Monday, October 29, 2012

October Regency Project ~ Grey Wool Spencer

I was at pretty much a standstill for this month's regency project. Originally I planned to make a short gown/half-robe type of garment. But then I decided I'd rather use the fabric I had for that for something 1840's instead. (plan is a nursing-friendly 1840's gown for Christmas this year). 

Whilst digging through the large cupboard that holds my stash I unearthed an old suit jacket and slacks my mother in law had toted to our house once upon a time, in hopes it might fit David. David, being very picky about his attire, had scorned the suit at the time. I liked the fabric so hid it away in the stash where it hid in the darkness for an age. I found it again last week. I really liked the fabric so I told David he could either try it on and see if it fit and if he liked it or I was going to claim it. He tried it on. It was much too large in width and much too short in breadth so it became mine. It's a dark charcoal grey wool with a thin white stripe. Super nice fabric. The suit must have been rather expensive when it was new.

I decided to make another of the projects on the list I got together back in May. Using Mme. du Jard's tutorial for making a spencerino, I cut out a mock up using my regency petticoat bodice pattern as a starting point and then refined the fit til I got what I wanted:
This is not a very good picture but shows the shape of the pieces. I am using a medium weight tan and white spotted cotton for the lining.
I was able to cut all the bodice pieces from the main body of the suit jacket. I will use the jacket's sleeves for my sleeves. There is plenty of fabric in them for the sleeve pattern. 
The wool took pleats for the back "skirt" very well. There is just something about pleating nice wool that is so satisfying. Yum.

I am quite pleased with how this little jacket is turning out so far. My initial plan was to wear it over a gown but now I think I may wear it with a petticoat instead as a two piece outfit. I have an old 1860's silk skirt that contains quite a lot of fabric. It would make a nice later 1790's-ish petticoat if I let the hem out so there is sufficient length. 
The point of construction I am currently at - attaching the casing strip for the waist drawstring. 

The only thing I am not totally happy with is the very visible hand stitching in white thread. I am running really low on thread at the moment and the only color I had that would really work was the white. But, one must do what one must do. There was really no opportunity to get to the fabric store for more thread and I really had to start this if I want it done by the end of the month. . .

And to end on something totally different, I betrayed my historic-fashion loving self and gave myself bangs this weekend! I normally have no hairstyle whatsoever but the baby is now three months old and starting to entwine my hair around her hands and in between her fingers whenever she gets the chance. So of necessity I have started to do a ponytail but that gives me the appearance of baldness from the front due to an unbecomingly high forehead. Enter The Bangs. David kinda freaked out. But I assured him they would be grown out sufficiently by next reenacting season to do an appropriate 1860's hairstyle and he calmed down after that.
Ignore the really messy sewing area behind me. . .yeah. . .

Oh and I haven't forgot about finishing the sunbonnet tutorial. I will. I just haven't hemmed my ties yet! 



  1. Love the bangs! They suit you well in that photo.

  2. The bangs are so cute! I've had bangs for a few years now, and have never had a problem taming them for 1860s hairstyles. It just takes a little more time and ingenuity. And lots of pomade!

  3. Sarah, you look quite good with bangs! As I young girl I had them and looked pitiful, and a few years ago I revisited them, and they still didn't look good. You however look great!

    Seeing your historical sewing gives me quite the bug for this fall semester to finish up, so I can hide away in my sewing room over Christmas break! :)

  4. I too have a huge forehead and prefer myself with bangs. They can definitely be worked into historical hairstyles especially long ones like you have.

  5. Bangs! So cute.

    I get intolerant of visible handstitiching too, especially on a really nice fabric. The thing I always tell myself is that it shows off my hard work. Since you've got such a talent for craftsmanship, those visible stitches no doubt look like a great (on purpose) detail!

  6. I still find it odd when people call fringes 'bangs' (like calling trousers pants...makes me giggle childishly).
    I like the pinstripe spencer, smart. And I think the white stitching actually adds a nice decorative effect.

  7. Super cute bangs! I'm always envious of people who can pull them off. They never look nice on me :/ I also love your earrings and I can see where baby Anne got her gorgeous eyes from. :) I just love the whole picture (messy sewing area and all.

  8. You look charming! And I love that spencer.

  9. Bangs normally freak me out, but i think they are fantastic on you! I love it!
    As for me, lots of ponytails as well - she gets a good, firm hold, and moving every single finger one by one is rough on us both!


Thank you for your lovely thoughts!