crafts you do. Tambouring is also something I keep wanting to get into. If you are interested, I shared the link to a 19th-century needlework book covering both whitework and tambour embroideries in my primer post on Regency embroidery. Perhaps I can also post an update on the dress bodice here in a bit. Just finishing the assembly of the layers. All the best. :)

  2. Twilight Storm Crafts says:

    I actually found your blog and the Project Gutenburg Ebook. from googling around for embroidery. :) I linked it as well on my embroidery page, it’s an amazing book. The embroidery you’ve done is beautiful. I hope the bodice assembly went well! I’ll keep my eyes open for your update!
    I picked up tambour embroidery from Youtube after finding the needle set. Someday I’ll have to make a proper frame rather then use a regular hoop to free my hands properly. The book explains the frame a bit but I am not 100% clear on constructing it.

    I haven’t done anything serious with tambour yet, but my first project that I will be working on very soon is a patch I’m making for my nephew. It won’t be period work, but I’ll share pictures of it when I’m done. I love working with the tambour needles. Anyway, enough of my yammering! I’ll keep checking back. :)

    • Nessa says:

      Yes it really is. It was very popular when it was new. I haven’t really looked into tambouring much, but I would like to try it using a fillet crochet hook, since tambour hooks are a bit pricey and hard to get in continental Europe. ;) But it should work. And thank you again. :) I will try my best to update soon. Life is really busy here this week.

  3. Twilight Storm Crafts says:

    I’m not sure if this will help you or not. I listed the two websites below without periods in hopes that WordPress won’t think I’m spamming and stick this in your spam folder.

    I found a forum livinghistory co uk (if you go to that site and search for a thread called: tambour work)

    Someone in that forum said the hooks are available from a site called silkenstrands co uk

    It’s located in North Wales. I only browsed the website quickly, but the hooks and needles appear to be reasonably priced from there at 10.00 euros for the holders, and 3.50 euros for the needles. Shipping is reasonable it looks like too at 1 euro I think, but I’m not really familiar with how the mail orders work in Europe. If you are interested you might be able to contact them if you have questions etc.

    I’m only personally familiar with the Lacis set. a holder and 3 needles. It’s really overpriced in Europe when I searched specifically for that set. (It’s only about 20 dollars here, for a holder and 3 different sizes of needles to start you out. I think it’s $50 there converted. Yikes!) The holder in my set doesn’t seem worth the price over there. The Lacis needles are threaded at the bottom. I’m not sure if this is standard with all tambour needles or not, but I wanted you to know.

    I’ve been searching for the brass fittings with the screw that are on the end of the holders. I haven’t had any luck, probably because I don’t have the slightest clue what you call that piece.

    Hope your busy week goes well for you! Take care :)


    • Nessa says:

      Hi Rebecca,

      thank you so much for your helpful feedback. I am familiar with the sites and actually found that they are some of the very few distributors in Europe. The thing only is that shipping items from the UK to the rest of Europe can be pricey and annoying. There is however a special pearl crochet hook made by Clover that is very very similar to a tambour hook in design. But that is also a bit tricky to find. So, until I am good enough at tambouring and more likely to do it regularly, the crochet hook solution will tide me over. Actually Kura over on “Making Makes My Life” gave me the idea because she practiced her tambouring that way, on a piece of netting. It looked quite awesome.

      And I believe the fitting you are looking for might be called a “wing nut”. I just did some googling to figure out whether it might be called a wing screw and then this term came up in the search.

      Thank you, too, for the well wishes for this week. I will surely need them. It has been so overcrowded with work, I have barely touched the bodice. As I will be going on a 5-week work assignment next week, I am not so sure I will at least get to cutting out the skirt pieces before that. And then I will be stuck with smallish side projects since packing my sewing machine and big pattern pieces is a bit out of the question (I will be staying in a rather small garret room for the time). ;)

      And it is awesome to have followers and supporters like you. All the best :)


    • Nessa says:

      Oh yes. And this dress has changed my mind about Regency ladies having been rather thin and bony. Judging from the sleeve shape, the original wearer had shoulders no less square than mine. ;)


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