A Regency Picnic

There was a picnic too! The day after the ball we met up for some al fresco dancing,  eating, and social intercourse… We are fortunate to have a royal park (or I should say parks, for there are several) in Stockholm. King Gustaf III (the one who was shot at the masked ball) created the Haga park in the 1780´s in the English style with soft rolling hills, neoclassical temples and pavillions. Today the park is open to the public and a popular place for outings. The circa 1805 palace is the official residence of the Crown Princess of Sweden and her family.

Photo by Regencygentleman

The Royal Pavillion at Haga.

 

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We all contributed to the feast. Our brave hosts Ylva and Jacob brought their vintage blue and white china and linen table cloths.

 

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Photo: Regencygentleman

Yours Truly in Tailcoat and breeches with makeshift boots and straw hat. I have used the boots on many occasions, but they are not all that period. The hat was a lucky find from the local charity shop near our summer house. An old souvenir from Spain I think, but is totally acceptable with some vintage grosgrain ribbon around the crown. Note to self: remember to strenghten the middle seam on the breeches. It is put under considerable  strain when sitting on the ground (or mounting a horse).

Photo: Regencygentleman

Ladies in their picnic gowns. The Navy was present.

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Of course we danced. Here we are getting ready for Rufty Tufty.

Photo:Regencygentleman

More dancing in the lovely Temple of the Echo. It was built in 1790 as an outdoor summer dining hall for the royals.

Attending a Regency ball

The tailcoat was finished just in time for the Big Regency Ball. It was announced in June, so I had a deadline throughout the sewing. And what a ball it was! I ought to have don full dress (formal attire) but the occasion to show off my new garments was too perfect to miss. I combined the tailcoat and breeches with shirt, cravat and white silk waistcoat. White stockings and opera pumps. Fob watch and gloves. Hair coiffed Regency style.

Regencygentleman aka Mr Tigercrona

A glass of prosecco in the court yard. Guests are studying the dance programme.

A glass of prosecco in the courtyard. Guests are studying the dance programme.

Regency ball/Regencygentleman

Dance programme, gloves and fob watch.

A Regency ball

So many elegant ladies!

The ball was arranged by the Swedish Regency society (Empirsällskapet) and Gustafs skål, the Gustavian society. We were asked not to take pictures in the ballroom, so I have no images of actual dancing. Besides, I was busy doing just that. There was an official photographer present, but we are still waiting for his pictures. Stockholm is famous for its landmarks and historic buildings. That is the reason why this little gem is relatively unknown. The mansion was built in the 1790´s as a country retreat by a wealthy merchant. After years of modern renovations it is today restored to its Gustavian glory.

The ball room in the beutifully restored mansion from the 1790s.

The beautyfully restored ballroom. The musicians were excellent and their historical instruments truly impressive. Notice another gentleman (Carl) wearing the other pair of opera pumps that were seen this evening (at the right side).

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A Regency ball

The quartet played wonderful music on historically accurate instruments – harpsicord, harp, violin, some sort of wooden flute, and bassoon. We danced various country dances, quadrilles and waltzes – like The Duke of Kent´s Waltz. Our hostess/dance master Anna Löfgren was gracious and the buffé style dinner was delicious. A memorable evening indeed! The following day we met up for a picnic, so come back soon for more pictures.

Regency gentleman aka mr Tigercrona

Regency-selfie.

The Tailcoat, part 3

The tailcoat is ready to be worn at a Regency ball tonight! Just two quick closeups of the buttons. In the end I decided not to use the polished brass buttons. They were too well-matched with the buttons on the breeches. Found these ornate ones, perhaps a bit too club blazer, but it will do this time. In the future I might make them selfcovered. What do you think? Eight buttons along the front opening (only one that actually closes), one at each side back seam and one at each cuff. More pictures later.

 

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Regency tailcoat by Regencygentleman

 

The Tailcoat, part 2

After cutting and assembling the main pieces of the tailcoat I have proceeded to the small parts: pocket flaps, cuffs, and collar.

The easiest first: pockets. I haven’t bothered to make functioning pockets, only the pocket flaps. The flaps are not merely decorative though, they are important for the overall silhouette. Sometimes they even have buttons, stylistic leftovers from the previous era. The actual pockets are often hidden in the pleats on the tails.

