Friday, December 11, 2015

A Regency Bodiced Petticoat

Back in October I made my new regency stays, a shift and a petticoat but only blogged about the stays. The shift is kinda meh since shifts are shifts, you know. The petticoat made me happy though! I have made two petticoats for myself prior to this one and both had a few features I really liked and a few features I didn't like so much. So for this one I got to combine my favorite parts about the old ones. It still isn't perfect but I think it will work really well under 1800-1820 dresses!

There were a few things I really wanted this petticoat to have:

1. A very fitted, very low cut bodice. My last two petticoats have both had to have the necklines cut down a lot after they were completed so they wouldn't peek out from the necklines of my dresses. I also wanted to avoid the drawstring neckline of my first bodiced petticoat. Having so many strings to tie was inconvenient. (petticoat strings, the string that holds the busk in the stays, the string around the gown neckline, the string in the shift neckline, all very confusing and jumbly after a day or weekend at an event!)

2. A very high waistline. After experimenting with regency styles for quite a few years now and hating the way they look on myself most of the time, I have found that if I make the skirts with as high a waistline as possible they look less dumpy. I actually fit the waistline about an inch or so above the bottom edge of the stays gussets. This gives a smoother, more columnar line to the bodice and skirts rather than an hour glass shape.

3. A moderately full skirt. Full enough to walk in, but not enough to make the dress skirt feel stuffed.

4. A flat front. Bulk in the front just adds to the unfortunate pregnant shape that a lot of regency styles seem to fall into. A nice flat front on both petticoat and skirt, combined with the flattening effect of the busk in the stays makes a much more streamlined shape that I personally think is more flattering.

I made the petticoat bodice in two layers of cotton and the skirt in one layer. I am very happy with how it turned out and so far it has worked perfectly underneath the sheer dress I made to go over it. The skirt is rather short and is finished with a few tiny tucks. The tucks aren't perfectly even as I didn't measure them and just eyeballed where to sew but they stiffen the hem ever so slightly and help prevent the skirt edge from becoming tangled between your ankles.

I modified the bodice pattern to become my dress bodice by adding a bit to the neckline. Worked wonderfully and the two finished garments wear very well together. I will have a post on my dress soon, but here's a (admittedly horrible quality) picture of how the petticoat looks under the dress:

The shift does need a bit of a modification as the sleeves came out a little too long and too loose for my liking and the neckline in the back is a little too high. I need to reposition the straps on my stays, too. I hopefully will get that done this month so I can go into the New Year with no UFO's on my sewing table. I have a blue and purple lightweight plaid I want to make into a hideously delightful regency gown with long tight sleeves. Gotta resist the temptation til I get the undergarments just how I want them!


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