Nov 16, 2014

Regency Neck Ruffs

Regency-era neck ruffs are also called lace ruffs or frills; neck frills; double frills of worked muslin; fraise; cherusse and betsies. 


...Petticoat of worked muslin...Spencer of dark blue cloth, edged with scarlet. Ruff of white lace round the neck. Plain muslin handkerchief. York tan gloves.

March 1794, Gallery of Fashion. Morning dress

Lady Elgin wearing a fraise over a chemisette, 1804, by François Gérard

Countess Therese Czernin (1798-1896), drawn in 1819

Walking Dress: Ladies' Monthly Museum, August 1815:
Robe of Jaconet Muslin or Fine Cambric, made high in the neck; the back and sleeves made very full; a double Frill of worked muslin round the neck; bottom of the robe to correspond”

Christoffer Wilhelm Eckersberg (2 January 1783 – 22 July 1853)
Portrait of Anna Maria Magnani
Oil on canvas, 1814 31 × 22 cm
The Hirschsprung Collection, Art museum, Copenhagen, Denmark

Fiche-guimpe, 1810
My Sewing Experiments

This was a neck ruff that I taught for a Regency Neck Ruff workshop at Jane Austen Festival Australia in April 2012. I used a sturdy cotton and did not teach whip stitch gathering as shown in examples below because we only had a short time to teach the fundamentals and get everyone sewing. In 2015 I'm hoping to teach a more involved workshop with whipstitch gathering and fine muslin.

Extant Examples

Since this workshop I have found more extant examples to base my work on. There is a neck frill documented in Nancy Bradfield's Costume in Detail, page 83.

National Trust Inventory Number 1350308

This one has a linen centre and a tiny bobbin lace decoration, ‘typical of the trimming laces of the very early19th Century’ The Lace Mentor. Found at


Jeanne said...

I am in the U.S. and wish your were here. Your ideas and advice is great and you seem to have so much fun. I miss re-enacting.
Your very luck if your husband/mate will participate. Mine will not.
Keep writing and sending those pictures!

Aylwen Gardiner-Garden said...

Thank you, its my pleasure to share my journey with you and I feel so lucky to be able to share this with my husband and children. I know not everyone gets to do this, so keep up your own interest - I'd love to watch your journey as well :)

ZipZip said...

I like the first experiment in the neck ruff department and will look forward to seeing further experiments.

I was interested in the ruff too, as part of a spencer ensemble, and thought to do something similar with's good to see it done already.

Very best,

Natalie in KY

Time Traveling in Costume said...

Awesome! I have to make something like this in the next couple weeks for my Regency ghost costume and need a chemisette and ruff to cover as much skin as possible.

Aylwen Gardiner-Garden said...

I've nearly finished another neck ruff - four layers and wider, with a different gathering technique. Because its hand sewn its taking longer to hem all the edges, but I really like it :)

Aylwen Gardiner-Garden said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aylwen Gardiner-Garden said...

I've just made another ruff, this time the fabric was doubled over instead of hemmed along each edge. Whilst it was faster to make it was thick in the center when gathered.

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