Jan 5, 2012

The blue killerton dress [part 1]

Before I post my new research on this gown, here is my research from 2009 that I posted in my Live Journal.

Dec. 29th, 2009 at 7:54 PM


For some time I've been planning this dress, and over time have collected enough close-up images both from Killerton House and from Gwendolyn Basala, who saw the dress at Killerton House long enough to take a few sketches that she has shared with me. You can see her version of this gorgeous dress at www.gwendolynbasala.com/portfolio/1820_Ball-Gown.html [dead link]
For a long time I've hesitated as the hem was missing in the photo that was in my copy of The Art of Dress.
Surely with such decoration up top there must have been an elaborate hem? I still can't believe the discrepancy in colour from the photo below to my new photos.
The answer: yes, it is elaborate, it is gorgeous, and I have a picture at last! I may even do the skirt first, as the bodice looks like taking me a long time, and I'm bursting to share this hem with you!


koshka_the_cat recommended this lace for another regency project of mine and I think it will be perfect with the sleeves:


Dress Research:
Colour: The dress is blue, not the purple shown in all the pictures.

Skirt Hem: The hem is padded with wool wadding. Decoration is shown here.



The front bodice is decorated with a piped design that I call roleaux. Please correct me if I'm wrong. I'd love to work out a simple way to make and apply this decoration. At the moment I'm looking at a two-part method of rolling the bias and whipping it closed, and then attaching it to the bodice.


On closer up viewing, I believe the two step process to be the way it was originally done. How impatient we get in these days of machinery! This image shows where the stitching is coming apart in the piping.


The front bodice is darted, as shown here:



I've just spent the afternoon calculating yardages and drawing up sleeve patterns and hem templates. This will be a big job - the piping alone will be 22m - just over 834". I'm really tempted to use my sewing machine for this!

Fabric Needed: 6 yards
Piping: 1.25 yds using the method shown at pir8.freeservers.com/quilting/CBT/ with the left over used to make the roleaux for the bodice decoration.
Skirt: 3 yards assuming 100" round and my fabric is 44" wide, plus I have a personal preference to dupion slubs running vertically.
Bodice & Sleeves: not sure yet, but may get 1 3/4 yards to do these, the triangles and the buttons, plus spare in case of emergencies. After this any left will be used for bonnet and reticule.


I've found some 44" wide silk dupion that looks close, as close as I'll get considering I haven't had a chance to see the dress in person and am relying on other people's photos. I'd prefer fabric without the slubs but can't find anything else close in colour. The biggest questions for me now is "will this colour look ok on me?", and what colour spencer to wear with it? I don't think my brown camel spencer will suit. This dress will be suitable to wear for the National Jane Austen Festival.

Specifications:
Sleeves: 214" piping, 40" x 2.5" wide lace. I'll make a mock-up sleeve before I scan the pattern. I'm using Jean Hunnisett's book as a guide for the sleeve.
Neckline: 50" trim, self-piped on both sides, plaited. 100" of piping
Hem: approx. 40 triangles (20 in each row), 520" piping around all sides.
Buttons: 1/2" discs, still to count.
Bodice Trim: Will try using 1/2" wide bias, rolled and whip stitched to see if it is the same size as in my
pictures.

Pattern:
I plan to use a simple rectangular-ish outline for the bodice piece - there are darts at the bottom of the bust allowing for the slight gathering at the neckline. The darts need to be done before I start the embroidery.

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