March 09, 2022

251 Comments




 

 


Regency Era Fashion For Dolls - A aleksandrajones Style Guide

 

REGENCY PERIOD (1800-1820)

We’ve put together the ultimate guide to help you make a historically accurate Regency era look for your 18-inch doll!  The Regency era was named for the period during which Prince Regent, George of England reigned in place of his father the king after he was deemed mentally unfit to rule in 1811.  It continued until the kind died, and George subsequently became King George IV in 1820.  Although the true Regency era only lasted from 1811 to 1820, it is sometimes stretched to include all the way from 1800 to 1820, which is what we will be focusing on in this article. 

This period included many great cultural leaps for the Western World, such as the French Empire and the works of Jane Austen. Regency era fashion consisted of five key components:  empire waistlines, empire dresses, outerwear, embellishments, and accessories.  Use these components to make a lovely Regency era look for your doll!

Bonus Giveaway! Enter to win a Mood Fabrics gift card and be on your way with a fabulous selection of fabrics and embellishments to get your started with your next  sewing project. To enter, scroll down to the bottom of the post and read the details.

 

JANE AUSTEN (The Inspiration)

Jane Austen is arguably one of the most well-known female author of all time.  Ironically, despite her enduring reputation, her list of published novels is rather small.  Her publication period lasted from 1811 to 1817, and only four of her books were published during her lifetime.  These were Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814), and Emma (1815).  After her death in 1817 two more of her novels were published (Persuasion and Northanger Abbey, both published in 1817).  Her works have inspired countless movies, television shows, stage productions, and many more.  Her name has become synonymous with Regency era fashion for many.  If you are a Jane Austen enthusiast, then you need to make a Regency era look for your 18-inch doll.  Keep reading to find out how! 

 

NAPOLEON AND FASHION

Believe it or not, one of the most influential figures in this period of fashion history was the French Emperor, Napoleon Bonaparte.  Napoleon is most commonly known as a military and political figure during the French Revolution and resulting French Empire, but his reach of influence stretched far beyond that.  During the French Revolution, the French textile industry greatly suffered to the point of it becoming practically non-existent.  Once Napoleon became Emperor in 1804, he took his newfound influence to reverse the textile crisis.   He used the surviving fraction of France’s textile industry and converted it to produce tule and batiste which could be used both domestically and abroad.  Napoleon further revived the textile industry by creating a rule that no woman could wear the same dress to court more than once.  This caused the women to purchase more materials, which in turn helped the economy.  Another action Napoleon took to purposefully keep the fireplaces and other heat sources in his court blocked.  This caused women to be colder and to thus buy more textiles to make more clothing to keep themselves warm when in his court.  Napoleon also influenced fashion through his wife, Empress Josephine.  Josephine was the one who popularized empire style dresses (named after the French Empire) and waistlines, which were the dominate style of the era.

 

THE EMPIRE WAISTLINE

One of the most defining elements of Regency era fashion is the “empire” waistline, which was used on dresses, coats, and other garments.  These waistlines are characterized by several elements.  The first and most notable of these was their high placement.  The waistlines gradually rose from the natural waist at the beginning of the century until about 1815 where it landed right beneath the bustline.  This was the highest point the waistline rose to in modern Western fashion and is commonly known as the “empire waist.”  By the mid-1820s the waistline retreated back down closer to the natural waist where it remained throughout the Victorian era.

With the recent popularity of the show Bridgerton, and the second season launching in March 2022, the Regency style is front and center and getting lots of attention! Whether or not you choose to watch the show is up to you, but a quick internet search for the costumes of Bridgerton will flood your screen with so much inspiration! If you're a fan of the Regency period, the costumes for the show are definitely worth a peek!

 

THE EMPIRE DRESS

The most iconic garment that the empire waistline used on was, of course, the empire dress.  Other elements that characterized the these dresses were their sleeves, skirt length, and neckline. Sleeves on empire dresses were more often than not short, puffed, cap sleeves. An interesting fact to note about these sleeves was how they effected the wearer’s movement. Because of the short and narrow bodice, the sleeve placement was slightly further back than where shoulders naturally sat. This was done purposefully in order to restrict arm movement and reinforce the daintiness of the wearer. Skirts on day dresses were no longer floor-length as they had been in the century before.  Instead, they rose up to end slightly above the ankle line. Skirts also lost a bit of their volume and ranged from straight, column-like skirts to fuller, A-line skirts. Square necklines were commonly worn, which exposed more of the neck and chest than decades before. Some dresses also included gathers around the front and back necklines.

