A Regency Gown Remodel

When I was in Tennessee, Maggie gave me one of her Regency gowns, to wear to tea…and then gave me the gown altogether.  *bliss!*

Maggie and me at Tea.  This is the gown as original, with those beautiful long sleeves that were unfortunately too tight.

I adore this dress, but it needed a little tweak – the sleeves, the bane of every seamstress, were too tight.  It’s a super-common problem – tight sleeves, and shallow sleeve heads that pull at the shoulders – but luckily one that is very easy to fix.

I had to sacrifice the bottom half of the sleeves to generate fabric for the alteration, but I was able to open the under-arm seam and add in a couple inches.

Before fitting the sleeve over the shoulder

I set the sleeves the 18th century way, by stitching the underarm, then fitting the sleeve cap up over the shoulder of my dress form, and top stitching into place.  If that sleeve fits Franken-Lily’s arms, it will fit mine, and thank goodness for arm-ed dress forms.

Shortened sleeves, quick fix.

I also did a little stabilizing on some of the seams of the bodice that were beginning to pull out – oh the joys of loose-weave fabrics – but that was all that had to be done.

And voila! a couple quick fixes, and a “new” Regency gown. 🙂


  • E. Waterman

    December 9, 2011 at 4:23 AM

    oh hooray! im so happy it was able to be saved and wearable! it looks very lovely with the shorter sleeves! i cant wait to see what the overrobe looks like when that, too, is finished!

  • Anne Elizabeth

    December 9, 2011 at 10:22 AM

    How lovely and generous of Miss Waterman! The gown looks like an original, such a good choice of fabric! You did a good job of remodeling it. You two are lucky that you are so similar in size that you can swap outfits.

    I have two friends whom I would love to lend some dresses, but they have much wider shoulers and bigger ribcages than me, not to mention the cup sizes… So more extra sewing, then. :-/


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