Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Regency Shift

Sooo...back in February I was looking for something to work on and while going through my fabrics, found some yardage of combed cotton lawn I had ordered during the fall. I had ordered it from Dharma Trading Co. with the intent of using it for some Edwardian underpinnings. Then I put together my Regency drop front dress.

While I do have a Regency shift already, I was the first one I made from cotton/poly broadcloth and the entire thing is machine sewn. As a result, it is very bulky, not breathable, and very stiff. The neckline is also cut very high and sometimes peeks out from my dresses. 

Originally I had used Sense & Sensibility's Regency Underthings Pattern, but I opted for the Laughing Moon Ladies' Regency and Romantic Era Corset, which includes pattern pieces for a shift.

LM #115
As I cut out pattern and fabric pieces, everything is pretty much the same in that there is a large front and back piece, shoulder piece, sleeve piece, and underarm gusset. I did some research into the LM pattern though and one of the things I noticed were a lot of people had issues with the back running a little high. To see how the shift would work out, I made a "half" mock-up of just the upper portion to check for for fit and any additional alterations that might be needed.

Just like the reviews, the back did run high. To help adjust this, I added 2" to the back of the shoulder strap pieces, and lowered the top edge the same amount to accommodate the change.

2" extension to the shoulder strap
Everything else I left as is.

Then the fun part began. After cutting out the fabric, I sewed the major seams together using the sewing machine - sides, shoulders, initial attachment of the underarm gussets, etc. The next task was to flat fell all the seams. On my original shift, I did this using the machine, again, resulting in a lot of bulk. However, I opted to do this by hand this time around.

I apologize for not having too many in progress photos, but basically it was a lot of the same thing over and over again; clipping seams, folding them over, then sewing the material down. I do have this picture though from when I was attaching the underarm gussets.
Add caption
The nice thing about putting the shift together though was I decided to pull out my good, 100% cotton thread for the task. I received 3 spools for Christmas one year and this is the first time I've used it. Definitely a big difference from using poly thread as it does tangle more easily, but the finished garment looks great!
Finished flat felled seams
All the seams are well put together and the fabric weight is a huge difference. Due to the ahem - sheerness of the shift, photos of the shift on myself will have to wait until the shift is completed.

I am super proud of the fact that probably 80% of this garment is hand stitched though. Hand work is always something that tries my patience, and the amount required on the shift required HOURS of it. I think I watched a season and a half of Supernatural while doing all of it.
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Pattern: Laughing Moon #115 Ladies' Regency and Romantic Era Corset

Alterations: Back neckline edge lowered

Materials: Combed cotton lawn

Notions: Cotton thread, thin poly ribbon for neckline drawstring

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