 

OUTERWEAR

A variety of outerwear became popular for women to wear during the Regency era.  Wraps and shawls were quite popular during this period.  This is probably because some of the easiest to produce as they are often cut as either a simple rectangle or triangle.  Like the previous decades, capes were still present but fading from popularity.  More technically interesting outerwear garments, like the Spencer coat and the pelisse coat, were becoming more commonly seen.  The Spencer coat (named for the Earl Spencer) was inspired by mens’ riding coats and was a tight-fitting, waist-length coat, with tight sleeves.  The pelisse coat was an overdress or a coat-styled dress.  It was close fitting, featured an empire waistline, and was often decorated with fur or contrasting fabric linings.

 

EMBELLISHMENTS

Like many other periods of history, embellishments were an important part of clothing and a visible way to show one’s status.  One of the most popular methods of embellishing in this time period was white-on-white embroidery, which is white embroidery on white fabric.  This allowed the embellishments to be subtle, but still expensive and impressive.  The embroidery motifs that were used during the Regency era (especially from 1800 through 1810) were inspired from classical cultures, like Greece and Egypt.  These motifs are another example of Napoleon’s cultural influence.  Grecian and Egyptian styles were brought back and popularized after Napoleon’s expeditions in these countries.  Napoleon would bring back items that had elements such as geometrical Greek embroidery or decorated woven stoles to present them to his wife, Empress Josephine.  After she was seen wearing them, everyone else wanted to be seen wearing them as well.

 

ACCESSORIES

Essential accessories to Regency era women would have been a fichu, a parasol, gloves, and a hat or bonnet.  A fichu was an accessory developed for modesty.  It was a piece of cloth (that could range in material) that was tucked into the bodice of a gown to preserve modesty when a woman was showing off a tad too much.  It was more standard for younger, teenage girls who weren’t “out” in society yet.  A parasol provided sun protection for ladies and, because of such, as seen as a necessity when going out.  Gloves were standard social protocol at the time.  A lady would have never been seen without her gloves during the evening, but occasionally may have been without them during the day.  Finally, hats or bonnets were the finishing touch on the Regency look.  Regency era headwear was all about the fantastical and were outrageously embellished with ribbons, feathers, or other options.  Styles of hats ranged from bonnets to even turbans.

 

FABRIC CHOICES

Common fabric choices for the Regency era were cotton lawn, muslin, and batiste for most garments.  During the winter season other fabrics, like velvet, linen, wool, or fine silk, were also popular.  In addition, during the winter women would wear petticoats made from flannel to provide an extra layer of warmth.  Muslin was particularly favored during this time because of how easily laundered it could be, especially in comparison to textiles like silk or velvet.  Favored color choices were mostly pastels for daywear and white for eveningwear.  Wearing white was reserved for special occasions because of how difficult the color is to keep clean and keep looking nice.  Wearing white during the daytime would have been one of the ultimate status symbols that could have been conveyed through dress because it was easy to get dirty and hard to clean.  You can take a look at the links below for our suggested fabric and embellishment choices!

Bleached Muslin Fabric from Joann Fabrics

White Cotton Batiste from Mood Fabrics

White Cotton Embroidered Eyelet Trim from Mood Fabrics 

White Feather Fringe from Mood Fabrics

Gold Metallic Braided Cording from Mood Fabrics 

 

aleksandrajones offers a wide variety of Regency era-inspired patterns but to start check out these patterns below:

   

 

 

 

We’d love to hear from you!  Leave a comment and tell us which Jane Austen novel (or movie/tv adaptation) is your favorite! As a reminder, these were Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, and Emma, Persuasion, and Northanger Abbey.

We'd love to see your creations too, so if you make one, please tag us on Instagram @PixieFaire

You can also share pictures in the aleksandrajones Inspritation Gallery right here on the website, either use the #pixiefaire when posting on IG, or just click the little + box to upload your picture right here on the website!

Thanks everyone!

