All posts tagged: Regency

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 …

A quick guide to corset & stay styles from 1750 to 1850

In last week’s (well, almost week before lasts at this point!) Five for Friday post, when I discussed transitional stays, and succumbing to the temptation to make ‘reenactor style’ Regency stays (which, you will be pleased to hear, I have not!), I didn’t make it clear what either was.  So naturally, people asked! I was going to just write about transitional stays and reenactor stays, but how can you write about a transition if you don’t show what something is transitioning from, and towards?  And how can I show something is a reenactorism if I don’t show what the reality was?  I realised that both needed more background, and deserved complete posts. So, here is the slightly longer, more complicated, post with a history of supportive undergarments (i.e. stays and corsets – read this post for the difference between the two) from 1750 to 1850.  This is intended as a very general introduction to the way the types of supportive undergarments period, rather than an in-depth exploration.  One could easily write a full blog post about the …

Experiments in ca. 1800 petticoat making

A part of my Jane-Austen sewing-a-thon* I decided it was finally time I made a proper set of Regency petticoats, and stopped just using my 1910s petticoats, pulled up to the underbust and pinned in place! The first dress that needed a petticoat was the ca. 1800 Madame Recamier gown.  It’s sheer, so it definitely needs a petticoat.  It’s also flat fronted, so the petticoat can’t have any front gathers, or it won’t sit smoothly over it.  The Madame Recamier gown is based on the ca 1800 bib-front dress in Janet Arnold, and the skirt panels are rectangles – no angles at all. I went looking for extant examples, period mentions, and period images, and quickly ran into a problem.  There aren’t many of any of those. There is this 1799 caricature, which mostly shows drawers worn without petticoats, though the woman having her stockings pinned up appears to be holding up a pink petticoat with no bodice, and the woman at the far right appears to be wearing a blue un-bodiced petticoat.  Neither tells us much …