The years 1795 through 1820 saw a dramatic shift in women's clothing styles. The stiff courtly gowns that marked the earlier 18th century were discarded for simple peasant style dresses in the midst of the French Revolution as no one wanted to risk being associated with the French Aristocracy class. As the French Revolution subsided, Napoleon led a number of military campaigns to Italy, bringing back many statues and artifacts from Greco-Roman ruins. A revival of all things “classical” was stirred. The austere peasant dresses that marked the French Revolution were easily transformed to mimic the garments depicted on the Greek and Roman statues by raising the waistlines to just below the breasts. This distinctive characteristic would come to epitomize the Empire and Regency Periods.
The Bib-Front dress, also known as the Apron-Front, High Stomacher, Placket-Front, and Drop Front Dress, was one of the most popular styles of the Early Regency Period. Its simplicity, versatility, and built in support made it an ideal choice for both day dresses and evening gowns. Its popularity waned after 1813, but it remained in use until the end of the Regency Period in 1820.
This PDF Pattern features a 1810 style Bib Front Regency gown with a front tab closure under the bib that sits just below the breast. The sleeves are gently gathered at the shouler with a unique gathered cut-out detail near the sleeve band. The basic pattern itself is not too difficult, but some sewing experience is helpful. Extra instructions are included for Chinese Knotted buttons.
Suggested Fabrics: Dress in semi-sheer fabric such as Dotted Swiss, organdy, silk, or muslin OR lightweight fabric such as cotton lawn, silk, linen, or batiste. Not suitable for knits. Dress Lining in lightweight fabric such as cotton batiste or muslin. Lining may be white or another color that compliments the dress. Not suitable for knits.
~ 1/2 yard (1/2 m)
~ 1/2 yard (1/2 m) Scrap pieces or fat quarters work well.
-one 3/8-inch flat button for inside flap (a small snap or 3/4-inch length of hook and loop tape can be used if preferred)
-two 3/8-inch decorative buttons OR two size 4/0 snaps
-1/4 yard narrow string for sleeve detail
Directions for Chinese Knotted buttons made from the dress fabric are included in this pattern.
Skill Level: Intermediate
What You Get: One 17 page sewing pattern that you digitally download as a PDF file so you can start your project immediately! The PDF sewing pattern provides digitally drawn step-by-step illustrated instructions and full size pattern pieces. A PDF reader is required to view and print the files (example: Adobe Reader or Preview for MAC). The download link is received immediately after the transaction is complete. Print copies are NOT available
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I altered this pattern a tiny bit to use it as a wedding dress, but can still state that the sewing instructions are by far some of the best I've ever encountered, and definitely worth the price of the pattern. There are many unique details such as the Chinese buttons and the peek-a-boo sleeve opening which could have been difficult, yet were not since the instructions are just so complete and clear. This is a really lovely design that I will sew again.
This dress is beautifully detailed and is an entertaining challenge to make. I enjoyed the bib front opening which eliminates the need for a back opening. The directions to make the Chinese buttons were an appreciated addition to the pattern.