All posts tagged: Empire

1795-1800 muslin dress thedreamstress.com

A mental meh and a very-end-of-the-18th-century muslin gown

I was really excited about my trip to Australia, and an opportunity/excuse to make a new ca. 1800 dress. I’ve done very little historical sewing since last Costume College, and I’m definitely missing it.  Regency has been on my sewing wishlist for quite a while.  I had a length of muslin I found at an op-shop that was just asking to be a simple almost-white dress. Should be perfect! Unfortunately I’m pretty meh about the result. I’m not sure if it’s really the dress, or simply in my brain. I’m currently going through a really hard patch as a costumer and historical sewer.  Mentally, I need a certain amount of time to focus on a project in order to really do a good job.  And I also need to keep in practice in order to not only to keep growing as a historical sewer, but to just stay at the levels of sewing that I’ve achieved in the past. And for the last few years I just haven’t managed to make that time.  Between starting …

The quest for Regency uplift: J.S. Bernhardt’s 1810 Stays, View C

I love ‘Regency’ and Empire fashions: the high waisted silhouette of the 1790s to the late 1810s. However, my body does not.  I’ve got small, firm, low-set breasts, very sloping shoulders, a relatively large square ribcage, and scoliosis.  It’s a natural fit for 1910s, but not ideal for ca. 1800.  Most of the bust supporting undergarments (whether they are stays, long or short, or jumps) of that 25-year span that I have made or tried on haven’t really worked for me.  Some are literally painful: twisting my already twisted spine into unhappy positions, or trying to use my shoulders to yank my very-resistant-to-upwards-yanking bust up, and thus cutting into my shoulders.  Others are just disappointing: flattening my bust into total nonexistence, or gaping sadly over each cup.  Some seem OK at first, and then get progressively less comfortable over hours of wear. I’ve felt like a total costuming failure with all my attempts at making Regency/Empire stays.  Some have been so bad I haven’t even been able to make myself blog them.  Some of it …

Rate the Dress: Madame Houbigant in all-white

Last week’s very vividly green 1840s dress sparked a lively discussion over whether it was actually poison-green (i.e. arsenic green) or just poison-green coloured.  Deadly or not, most of you liked the brilliant hue, and while not everyone was keen on the ruffles and ties and overall silhouette, it still came in at a rather nice 8.5 out of 10. Whew!  We’d been on such a bad streak, nice to have a good score again.  Will this week’s choice revert back to the poor scores, or set us on another winning streak? This week let’s look at Madame Houbigant, wife of perfumer Jean-François Houbigant.  Her feather-trimmed cap, heavy satin over-robe, lace chemisette and Kashmiri shawl provide a more mature take on the ubiquitous all-white ensemble of Regency and Empire fashion. Nicole Adéläide Deschamps was the daughter of a perfumer herself, and her husband entered the trade by apprenticing under her father in law, and then founding his own business.  After rising in prominence under the ancient regime, and surviving the revolution, Houbigant Parfum went on …