HSF #1 Make do and Mend: Cotton/silk blend 1790s open robe

While I really enjoyed participating in the Historical Sew Fortnightly last year, trying to make all the deadlines amidst all my other sewing projects stressed me out a bit.  So this year I've decided to take a more laid back approach and just fit them in when they align with my other projects, which means I may always be running late!  :P

I'd been wanting to remake an old 18th C gown to something a little more Regency for a while now and this frock was the prime candidate:

From Costume College 2008
 First of all, while I adore this fabric I was never really satisfied with how this gown looked on me.  Secondly it's the perfect shade of yellow to match my bright yellow Regency gown.  And third,  the last time I wore it a lady stepped on my train and ripped out a significant amount of the back of the skirt stitches (with no apology!)...I guess she saved me having to rip out the whole skirt myself.  :P

I cut down the back bodice, used part of the skirts to cut a new bodice front and new sleeves (I would have cut down the old or just had long sleeves but they were too tight on me)  and cut a new lining.  This left only a handful of scraps but if I decide to further remake it some day it will have to be something even smaller!

I took inspiration from some of my favorite Regency fashions:  The yellow in this gown seemed very similar in hue to my stripes, as did this one - and it's an open robe with short sleeves!  But this one was the one that I was really looking to in terms of shape.

The Challenge: Make do and Mend: remaking a late 18th Century gown to a Regency style
Fabric: A white and yellow satin-striped cotton and silk blend
Pattern: None
Notions: beaded and sequined trim, hooks and bars, thread
How historically accurate is it? On the one hand remaking 18th C gowns to fit the new Empire lines is a very period thing to do.  On the other hand I did it all by machine save the hemming.  ;)
Hours to complete: about 3 days
First worn: Not yet, maybe at Costume College?
Total cost: Free!


  1. It looks very pretty. I wish I could wear such bold colours.
    I like how you changed it from 1700's to 1800's...maybe it will get 'reused' again in the future for another era.
    I've always thought it would be quite fun to do that....make one dress and then remake it each time for different era's.

    1. Thank you! Bold colors are nearly all I can wear given my coloring and age or I end up mutton-dressed-as-lamb, lol!

      I an easily imagine remaking it again some day. It seemed daunting at first but I really enjoyed transforming it into something different.

  2. Dear Loren,
    What a striking sunshine color! I love the dress in both it's original (that hat!) and remade forms! Wonderful job!!
    Keep inspiring us,
    Anneliese :)

    1. Thanks so much Anneliese! I still have the hat, a plain black Gainsborough is so useful because you can re-trim it to go with whatever the newest gown is. ;)

  3. Oooh...gorgeous! What a beautiful re-make! Exactly the sort of thing that might have happened in-period, and it looks perfect as that Regency robe.


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