Friday, January 16, 2015

Regency Bodiced Petticoat

Getting ready to attend a Regency ball with a certain dear sister.  I've already made my chemise and have a corset in the works.  To save time (in construction and dressing), I'm attempting an all-in-one boned-bodice petticoat for Sis.  Then it's on to the frocks...

The bodice pattern used is a modified version of the Simplicity 4055 bodice (view A).  I converted the 4-piece back into a 2-piece by joining the back and side-back pieces, and taking up the excess material at the waist with a dart; the neckline was also raised to suit the style preference of the intended wearer, and the front darts, side seams, and shoulder seams were all custom-fitted.

Following the bodiced petticoat instructions on, I cut out a version of the bodice with the neckline 1" lower, an expanded center front (1" added at the top, by angling the front bodice piece on the center front fold before cutting), and an extra 2.5" length.

Drafting a bodiced petticoat from a Regency bodice toile.
Fitted bodice toile and longer petticoat bodice
Here's where my method diverged.  Instead of using bias tape to make a casing for the front drawstring, I decided to make a channel between the lining and outer layers.  To do this, I joined the front and back pieces at the side seams for each of the two layers.  After pressing the seams to the back, I joined the lining and outer layers along the neck, center back and under-arm edges (leaving the shoulder seams and waist open). Pressed, and then top-stitched along the front neckline, 1/2" from the edge to form the channel.

Assembling the petticoat bodice.
Joined side seams
At the center front, two eyelets were made in the channel, and the twill tape fed through.  The ends were secured at the open shoulder.  The back shoulder seam allowances were pressed in, and the front and back joined with top-stitching.

Petticoat bodice upper drawstring.
Threading the drawstring
Drawstring casing along upper bodice.
Drawstring in casing, shoulder to center front.
Petticoat bodice shoulder seam.
Shoulder Seam
The darts were then stitched through both layers, and pressed to the outside.
Bodice for petticoat.
Almost-completed bodice
For the skirt of the petticoat, I cut a 42" by 84" rectangle of cotton, joined it into a tube (leaving a 10" placket at the top) and put a 2" hem at the bottom.  I finished the raw edge of the placket opening, and gathered the upper edge with a running stitch. Per the originals dresses and petticoats I've seen, I decided to concentrate the gathers towards the back of the skirt.  In this case, I put the back half of the gathered skirt into the back quarter of the waistband. The raw top edge was encased in a waistband, the top of which was left open (it will eventually enclose the raw lower edge of the bodice).
Skirt for Regency bodiced petticoat.
Skirt on outer layer of waistband.
At this point, I basted the waistband to the lower edge of the bodice and had Sis try it on.  As hoped, things fit pretty well, especially with the drawstring to snug up the neckline.  I increased the overlap at back closure slightly (less than 1/2") to ensure a close fit.  With the added bodice length, the waistband fell a bit low, so I decided to move it up, and marked the desired lower-bound on the bodice.  The distribution of the skirt gathers were a good call: there's plenty of room for movement, and the line is very elegant.  I'll probably use a similar proportion on the dresses' skirts.

Fitting accomplished, I removed the basting stitches, and re-attached the waistband along the new marked lower bodice boundary, and trimmed the excess bodice length; the back waistband "lining" was then folded over the the raw edges of the bodice, concealing it within the waistband.  I then added 3 buttons to secure the back.  Featherlight boning was basted over the front darts.
Trimming the bodice.
Trimming the excess bodice length.
Bodiced petticoat waistband.
Final waistband placement.
Finishing the bodice placket.
Waistband lining pinned in place, raw edge of bodice overlap folded to inside.
Buttons down the back of the petticoat bodice.
Back buttons
Boning on front of bodiced petticoat.
Front bodice with applied boning.
Regency or Empire style boned bodice petticoat.
Finished petticoat.

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