Hello Mrs. Chancey,
I’m Aubrey Lenz. My sister, Emily, sent you pictures of the Regency gowns she made with your Regency pattern a few years ago.
I graduated this spring, and Emily and I made a Romantic Era gown for my graduation ceremony. Emily and I followed the family tradition from our great-grandmother who had a dress shop in 1929 and made her graduation dress. One of our inspirations was Molly’s white ball gown in “Wives and Daughters.” You may remember we have a family relationship with a single woman who owns a fabric shop, Ginny’s Fine Fabrics, in a nearby city and that’s where Emily bought her fabric. Once again we went to Ginny’s, and she had picked out the lightest blue cotton batiste she could find ahead of time for the overdress. The underskirt is an ivory colored silk/cotton mix, and the under-sleeves are ivory-colored silk.
One of the challenges with the Romantic gown was the corset. I used the Mantua Maker pattern to make a corset. I made the chemise out of a light crinkle cotton and the corset out of three layers of cotton: a heavy cotton twill and two layers of muslin. The cotton lacing, the wooden busk, and ¼” steel white boning are from Grannd Companies in New Jersey.
To make the dress unique, I hand-embroidered the over-sleeves. We got the over-sleeve idea from one of “Molly’s” dresses and found the embroidery pattern on the Elegant Lady’s Closet pattern. From the same button collection Emily used (from our Great-Grandmother’s dress shop), I found antique glass buttons and we mixed and matched. We wanted many tight little gathers in the front neckline, similar to Molly’s ball-gown, so we ended up revising the bodice after the pictures and raising the waistline ever-so-slightly as well, since I have a shorter waist.
Thank you again for making patterns of historic clothing! We enjoy them so much! Your patterns are truly a delight to work with. Our next project is a modified version of the Regency Spencer Jacket for all three of us (Mama, Emily, and me).
Isn’t this breath-taking? Emily and Aubrey both really have an eye for texture, color, and drape. This is one amazing graduation dress, and I love all the details like great-grandmother’s buttons and the embroidery. Wonderful work!