Saturday, January 9, 2010

More about the Red Gown

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Susan reports:

While searching through my stash of photos from Colonial Williamsburg, I found that I, too, had taken pictures of the early 19th. American gown (Regency-style in England, Republican-style in the U.S.) that Loretta wrote about earlier this week. We decided no one would complain about a few more details, so here they are.

The first shows the gown full length, held by its maker, CW mantua-maker Janea Whitacre. The next shows the lower hem, and also the slight train of the longer back hem. Next is a detail of the full, puffed sleeve, and finally, a detail of the reverse of the whitework embroidery.

One of the things that fascinates me about recreating an actual historical gown like this is that the manuta-makers copy every aspect of the original. If you look closely at the picture of the from hem, you can see that there's a deep tuck running parallel to the bottom strip of embroidery. While no one knows for sure, it's a good guess that the gown was shortened for the wearer in this way after the embroidery had been done, and necessity became a design feature.


nightsmusic said...

Looking at the pictures, two things strike me.

1) The embroidery on the inside is almost as gorgeous as the outside, and

B) It's interesting that the tuck doesn't run across the front panel of the embroidery. Do you see what I mean? The embroidery that runs from neck to hem. I wonder if the gown hung lower there when worn or if it ended up straight across the front on the dress.

Just gorgeous.

Isabella Bradford/Susan Holloway Scott said...

Theo, I noticed that about the tuck, too. It's actually more of a dart, deeper at the side seams and narrowing to the front. I don't have an answer why, though. Maybe the wearer just put up with the gown being longer for that little big in the front? Or maybe the weight of the embroidery tugged it down all around?

But yes, the embroidery really is magnificent. There's a whole lot of talent and experience in all those even white stitches!

Diana said...

This dress is too, too amazing. I never dreamed regency dresses could be red. Thank you for telling us about this blog, Loretta, it's great.

Marg said...

Just gorgeous, and it seems entirely possible! Sometimes you read descriptions of dresses that just don't seem as though they could possibly be real.

Vanessa Kelly said...

I really think that's one of the prettiest Regency, er, Republican-style dresses I've ever seen. And now I know the proper term for it, too!

LorettaChase said...

Diana, thank you for coming by to discover us. I keep learning new things about my chosen time period, too, but now I get to share the news with all of you. Vanessa, it's properly Republican as a dress worn in the U.S., but the styles were coming from Regency England (and/or France, which was Napoleonic or whatever, depending on the year). I always wondered about the choices regarding names of eras. Victorian seems to be Victorian in the U.S. or England, even though she wasn't our queen--and some people get mad at me for referring to 1821, say, as Regency era, but for some reason they're OK with calling 1805 Regency. And of course, we've all got books & experts to back us up. "g" Just goes to show how not simple history can be.

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