Thursday, August 2, 2018

Early Regency Sleeveless BEE Triangle Spencer and Mustard Apron Front Gown - July Sleeves HSM Challenge

For July's "Sleeves" challenge, I decided to focus on the use of sleeves worn underneath and the lack of sleeves in a spencer, as an example of a historical sleeves style. I created a 1798-1800 sleeveless BEE spencer with triangle trim and an early Regency mustard cotton apron-front gown, handsewn.
Mustard apron-front Regeny gown & silk brocade
BEE triangle sleeveless spencer
photo by InTheLongRunDesigns
JulySleeves: There are some amazing examples of historical sleeves styles out there. Put the focus on the arms and shoulders in your creation for this challenge.
IG #HSM2018JulProgress (for works in progress) and #HSM2018Jul (for your finished item)

How it fits the challenge: For this challenge, I focused on arms and shoulders, and the LACK OF sleeves for a subset of Regency spencers, showcasing the sleeves of the gown worn under the spencer instead. Sleeveless spencers seem to be especially popular during the late transition in the last few years of the 1790's and into the first few years of the 1800's. Sleeveless spencers puts the focus on the sleeves of the gown underneath, which was the intention for this outfit: my mustard apron-front Regency gown sleeves showcased from under.

Material: Sleeveless spencer: burgundy and gold BEE silk brocade (leftover from my 2016 gala BEE open court robe). Mustard gold silk taffeta for binding all edges. Mustard apron-front gown: mustard striped design cotton from Treadle (quilt shop in MN), bit of white cotton muslin for under bodice pieces. 

Pattern: Sleeveless spencer: Draped by TheLady Detalle. I draped and drafted 4 muslin mockups until I was happy with the fit. I referenced fashion plates from 1798-1800 for sleeveless spencer examples and sleeveless spencers with triangle trim, and also referenced the sleeveless spencer and pattern example from the DAR "An Agreeable Tyrant" book for ideas on shapes to try to improve the fit in-progress. Mustard apron-front gown: was draped by myself and partner during a Burnley & Trowbridge workshop last May. 

Year: 1798-1800

Notions: white cotton twill tape for apron front ties from Burnley & Trowbridge

How historically accurate is it? Sleeveless spencer: I hand sewed everything visible and machined the main seams as well as zig zagged all edges of the silk brocade as this fabric frays like crazy. All finishing work done by hand. Mustard apron-front gown: 100% hand sewn, Angela Burnley contributed hand sewing the two sides' pocket slit seams during the workshop ;). 

Hours to complete: Sleeveless spencer: it was a few days of a couple hours a day to make up the pattern and different mockups for fit. It was a few hours to cut it all out (strategically and carefully). It was another couple of hours to machine sew the main portion and zig zag all the unfinished edges. It was another couple of hours to plan and cut and pin/sew on the bee triangle trim (VanDyke trim), and then another few hours to hand sew all the finished edges with ironed mustard silk taffeta binding. Mustard apron-front gown: I worked on the gown sewing the entire B&T weekend (including in the evenings), Angela Burnley's time hand sewing the two sides' pocket slit seams help, and then spent another few days (spread out) to hand sew the remaining work on the gown. 

First worn: Saturday day at Costume College this year

Total cost: All STASH! Sleeveless spencer: The fabric was leftover from my "Bees, Bees, Bees" Napoleonic open court robe made for Costume College Gala 2016. I wanted to use up as little fabric as possible for this spencer as the fabric was $$ and I can use the remainder to make something else. I started by cutting my pieces from large leftover scraps, and managed to get all but one piece of the spencer body from the scraps! I then cut the final front piece and the triangle trim from the yardage. I added mustard gold silk taffeta binding to finish the edges, also stash. Mustard apron-front gown: stash! I picked this up from Treadle Quilt Shop in MN a few years ago.

I was very excited to wear the finished outfit at Costume College, and made my bee jewelry parure to wear with it!

Gown & sleeveless spencer and hair by me. Pineapple reticule (commission). Vintage mustard & black silk dupatta, vintage 1950's German gold wreath tiara, Josphine gold & black BEES necklace & matching earrings by LadyDetalle on Etsy

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