Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Sleeveless spencer or body - Jane Austen Festival Bath 2012

Sleeveless spencers or bodies 1799 London fashion print
I have made my white bib front gown and I need something to provide variety so a sleeveless spencer or body is just the thing

The image on the left is from 1799, earlier than my elected date of 1805, but I am from the 'colonies' after all and so my fashions would be slightly be behind the time. Plus, items stay in our wardrobes for years if we like them and I'm sure they did in the Regency period as well.

So, I am tackling the bottom left blue curved front bodice style, as a friend of mine says 'that really puts them out there' LOL!

I have a lovely piece of blue silk to use. The lining is a white organdy to give body to the soft silk. The pattern is an adapted version of the The Elegant Ladies Closet, by Jeanie of Sense and Sensibility. I am using the lining version for the front as its nice and low.

I made up a calico toile and then cut it on Ermentrude to get the right shape for the curves under the bust. This is the same way to create a set of stays with gathered cups.

Then I cut it out in the organdy and fashion silk and here's the result, I still need to trim back the armholes, stitch the bottom and add hooks and eyes to the front.

I like the shape of the front bodice, but the centre point flops forward unless pinned, I'm going to try some cable tie bones to see if that gets them to perk up a bit.

The back is simple, just a normal bodice back.  I need to take it in at the underarm points I think as its a tad 'gappy', but it needs to sit comfortably over three layers.

Blue sleeveless spencer is completed, pictures below ...

Side front view

Front view,
The breast round sections are 'gapey' on Ermentrude, not liking it that gape at all, I haven't tried it on my real body yet and there isn't a dress beneath it, but I may have to gather them in.

The front section won't stay up on its own and needs to be pinned to the bodice, even with light boning. Not a problem and perfectly period.

I fiddled with it to get the fitting right, I put the centre pieces on top of each other and now it works, phew! Here's the final photos. Onto the red spencer now.

Middle section laid on top of each other pulls the spencer in enough to remove gape

Side view


  1. Looking lovely! I love that colour of blue!

    1. Thank you! I adore it and am having a bonnet made for me in the same silk and I'll make a reticule as well


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