For aleksandrajones, Katie


 

 

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Contest Details: You enter through the entry form that is embedded on this page and appears just below this paragraph, if you don't see it, be sure to visit the page from your desktop or an alternate browser such as Google Chrome. It may not appear on all mobile devices. The complete rules and entry details appear on the entry form. This is not a comment contest - in other words, leaving a comment on the bottom of this page is not an official entry method. The only required entry method is to leave a comment under this post and then confirm that you did it in the contest widget. One person will receive the Gift Card. You can enter once, or gain multiple entries by completing the other entry methods and increase your chances of winning. Please review all Terms and Conditions on the giveaway page before entering. While we wish we could run this contest everywhere, for legal reasons it is only open to eligible residents of the U.S. and Canada, not including Rhode Island. This contest is exclusively endorsed by Liberty Jane Clothing and aleksandrajones. 

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We’d love to hear from you. Please leave a comment and tell us, which Jane Austen novel (or movie/tv adaptation) is your favorite! As a reminder, these were Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, and Emma, Persuasion, and Northanger Abbey.


100 Comments

Nancy
Nancy

April 01, 2022

Thank you for the guide. My favorite Jane Austen novel is Pride and Prejudice and mu favorite version is the 1995 A&E version with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle. The reason there are not very many completed novels from Jane Austen is that she lived at a time when very few women were ever published, and she died young at the age of 41.

Constance
Constance

March 21, 2022

Pride and Prejudice but, I love them all

Michele
Michele

March 18, 2022

I just binge watched PBSs “Sanditon” season 1 which is supposed to be based on Jane Austen’s last unfinished book. I loved seeing the Regency costuming on the show. Looking forward to the start of season 2 this weekend, I believe. I loved seeing the Regency clothing on Bridgerton as well.

Leticia
Leticia

March 15, 2022

My favorite is the 2020 remake of Emma with Anya Taylor-Joy and Johnny Flynn. Perfection!

Ann
Ann

March 15, 2022

Pride and Prejudice is my favorite.

Anna S
Anna S

March 15, 2022

Pride and Prejudice is my overall favorite, but my favorite movie might be Sense and Sensibility with Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet.

Caroll Buck
Caroll Buck

March 15, 2022

My favorite Jane Austen book is Pride and Prejudice. Love the fashion from this period also.

S
S

March 14, 2022

My favourite is Either Pride and Prejudice or Emma. I’ve only watched the movies, but I definitely want to read the novels.

Charlene Morris
Charlene Morris

March 14, 2022

Persuasion is my favorite Jane Austen novel.

Melinda
Melinda

March 13, 2022

I chuckle because I’m always leaning more to the modern clothes . . . however, my hubby was thrilled to see that I’ll be doing an empire style dress. Go figure!! ggg

Melinda
Melinda

March 13, 2022

I chuckle because I’m always leaning more to the modern clothes . . . however, my hubby was thrilled to see that I’ll be doing an empire style dress. Go figure!! ggg

Ann
Ann

March 13, 2022

Emma is my favorite Jane Austen novel.

Jessica
Jessica

March 13, 2022

I would have to say Pride and Prejudice is my favorite.

shelly h
shelly h

March 13, 2022

Pride and Prejudice is my ultimate favorite. I have read it multiple times. I also enjoy any movie that is based on the story.

Maureen A
Maureen A

March 11, 2022

Pride & Prejudice – and I cut my romance novel teeth on Regency era novels so I am particularly fond of them

Cath
Cath

March 11, 2022

“Pride and Prejudice”with all the fantastic costumes and Colin Firth. I have to admit that i will watch or read anything Austen oriented including shows like “Lost in Austen”. Happy Stiching!
—cath

Nancy
Nancy

March 11, 2022

I love all of your guides. Keep them coming

Raphael
Raphael

March 11, 2022

My favorite is definitely Emma, Emma is so awful and it’s amazing. I love female characters who are just absolute messes. Northanger Abbey is a close second, though! Catherine is just such a sweet person and Henry Tilney is to die for

Jeanette
Jeanette

March 11, 2022

I think most people’s favorite is Pride and Prejudice. I also like Sense and Sensability and Emma really well, also!

Debra
Debra

March 11, 2022

I love Pride & Prejudice – its always been a favorite of mine.

Valerie Talley
Valerie Talley

March 11, 2022

My favorite Jane Austen novel is Pride and Prejudice…love Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett.

Valerie Talley
Valerie Talley

March 11, 2022

My favorite Jane Austen novel is Pride and Prejudice…love Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett.

BG Tomlin
BG Tomlin

March 11, 2022

I like Emma and Pride and Prejudice the best. But I also like the all.

