Sunday, February 3, 2013

An evening of cards and merriment - 1790s Gown

Yesterday evening I attended a Regency Card Party at the lovely Jenny Rose's house, and it was the perfect excuse to finish the 1797 gown which I had started over a year ago. 

The gown is made of white cotton voile and a pale yellow vintage silk organza sari with masses of embroidery and beading.  The cross-front overgown, layered over the separate silk petticoat, is trimmed with silk ribbon and has silk sleeves lined with the cotton voile.  The bodice is lined with white linen and pins shut.  I wore this gown without a corset or any extra support garment, just a sleeveless shift under the petticoat (which is kept up at the under-bust by little inch-wide straps) and gown.  Everything stayed in place and I was super comfortable all evening, which is sometimes the important part.

I'm still not entirely sure how I feel about 1790s fashions... I really love the crazy mish-mash of styles often seen in fashion plates and how ridiculous and over the top it all can be, but wearing it is something else entirely.  Maybe it's because I'm used to much more fitted bodices or at least the slim lines of later regency styles, but I felt a little bit like a marshmallow in this gown.  Puffy gathers all around the body don't really do much for one's figure.

I've said it in the past and I'll say it again and again:  Jenny Rose is the ultimate hostess, and her parties are an absolute delight.  Her seriously impressive collection of candelabras was put to very good use, lighting everything with delicate candlelight.  We nibbled on period appropriate hors d'oevres (my favorite was the syllabub, why it's not wildly popular nowadays is something I cannot comprehend.  Syllabub is like magic in dessert form.) and enjoyed a wide array of beverages, both alcoholic and not.

And of course we played cards!  I didn't try my hand at whist, but had a really good time playing Speculation.  It was a close game, and in spite of not ultimately winning, the aces were very good to me that night.  ;)

(all photos courtesy of Nicole)