Monday, August 26, 2013

Regency Drawstring Gown and Half-Robe

Ever since I saw Jane Bennet (Rosamund Pike) in her lovely blue and pink half-robes in the 2005 Pride and Prejudice, I have dreamed of having one of my own. Seeing Elinor Dashwood (Emma Thompson) in her own striped version confirmed my desire and I plunged into research. And now, thanks to the Historical Sew Fortnightly (HSF) ( Click here to join in the fun! ), I have finally got the chance to finish my project!
I made it of blue sari fabric that my Daddy brought back for me from England a few years back. I actually made a dress from it in 2009 for a piano recital (I was playing a Pride and Prejudice piece) and I wasn't pleased with it in the end. I only wore it once. Here's an old picture of it below.

It wasn't terrible, but the neckline was too high (I didn't know about fichus yet) and I didn't have my stays way back then. Anyway, after years of sitting at the bottom of my historical wardrobe bucket, I joined the HSF and the poor old dress got nice new facelift :)

This fortnight's challenge is "Robes & Robings". I used about 3 yards of Indian sari fabric recycled from the other dress. I used my favorite; Jennie Chancey's Regency pattern ( ). I actually have nearly the whole set of her Regency patterns. This half-robe is dated toward the beginning of the Regency era (1790s-1810s) The gown I wore underneath was 1790s as well. The only notions I needed were 2 small white buttons. This gown is historically accurate, even if where I wore it wasn't. See, half-robes were actually house-coats and wouldn't be worn outdoors so much. However, since I don't have access to an accurate indoor setting, my backyard served just as well, methinks. Since it was a refashion, it only took me about 2 hours to complete. I ended up spending most of my time on the white dress beneath :) In the end, it cost me absolutely nothing but 2 hours, since the fabric was a gift and I already had the buttons! It was an easy last-minute project that was doable since, our family is moving in a few weeks. Below are the pictures of the finished product. If you have any questions about altering Jennie's Regency pattern to be a half-robe, feel free to email me at


A view of the back.

Closeup of the fabric details.

I made this white cotton drawstring gown this week as well. I needed something to go underneath and I finally broke out my "Elegant Lady's Closet Pattern" (also Sensibility :) The pattern is fantastic! Easy to understand and super practical. I've been in need of this Regency wardrobe staple for a long time and now that I have it, so many possibilities have opened up! I made it out of, get this, a size Full white cotton flat sheet from Wal-Mart! I recommend that fabric to everyone! It's great for unmentionables and so many of the classic white staples you need for any historical wardrobe and it's really inexpensive for fine quality fabric.

 I want to give a very special thanks to my dear sister Marley who was gracious enough to photograph me today, even though she wasn't feeling very well. She has incredible talent as a photographer and took these all on my digital camera! Visit her blog at

Monday, August 19, 2013

Creating an Atmosphere of Love...Part 1

I believe, with all my heart, that we as young ladies-in our divine-appointed role as daughters and sisters, help set the tone in our home. My Mamma would say it like this, "Be the thermostat. Not the thermometer." :)
I was reminded of this very thing last night. As I was finishing dinner clean-up, I saw our little ones go into the living room to say their good nights to Mamma and Daddy. My heart overflowed as I saw them stretch out their arms to be lifted in love. There were manly hugs and top-of-the-head kisses for our 9 year old and 6 year old boys and fond caresses and lip-kisses for our little girls who are 7 and 3. Then they came into the kitchen to say their good nights to me. The boys gave me forehead-to-stomach hugs and the girls fairly leapt into my arms! I picked up our 3 year old, Mandee, and covered her face with kisses, encouraging her with, "I'm so proud of you going pee-pee in the potty! You're such a big girl! Sleep tight and be good for Marley." She just grinned from ear-to-ear and planted a kiss on my cheek. I let her out of my arms and watched her skip down the stairs in merry baby delight; reveling in the love that had been bestowed upon her. My heart smiled with my face and I had an overwhelming feeling of gratefulness! Not every girl is blessed with such a family as mine. We say good morning and good night to each other every day. We get to sit down to meals together and clean up together. We cuddle and read books and delight in each other's company. We are earning crowns together, as I have said to myself so many times.
I am not saying this to boast. I say this out of a heart truly overflowing! Each of us girls has an opportunity every day to be a blessing to our families. I believe we have a big part in creating an atmosphere of love, joy and peace in our families.
"Pleasant words are like a honeycomb,
Sweetness to the soul and health to the bones."
Proverbs 16:24
Use Your Words for Edification
I like big words. But that's not the only reason I chose to use "edification". Webster's 1828 defines it as:
"A building up, in a moral and religious sense; instruction; improvement of the mind..."
Each one of us young ladies has a unique opportunity in the lives of our siblings. That is, to build them up with our words. A great example is the verse above. It's always wonderful to find out what God thinks about...anything! I love it when I come across a Scripture that throws light on a subject I've been pondering.
I see such a big difference in the response of my siblings simply by changing the tone of my voice! Notice the verse says pleasant words. That invokes, in my mind, a gentle, sweet tone of voice that is pleasurable to listen to. Thinking on that, I see that my tone is not always pleasurable to listen to...
Even the way you simply respond to any situation affects their response. Say you just found your little brother Bobby up in that tree Dad said wasn't safe to climb on. If you stiffen up and march up to the foot of the tree and yell up, "Bobby!!! What did Dad tell you about that TREE?! Get down here NOW!" Most likely, Bobby, being a boy, will stick his tongue out at you and attempt to climb higher, just to spite you.

On the other hand, if you catch Bobby in that tree, and call up, "Hey there, Bobby! Whatcha doing?" he might look down and smile at you, "I'm seein' if I can get to the top." Then, you should shake your head and gently probe him, "Do you remember what Dad said?" If he had truly forgotten, he would climb down and apologize. But, if he had deliberately disobeyed, he might settle himself comfortably in the crook of a branch and, prepare to reason you out of going to alert Mom and let him stay. At which point, you would encourage him to get down, then proceed to tell Mom. Or, if he's younger, he might just stand on the branch and start jumping and chanting, "You ca-an't get meeeee!" In which case, you should promptly hold your arms out below him :)

Proper response makes a world of difference! Find opportunities today to encourage your siblings to love and good deeds. Who knows? You may just change the course of their lives simply by speaking sweetly and urging them to do the right thing.

"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen."
Ephesians 4:29