Regency Open Robe Refitting

Dec 21, 2011 14 comments

I like fixing things, although you'd think I'd just do them right the first time, lol.

Last year I made an emerald green open robe, from the infamous Janet Arnold pattern.  It was a mess - the back was too wide, the bodice straps too high, the shoulders pulled, the sleeves were too tight and the sleeve heads too shallow.  UGH.  I also thought I'd be Christmassy and face the thing in red bias tape, BLAH!

The first version - eeeeew.  Pulling and weirdness and blah
The robe was a disaster, but I wore it, uncomfortably.  I didn't want to toss it completely away, or cannibalize it, so after the Regency gown remodel, I thought I could do the same to the robe.

I removed the sleeves completely, as well as the front bodice straps, and released the shoulder straps, resetting them at a sharper angle.

New back details - re-set straps, short sleeves, curvy strappy bits, and buttons
The red bias facing couldn't come off, due to extensive embroidery I'd put over the top, so I folded it back.

The sleeves were the real challenge - I had a little bit of scrap fabric left over, so I cut short sleeves intended to scallop slightly up to a point.  I set them the 18th century way, to make sure they would indeed fit, with top stitching by hand over the shoulder strap.

New sleeves, complete with button and tassel - I totally stole this idea from Maggie
The bodice straps turned into ones inspired by Jen Thompson's open robe, and a couple fashion plates.  'Course, right near the end of the refit, I ran out of emerald green thread, so finished the embroidery in a slightly different green...which, of course, shows on the straps.  I figure nobody'll notice in a dark room.

A few buttons scavenged from the original sleeves, and a couple tassels later, the thing is done and actually fits now, yay!

Red Pemberlies, black ribbon rosettes and tassel shoe clips.
I'm wearing it tonight, to a historically themed Christmas party, along with red Pemberlies with black rosettes and tassels, and a red toque-beret-thing I, erm, haven't made yet.


  1. Love it, looks so much prettier and more comfy:)

  2. Love the embroidery on it...simple, but very effective. Yes, the robe looks much more comfortable now. Well done!

  3. Very nice! I can't wait to see pics of you wearing it.

  4. Brilliant! I love all the little buttons and tassels, and how the waist strap extends into the back. Can't wait to see photos from your party!

  5. It looks wonderful! I love green and especially neat embroidery on gowns. Like you said, the different shade of green shouldn't stand out too much, but it does give you an excuse to come back to it even later. ;)

    Have fun!

  6. I love the embroidery! And the tassels! How lovely!

  7. I love the embroidery. It's absolutely fabulous! And while I think the red Pemberlies will look great and Christmassy, I can't even imagine it being bound with red, it looks perfect the way it is!


  8. Thank you! I made a little red beret with some feathers to go with, as well. I'll get some pics tonight and post them soon. I'm glad the robe passes the test, even with the off-color embroidery, lol

  9. Very pretty! I love all that embroidery - did you do it by hand or machine?

  10. Looks fabulous! I love the embroidery!

  11. Thank you so very much. The embroidery on it is done with a decorative stitch on my machine. Originally I used it to keep the shoulder pleats down, but it then sortof "crept" all over the place, to the straps, to the sleeves, lol. It's kindof just a fun costume, not really period accurate or anything - the fabric, in fact, is this weird green-shot-black stretch taffeta stuff.

  12. What a beautiful Christmas Ensemble! It looks gorgeous!


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