Putting together Vivienne’s wardrobe is only tough in that I’m trying to be historically accurate for a period of time of great fashion overlap. Most Colonial fashions and cuts of dress were still around, even if on their way out and a bit dated, and the world was shifting to the Empire Waistlines of the Regency period. The most solid dress of the 1790s are the long white gowns with thick waist sashes and big bows. But you can also keep a lot of earlier clothes without a problem, because people wouldn’t have thrown away everything and fashions gradually shift, and you can also bring in a lot of Regency dress, with the caveat that some particular styles hadn’t caught on yet within that overall style.
The reason this is making it a bit difficult with Vivienne is that being able to include almost anything means it’s that much easier for inaccuracies to slip in. And I’m mostly okay with that, as I do the best I can. But just like I don’t want her to have a wardrobe that’s identical to Felicity’s, I also don’t want it to mean I’m bored with Regency before I even get a Regency doll (especially as Tinuviel has quite a few empire waisted dresses too).
Tiny floral prints of a safe fabric choice for the time period though, and when I was looking for a day-dress pattern that would suit the fabric I found, I fell in love with this pattern from frivolousdistinction on Etsy. It looked pretty complicated but insisted it wasn’t, and I figured it’d be a nice challenge, and a little different flair. Since Regency gowns are pretty basic in construction, it’s been interesting seeing what little flares different seamstresses are able to add without losing historic accuracy.
I went into this pattern thinking it’d be a good multi-day challenge. Instead I made the entire dress in one evening, and I’m in love. I had never sewn the growth tucks before, and this gown not only has them on the skirt but also on the sleeves. The banded and gathered front bodice is just gorgeous and was not nearly as complicated to make as I thought it would be. Plus the pattern had extremely simple, black and white illustrated steps. All in all, this is one of the easiest patterns I have ever made and resulted in one of the most beautiful and sweetest gowns I have ever made.