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Pocket flaps: I cut the pieces, wool for top and linen for lining, and sewed them together on three sides, leaving the top open. Turned the right side out and pressed, before sewing them on to the coat. They are slighty angled and nearly reach the side seams at the back.

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Cuffs: The narrow sleeve is finished off with a cuff. On a Regency coat the cuff is long over the wrist. It is slightly flared. It is cut wide enough to overlap but can be left unbuttoned. There is no opening above the cuff like on a modern jacket or shirtsleeve. Each cuff is constructed out of two layers of wool, folded. The sleeve is sandwiched between these two layers. As I mentioned before: the wool is really easy to work with. The stitches just seem to disappear.

Collar:

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Cutting three layers for the collar: top and bottom wool and linen interlining.

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Padstitching the interlining to the bottom layer of the collar.

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Padstitching done. The stitches are visible if you´d lift the collar. Interlining trimmed, and the collar stitched together at three sides and turned right side out.

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The collar is steamed and shaped. Ready to be sewn on to the coat.

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The undercollar and facing pinned to the coat. The seam will be covered by the outer layer, see image below.

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The edge of the topcollar is folded under and pinned, ready to be stitched.

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The finished collar. Still needs to be pressed.

 

The Tailcoat, part 1

1800 2 The tailcoat came in a variety of shapes and colours, depending on decade and wearer. For me it was an easy decision. I like the type of tailcoat that was seen a lot in the 1790’s and first decade of the 1800s, both for riding and – when embroidered – as court dress. Its gentle cutaway front and the absence of intimidating lapels seemed a good choice for the novice tailor. (Me, that is.)

Some facts before we continue: The swallowtail-coat or, simply, the tailcoat was a corner stone in the gentleman’s wardrobe. He could not be seen in public without it. In the last decades of the 18th century it gradually became the fashionable dress coat for day and evening wear, replacing the colourful silk frock coat or just au-corps. The understated somewhat militaresque elegance was more fitting for the man of new era with his interest in riding, hunting and other outdoor pursuits. Or the metropolitan dandy at least wanted to give the impression that he did these things when not in town and preferably so at the family country estate. The famous trend-setter was of course Beau Brummel.1800

The coat was either single or double breasted, always with a deep collar and in sombre colours such as black, navy or green. The front was cut away for riding comfort. At back the tail was divided in half by a centre vent, resulting in two coattails. The tails were cut in one piece with the body.

Now back to work. I am obstinate and can´t just buy a commercial pattern. I am sure they are excellent. Instead I am combining the draping method with diagrams in Norah Waugh’s Cut of Men’s clothes and the free online patterns on LACMA’s website.

Tailcoat2_Photo by Regencygentleman

Tailcoat3_Photo by Regencygentleman

This is my toile or mock-up, pinned together. I invested a lot of time on research but once I actually got started this process took me only a few hours.

Tailcoat4_Photo by Regencygentleman

 

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I found a beautiful wool in navy. Timeless elegance indeed! The lady at the fabric store was unable to say much about it, but my research tells me this type of wool cloth would be categorized as a medium to light weight herringbone tweed, see a closeup of a similar material here. It is real joy to work with this material, so every stitch is done by hand. I am using a fine linen for the lining, found a generous length of dark indigo linen in our stash. Metal shank buttons or self covered buttons?

Tailcoat5_Photo by Regencygentleman

The mockup is taken apart and is now my pattern. Cutting the left front panel.

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Inside view of right front panel. Linen lining folded back to show the stitching of a strip of sturdy linen canvas interfacing to the wool. This is necessary in order to avoid a sloppy edge along the front opening.

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Measuring up a pattern for some padding on the shoulder and chest.

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All pieces pinned or basted together. Starting to look as planned. It doesn´t show here, but the sleeves need some adjusting.

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Ready to be sewn together. Still need to cut cuffs and collar.

Note that the sleeve is cut in two equally sized pieces. That means there is a seam right at the front and one at the back. In modern tailoring the undersleeve is much narrower. After this photo was taken I spent endless hours fiddling with the sleeves to get the best possible fit. They were too high under the arm (armscye was ok though) resulting in awful creases and the top sleeve was pinned too tight to the shoulder. Luckily I cut the sleeves with a generous seam allowance.

Tailcoat8_Photo by Regencygentleman

Inside of the tails: Sewing the lining to the wool for a neat edge.

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Inside the coat: sewing (with dark thread) along the basting (done in the light thread).

To be continued…