Saturday, November 15, 2008

Of Regency Elegance

Nine years ago, the only eras that I liked were the Victorian Era (but mostly the 1850s and 1850s) and the Middle Ages. Anything from 1900-on was too modern and other periods just didn't appeal to me.

Then I discovered Jane Austen, and a whole new world of costume history opened up to me. I grew to love the long white ballgowns, with trains tacked on a sleeve or draped over an arm. The dark-coloured spencers in the 1995 BBC Pride & Prejudice, Marianne's half-robe in Sense & Sensibility (with Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet), even Mr. Tilney's witty banter about the economy of buying muslin in Northanger Abbey.

Back in the day, when I decided I needed a deep-red Regency dress to see the Opera (La Boheme), I began some internet searching to find the best pattern. Simplicity and other Big-Four patterns were ruled out quickly, as I struggled to imagine a real Regency lady having a zipper in the back of her dress. Several sources, however, soon led me to the fantastic Sense & Sensibility Patterns website where I found Mrs. Jennie Chancey's famous Regency Gown pattern. Since I first found her patterns, her line has expanded, with Regency undergarments, new neckline options, and an all-new dress pattern (The Elegant Lady's Closet).

Now I'm quite excited as Mrs. Chancey recently made a new announcement: she is converting her patterns to PDFs, for sale as ePatterns! This is great news especially over here, as I won't need to pay for international shipping. The patterns can just be printed and assembled. I've been thinking about sewing a new gown for an excursion to Bath (maybe something white?) so this news came at just the right time.

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