Tuesday 29 August 2017

#CoBloWriMo 29: Ensemble - The 1802-ish navy blue sleeveless dress and red sleeveless bodice

On August 13th, me & my sister went to Slavkov u Brna, aka Austerlitz, for a series of short talks about Empire fashions held in the chateau there (we overslept, and missed church and the first talk :P - but it was some sort of general introduction so I don't think I missed too much, although it probably would have been interesting for my sister.) So I finally met my namesake and Justyna, who had two of the talks - well, I'd actually met Justyna before, at my first Jane Austen ball in Brno, but that was before I knew who she was. :D Her talk, on outerwear and sportswear, was one I was most looking forward to - and it did provide exactly the sort of complete overview I had been missing.

I also wore my Directoire/Empire clothes (calling things based on a 1797 fashion plate and an 1802 portrait "Regency" is too much of a stretch, although I'm keeping it in the tags for simplicity's sake). And we used the historical backdrop of the baroque Slavkov chateau and the impressive classicist church just underneath it for a sort of photoshoot.

The church was built in 1786-89, so it's perfect for my preferred era.

Conclusion: Slavkov is awesome photoshoot backdrop, close to Brno, easy to reach, with family in a village nearby so it can be paired with a visit. It's awesome photoshoot backdrop if you can manage the photoshoot without visitors to the chateau getting in the way, that is...

Taking the photos in the entrance hall may not have been the best of ideas, but that bench was too good to pass up.

The dress is a sleeveless drop-front, which was a mistake. After I made it - which is the usual order of things, isn't it? - I realised all the depictions of sleeveless dresses I'm aware of are drawstring. Also, while drop-front dresses are definitely easier to get into on your own than back-closing ones (I even avoid back zippers, after all!), it's still a bit more bother than a drawstring would probably be.

And I need to rework the arrangement of the chain-loops in the back so that my ties do sit where I want them to sit.

(It's less obvious in this photo than some of those we took at the church, but: the ties currently cut across my pleating in the back because I don't yet have some strategic loops in the raised bodice back.)

Still, dressing for this occasion was less of a bother than usual, because I wore my transitional wrap bra / jumps rather than my (back-lacing, hah) stays.

Also, it's a lot easier now that I was inspired by the Dreamstress' post on bodkins and got myself some large blunt needles to help with my laces and ties.

We took some of the photos in the ladies' restrooms. Because:

The dress is lightweight cotton sateen, this one I bought years ago in the beginnings of this blog. It's more matte than shiny, although it does have a slight sheen to it just thanks to the weave.

Apparently, back then I wanted to overdye it and use it as lining. I'm very glad I changed my mind.

I hereby formally request admission to the Regency Ladies' Wedgie Society.

(You can see here what I meant about the ties not sitting where I want them to.)

For my hairstyle, I did a French braid held up with a haircomb, inspired by this tutorial - without any of the bells and whistles, though, because I knew I'd wear the fichu en marmotte on top of it anyway.

I even managed a curtsey; but that was the last photo before I broke out laughing and could not seriously pose anymore.

I originally made the skirt too narrow (most of the dress was made in a big hurry before an event, and it was my first take on "Regency", made without a pattern of course because that's apparently how I roll). Later, I added narrowly trapezoidal side panels, and therefore also moved more fullness to the back part. That took care of it. It's still on the narrow side, but I think these photos prove it's got a good shape on me.

The church is a super-nice backdrop.

That was wind billowing my skirt, and blowing my headscarf to the front so I had to hold it.


  1. I really like it, Hana! And the fabric is so pretty - good thing you didn't dye it. Very nice job.

    1. Thank you. Yes, aside from quibbles concerning having been stupid about the construction, I'm very happy with this dress - the fabric looks good, and behaves well, too - it was a very lucky find those seven years ago. Very lightweight yet densely woven - not something one finds easily these days!

    2. P.S. I actually wore it to church this Easter, and that probably won't be the last time, that's how happy I am with this dress. ;-)

  2. Lovely blog you have heree