Grace
Grace

March 11, 2022

Mansfield Park

Shirley
Shirley

March 11, 2022

I have seen Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility a few times. Liked them both very much. I have not seen or read the books of the other two. I like the Regency period dresses. They are not so ornate, but yet very pretty.

Lauralyn
Lauralyn

March 11, 2022

Pride and Prejudice is a favorite but I am looking forward to watching Emma!

designdreamer
designdreamer

March 11, 2022

Pride and Prejudice.

Lezlie
Lezlie

March 11, 2022

Pride and Prejudice. I made my high school prom dress with empire waist.( A good look for shorter gals.) I still have the dresses .

Rebecca
Rebecca

March 11, 2022

I haven’t seen any Jane Austen movies yet. But I recently have listened to all of the Assisi books. I don’t really have a favorite. For the most part I enjoyed them all.

Gail
Gail

March 11, 2022

Pride and Prujudice for sure.

Emily
Emily

March 11, 2022

I like the Keira Knightley Pride and Prejudice, but Sense and Sensibility with Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet is good too.

Eileen
Eileen

March 11, 2022

Oh, Mr. Darcy! Take me away to Pemberly!

Rosemary
Rosemary

March 11, 2022

I like Sense and Sensibility; and I’m doing making historical outfits for my dolls, starting with Martha Washington and working my way up thru the 1960s.

Bobbie
Bobbie

March 11, 2022

Pride and prejudice

Etta "Lorrie" Hart
Etta "Lorrie" Hart

March 11, 2022

Pride and Prejudice, hands down!

nicole
nicole

March 11, 2022

I love pride and prejudice with Keira Knightley the whole film is a flourish of fabrics and lovely music I must have watched this film at least 100 times, and will continue watching it, as it is my go to film.
I just love Bridgerton and every period drama. thanks for the chance of winning a gift card have a blessed day

Katherine
Katherine

March 10, 2022

My favorite is Pride and Prejudice.

Janet
Janet

March 10, 2022

Pride and Prejudice is my ultimate favorite with Sense and Sensibility a close second. Persuasion is also good. I first feel in love with Pride and Prejudice and my favorite movie version is the BBC production with Collin Firth as Mr. Darcy

Carma
Carma

March 10, 2022

I have trouble picking a favorite. Pride & Prejudice is hilarious! I love the father. Sense and Sensibility, Persuasion. Her characters are so easy to identify with, I think.

Joanne
Joanne

March 10, 2022

Pride and prejudice!

Sandy
Sandy

March 10, 2022

I love all the Jane Austen stories. I especially love to see the movies because of the beautiful Regency dresses that are worn.

Candace
Candace

March 10, 2022

I don’t have a favorite, I love them all, have all the books and have read them more times than I can count. I have made Jane and Mr. Bingley outfits for 18" dolls… Have another dress and Pelisse cut out. I love making historical clothing for the dolls, thanks to aleksandrajones it is easy to do.

Lisa
Lisa

March 10, 2022

I like Emma. She’s so sassy.

Anne C-E
Anne C-E

March 10, 2022

All of Austin’s books are hilarious in many ways but the silliest is Pride and Prejudice.

Rebecca
Rebecca

March 10, 2022

I love all of Austen’s work, but my favorite is Persuasion. I’ve read it at least three times.

Lydia Persson
Lydia Persson

March 10, 2022

pride and prejudice

Rebecca
Rebecca

March 10, 2022

I love all of the books! I read through several of them each year. This style is probably one of my favorite it make for the dolls.

Kristie L.
Kristie L.

March 10, 2022

Pride and Prejudice is my favorite as that is the only one I actually read ( multiple times) but don’t have a favorite movie of it (I prefer books to movies anyway)

Denise Darby
Denise Darby

March 10, 2022

Pride and Prejudice.

Sandra
Sandra

March 10, 2022

Pride and Preludice

J.Bella Doerres
J.Bella Doerres

March 10, 2022

My favorite was and always will be Pride and Prejudice. How wonderful you now have the fashions for our dolls.

Carol
Carol

March 10, 2022

I like them all and don’t really have a favorite.

Brenda Reichers
Brenda Reichers

March 10, 2022

I have to admit that Pride and Prejudices is one of my favorite movies, I own almost all of the different dvd’s they have released but my favorite is the BBC mini series with Colin Firth, and Jennifer Ehle.

