Sunday, 20 August 2017

Wingeo Regency Era Pelisse & Spencer WN255

Pattern: Wingeo (WN255) "1795 -1825 Regency Era Pelisse & Spencer"
Fabric: Faux silk moire, rayon, in a sea-green color. The dress is 100% cotton with matching bands of the moire on the hem.
Construction: Hand stitched. Spencer lining is assembled, then used as a "foundation" for the jacket to be built upon.
Available on Etsy HERE
Measurements: *as taken on the dress form shown
Chest - 45"
Underbust: 41"
Cup Size - Large C to DD
Hem - 45" from underbust at front
Upper Arm - 14" circumference

~The Pattern - WN255~
There are only a few flaws, if you could call them that, which you should note when getting into this pattern. Firstly, the sizing:

I'm not sure if the chest measurement given on the pattern is actually a reference to the underbust measurements instead. For instance, I cut my pieces for the largest size available, chest 42". My resulting Spencer jacket has a 41" underbust and a 45" chest. I did follow the cut lines for a large bust (larger cup size), so that certainly added, but even if I hadn't I think the resulting chest would have been bigger than 42". In short, be careful of the sizing and do a mockup first. If you cut for a larger cup size, you will be increasing the overall bust measurement greatly.

Also, the bust rides high on this pattern. Meaning, if you aren't wearing stays or a period accurate brassier to push your breasts up, you will likely find fitting this pattern to be frustrating.

This pattern comes in rather wide size ranges, not minute lines for each shift in size, so doing a muslin mockup first will be necessary, especially if you wish to make changes to the back.

Second, the pieces don't match up flush:

~Sleeves~Longer than normal sleeves were stylish during the regency, since having the cuffs at the knuckles and the rest of the sleeve a bit bunched up along the arm was very fashionable. Luckily, the sleeves on this pattern do that perfectly, and the sleeve overall has a period accurate shape (without the high top and super low underarm that so many modern costumes have). The only alteration I made to the sleeves was to push back the position of the wrist, so the "trumpet" flair at the cuff was a bit longer. The overall length of the sleeve was unaltered.

The sleeve is one-piece, with the seam positioned at the side-back seam. This may feel counter-intuitive at first, since the shape of the sleeve makes you feel like the seam should be toward the front, but don't be I was before I had to take them out and put them in the right way. Ugh =/

The cuffs, as with the all the edge of this jacket, are done by hand in the lepoint a rebarttre sous la main style. Fancy sounding, right? It's just a mix of a running stitch and a whipstitch. You run through the outside, then whip over the lining on the other side. The English translation is "point to the fold under the hand", which isn't much more helpful or brief, LOL.

(above) See the top stitching of the shoulder seam. It goes through all layers, attaching the outer fabric to the lining.

The buttons and the holes are all done by hand. The buttonholes are round on the outer edge (visible) and bar-tacked on the leading edge (under the buttons). The buttons are rounds of fabric wrapped over coconut shell buttons I already had, and which serve very well as blank rounds. The underside is heavily whipped over to suppress the raw edges. I then made a strong thread loop to serve as the shank.

I recommend placing hooks and eyes on the under-bust band as well as the button, just so the button and hole there is not bearing all the stress of the garment (I am a fan of spencers and other regency garments being worn tight around the under-bust, as they were intended. A loose fitting Spencer looks terrible because it tents the wearer's shape. Since shape in the Regency is about the high waist and bust, you do yourself a disservice if you don't emphasize those two locations ;)

~The Dress~
A very simple cotton gown with long fitted sleeves and a gathered neckline. Fitting and closure are done at the center back with drawstring channels at the neckline and waist (under-bust). I had though to make this dress sleeveless, as it was just intended to be a compliment to the Spencer, but then the wearer wouldn't have been able to take the Spencer off at any point without changing, so I added sleeves. It's my own drafting, no particular pattern used.

Like the spencer, this dress is cut for a large cup size. It can be worn with smaller cup sizes, of course, but doing so would require the neckline to be cinched tighter, which pushes it higher. So...large cup sizes, normal low neckline; smaller cup sizes, higher neckline.

Hand stitching all around, including the fabric bands on the hem. You can see the tiny points of the slip-stitching below


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