1790s Musings and Inspirations

I’m back to square one with what to wear to Maggie’s wedding in October.  (Nevermind my own wedding, I’ve got that one figured out, haha)  My ORANGE! sari dress just…no, so now I’m bimbling around back where I’m more comfortable – the 1790s.

Is it totally wrong to wear a dark color to a Regency wedding?  I’m too old for typical Regency white (not my style anyway), and have been partial to black, olive green, purple, and chocolate brown lately.  Silk velvet has my attention, too…

Bah, I can’t even sew right now! (buried sewing machine, new sewing room in utter chaos, flying monkeys stole my scissors…)  …. but here’s some inspo…

chemise a plis (chemise with pleats) – November 1792 Journal des Luxus und der Moden
Mme Jean-François Heurtier, née Marie-Victoire Jobbé, vers 1790
Dress, Britain, 1795-1800. National Museums of Scotland.
Frances Villiers, Countess of Jersey by Thomas Beach (auctioned by Sotheby’s)
Vigee-Lebrun self-portrait
Jean-Baptiste Jacques Augustin 1792
Antoine Vestier, Portrait of Mademoiselle Rouillé, three-quarter-length, at the pianoforte
1794 James Earl (American artist, 1761-1796) Mrs. John Rogers (Elizabeth Rodman)
Marie Louise Elisabeth Vigée Le Brun. Marie-Louise of Bourbon-Sicily. 1790.
Undated (but probably 1792) by Ann Frankland Lewis

I happily already have a pattern for a chemise style 1790s gown, something I fiddled with last Fall, with a mockup made out of the-worst-poly-taffeta-ever.  I’ve been meaning to make it up for real-real in something lovely…perhaps this shall be it!


  • Mistress of Disguise

    May 24, 2013 at 11:15 PM

    I think dark colours are perfectly acceptable at a wedding. 🙂 I'm partial to Mrs. John Rogers up there…still some of the structure of the earlier 18thC, but some hints of the Regency style to come, as well.

    Also, I love the word bimble. I'm totally stealing it.

  • DLM

    May 25, 2013 at 2:05 AM

    White would be wildly inappropriate at a typical bride-wearing-white modern Western affair, but it's not clear that's the event. Black is generally a color for mourning, so that's also inappropriate in the same context and a few others as well. Dark colors are fine, and deep jewel or tapestry tones are lovely!

  • Allison

    May 25, 2013 at 4:09 AM

    The wedding is in October, so a color in the darker tones typically worn in the autumn would be perfectly appropriate. I would agree about the white being an unlikely choice. Even though this is a period wedding, there are some modern sensibilities that are hard to overlook, regardless of how they would have been perceived during the 18th or early 19th century. I would also agree about the black. Women may wear a little black dress to a wedding nowadays, but a voluminous black dress is likely to convey mourning.

  • Geekyfood

    May 25, 2013 at 6:43 AM

    I think most colors would work for a wedding! I've worn navy at weddings and my bridesmaids will be wearing navy at my wedding. Black may be a color some people might find inappropriate, depending on how traditional they are. Even so, the other darker colors would be perfectly suitable, I should think.
    If it's a wedding in fall, most jewel tones would look lovely! I love those colors and how I look in them, so I may be biased. 😉

  • Danielle Grguric

    May 25, 2013 at 7:19 AM

    When it comes to colours it may be useful to ask what faith the marriage will be occurring under. Many people assume black is a mourning colour, but that is not always the case. Black was an expensive dye colour (for the good quality colour fast variety, most faded rapidly as the technology was not available until a lot later with chemical dyes and even then a lot of them would eat through the fabric creating little holes) and was used as an expensive bridal colour. There are multiple original wedding dresses in black from Lutheran brides and bridal parties.

  • Ash

    May 25, 2013 at 9:50 PM

    Since it's a wedding rather than a re-enactment event, I think the only real concern is "Will the bride mind?" – and, well, you could ask her.

    Black's probably too funereal for a modern wedding no matter what the theme, but otherwise I'd ask what colours she and her partner/the bridesmaids/the families are going to be wearing, so you don't match them too closely

  • AuntieNan

    May 27, 2013 at 8:35 PM

    Seeing how marvelous you look in bottle green, I think that'd be a slam dunk! The brown stripe with a sheer silky tucker and cuffs–very feminine! Or the smoky blues! Sounds grand,
    Nancy N

  • Unknown

    May 28, 2013 at 8:12 PM

    I vote black silk velvet in the pattern you previously created.

    This would be a great opportunity to perfect the fit of a style you already know and love. Making small tweaks and improvements to an existing pattern will save time, minimize stress, and make the overall project a more enjoyable experience.
    Black was the first color you listed as being partial to, and it is a beautiful, historically appropriate choice.
    It will also make any jewelry or bling you wear really stand out and sparkle.
    Black silk velvet would have a softness drape that will catch the light in a way that is not funereal, and there is no worry of conflicting with the wedding colors. It would be stunning with all the gathers and pleats to show off the luxurious soft texture.
    And a whisper soft, sheer white silk Fichu to finish it all off.

    WORK IT OUT, pretty lady!!

    *Just remember to cut all those pattern pieces with the velvet nap going the same way…because…a-hem…I've NEVER done that before!
    *looks around with guilt*

    Go with your gut…choose whatever makes you happy and excited to make the dress 🙂

  • Vincent Briggs

    May 28, 2013 at 9:23 PM

    I don't think there's anything wrong with wearing dark colours to a wedding, or wearing slightly earlier styles to a regency event.
    All of the gathered front garments you posted here are full gowns, but gathered front jackets are also an option. The KCI has an absolutely adorable one in pink taffeta (right across from the infamous sea green thing of awesome), it wouldn't be too hard to get a jacket pattern out of your robe royaliste pattern. If you made it up in a dark colour and wore it with a white petticoat then you wouldn't have to choose between dark and light colours.
    That's my amateur opinion, but I'm sure whatever you decide upon will be lovely, the early 1790's suit you very well.

  • misslesliesprentice

    May 29, 2013 at 7:15 PM

    I love the image of the chemise al reine style gown in black! Being black, it likely was for mourning, but that's the first one I've seen. How awesome.

    The captcha bot preventer says "history." 🙂

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