Inspiration – Trimmed Regency outerwear

I’ve begun working on a new regency spencer, red to go with the red/white dress. I want this one to be a bit more fancy than my blue spencer, ideally with some surface decoration. So I went looking for inspiration images, and stumbled on a couple of spencers & pelisses which seem to have the same type of trim. I can’t be sure, but I suspect the trim is made with small tubes of fabric, which are then stitched on as a braid. This has the advantage of resulting in perfectly matched colors. There also seems a bit of a trend of flower/leaf patterns. I haven’t found a lot of examples, but enough to make me belief this was done more often. All of these are from ca. 1820.

So far, my plan has been to use soutache braid to decorate my spencer, but if I can’t find properly matching red braid I might try the fabric tube idea.

For this post, some pretty pictures!

The Met museum has 2 nearly identical spencers with a gorgeous trim design. This is the design I also plan to use for my red spencer.

Close-ups show the lay-out very well.

 

Another spencer in the Met which seems to use this technique has a more geometrical pattern.

A close-up shows the same fabric tubes. I especially love the sleeve treatment, and will try to copy it for my own jacket.

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Another one playing with lines, from the DAR Museum.

Eggplant-purple velvet and purple silk twill spencer, about 1818, from the DAR Museum, Washington DC. From the (John and Abigail) Adams family, possibly worn by a granddaughter.:

More wiggely lines, although a bit tricky to see with all the black, from the Germanischen Nationalmuseums.

This one is getting back into the floral theme. From the Chertsey Museum.

 

Spencers are most common, but I also found this pelisse is from the Museum of London. A lovely blue with a leaf/floral pattern, combined with embroidery.

But to really do it justice there’s the close-ups:

 

Regency spencer (and more) finished

When I decided to make a spencer jacket so I could wear my new regency dress outside, I also immediately had a whole other list of ‘things to make’. I needed a bonnet, and as my hands get very cold I wanted a muff. And as I was looking at fashion plates, I also noticed that there’s usually a chemisette worn beneath spencers, so I also wanted one of those. Only problem; I had about 3 weeks to make everything, while working full time and doing all other stuff I already planned. I started with the spencer, as seen in the previous post. After this, the priority was the bonnet.I managed to finish those on time, so I also made a muff. It’s so simple, but very nice with the cold weather! I made mine of white faux fur and lined it with white cotton. I also put some fiber fill between the fur and cotton layer, for extra isolation. Finally, I sewed hooks and eyes to the inside and made a ribbon. The hooks make the ribbon detachable.

For the chemisette, I based my pattern on one of the chemisettes in Janet Arnolds’ book. Of course, I loved the one with all the little pleating in front and mushroom pleated collar. I decided to just start with the garment and see how far I’d come, but I actually finished on time. I only made 6 pleats on each side of the front piece. Mostly, I must admit, because it was a pain to do and I thought it looked good enough this way. All the pleats are set in place by repeated ironing and then sown with tiny stitches to secure it. The collar I improvised, having no clue how to mushroom pleat a collar. This chemisette is also the first garment I completely sewed by hand!

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The photo quality is bad, but you can just see the tiny stitches to keep the pleats in place.

 

 

 

Last weekend, I wore the whole outfit, and had a lovely day. I made almost everything I’m wearing, with the exception of the leggings and thermo shirt underneath to keep warm. I’m wearing my stays, blue dotted regency dress, spencer jacket, chemisette, muff and bonnet. My friend took some lovely pictures of me.

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Regency spencer jacket

Now my blue regency dress is done, I want to wear it and the next event is in a couple of weeks, so good news for me! The only problem, it’s outside, in the Netherlands, in December. So thin silk and cotton are not going to cut it. I therefore decided to make a spencer jacket. And a muff. And a bonnet. And if possible a chemisette. A bit optimistic, but who knows. In any case, the spencer has the priority here, and as I already had the pattern and fabric, this should be very doable. So two weeks ago I cut and printed and assembled the pattern. I made the mock-up and made adjustments. Last week, I cut the fabric, the lining, sewed them together and pinned the bodice together. Last weekend I assembled the pieces, made the collar and sleeves, put everything together and finished the raw edges. I even started on the button-holes. Because, of course, for a last-minute project it’s a good plan to make 5 hand-sewn button-holes. Well… at least it’ll be pretty when it’s done! At the time of writing, I’ve made 3 button-holes and attatched the buttons, so if I run out of time it will close with 3 instead of 5 buttons!

Finished pictures will come after the 7th of December, when the event has happened, but I have some construction pictures!

The spencer is made from light-weight blue wool, which is gorgeous, but should really be seen in daylight. My flash doesn’t do it justice. The lining is white cotton, and I used Sense & Sensibility’s spencer pattern, but adapted it to have a high closure and fit my figure a bit better.

The inside of the sleeves before attaching them to the bodice.

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Gathering the sleeve cap

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The bodice assembled, before finishing the edges and the sleeves.

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And from the outside, on my dummy

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And from the back.

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Pinning the sleeve into the arm-hole.

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And with the sleeves attatched and the edges finished. Pinned to close.

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Close-up of the sleeve cap. The color is a bit weird here, it’s prettier in person.

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From the back!

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And a little preview of it worn over my dress! I’m still in love with the fabric, this picture shows the color best.

 

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Inspiration – Spencer Jackets

In december, the pattern company Sense & Sensibility had a sale and as their patterns can also be bought as e-patterns, I couldn’t resist. Paper patterns often involve expensive shipping, but an e-pattern will only cost printing paper, making it a lot cheaper and therefore not so bad if I never get around to working with them. I bought three patterns, the elegant ladies closet, with dress patterns, the regency underthings pattern and the spencer & pelisse pattern. I have a ‘want to-do’ sewing list which is way too long already, so I haven’t made any concrete plans yet, but I’ve started to look at inspiration pictures. Because I would really like a new dress, and I don’t really have proper stays, and it does get cold out without a jacket, and… You get the idea. So for now some pretty pictures of regency spencers.

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Kyoto costume institute

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Kyoto costume institute

Met museum

Augusta Auctions

Kulturen, Lund, museum

1807, Robertson – Andrew, Princess Amelia