Beth
Beth

March 10, 2022

pride and Prejudice

Catherine Thomas
Catherine Thomas

March 10, 2022

I Love Jane Austen’s novel Pride and Prejudice the best.

Nadine
Nadine

March 10, 2022

Pride and Prejudice!

Cheryl R.
Cheryl R.

March 10, 2022

Pride and Prejudice, but I love all of them!

Kathy
Kathy

March 10, 2022

My favorite Jane Austen book and movie is Pride And Prejudice.

Sandra Stuckless
Sandra Stuckless

March 10, 2022

I read Pride and Prejudice when I was 14; such a long time ago, but I have been enthralled by everything ‘Regency’ ever since. Jane Austin’s world was circumscribed physically and socially; she could travel only as far as she could walk and as a single woman, she was limited in her social interactions…yet the glorious, detailed worlds she wrote about!!!

Lockie
Lockie

March 10, 2022

Emma is my favorite but love all of them!

Crystal
Crystal

March 10, 2022

I like all of them, so it’s hard to choose which one of them would be my favorite.

Nancy
Nancy

March 10, 2022

I have a hard time choosing a favorite. It seems my favorite is whatever book my reading at the time!

Meg
Meg

March 10, 2022

I can’t choose one I like best – it would probably have to be down to whichever one I was reading and/or watching at the time.

Tamara
Tamara

March 10, 2022

Thank you for that interesting article. I love to learn why garments changed and how society and the world affected clothing. I think my favorite Jane Austen book is Sense and Sensibility and I also liked the movie with Emma Thompson. I also remember loving the movie version of Emma with Gwyneth Paltrow.

Susan Glen
Susan Glen

March 10, 2022

Pride and Prejudice Love the movie but love your patterns more

Suzy
Suzy

March 10, 2022

I love all the novels and the clothes from this time period are so elegant!

Lauri Sammartano
Lauri Sammartano

March 10, 2022

My favorite Jane Austen novel is “Emma”!

sheila
sheila

March 10, 2022

Pride and Prejudice is my favorite

Chris B
Chris B

March 10, 2022

Very interesting article with great information on this historical period. Back in the seventies I recall some of my favorite dresses were empire styled. It always seemed feminine and flattering to me.

Mary Hughes
Mary Hughes

March 10, 2022

Pride and Prejudice, My daughter loves Emma

anita
anita

March 10, 2022

Having a favorite book, for me, is like asking if I have a favorite child. bawhahahaha I LOVE empire waist gowns and in fact my wedding dress in 1970 was an empire dress.

Cathy
Cathy

March 10, 2022

Emma is my favorite

Barb
Barb

March 10, 2022

My favorite is between Emma and Little Women. I believe the close were so beautiful and stylish.

Juanita E Lanaux
Juanita E Lanaux

March 10, 2022

My favorite is Pride and Prejudice. Thanks for the giveaway.

Christine
Christine

March 10, 2022

I’m not much of a books to movie watcher. I’m more of a reader only. I’ve read Pride and Prejudice and liked it. I really should watch more of the movies just for the costumes! LOL

Connie
Connie

March 10, 2022

Pride and Prejudice is my all time favorite.

Margaret Goodman
Margaret Goodman

March 10, 2022

Emma is wonderful!

S
S

March 10, 2022

Pride and Prejudice

Mae Lynn Beck
Mae Lynn Beck

March 10, 2022

Pride and Prejudice is the only one I’m familiar with, but from the other posts, I’m prompted to read the other novels.

Rena
Rena

March 10, 2022

I don’t have a favorite.

Charissa Deuser
Charissa Deuser

March 10, 2022

Pride and Prejudice for sure! All her books are beautifully rich and I enjoy how different movie directors have depicted her stories. I would like to collect all my favorite scenes and make a new movie😉

Gail Beam
Gail Beam

March 10, 2022

Pride and Prejudice and Emma top my list. I have always loved the clothing of this period.

Jeri
Jeri

March 10, 2022

My favorite Jane Austin book is Pride and Prejudice. My favorite adaptations are the older version with Greer Garson and the newer version with Colin Firth.

Laura
Laura

March 10, 2022

I love Jane Austen’s books in the way they have engaging characters that stories weave together by the larger human experience of loss, love and growth while coloring their experiences with the social constructs of the day. I guess Emma stands out for the many versions that have been made with twists such as Clueless.

MARNIE
MARNIE

March 10, 2022

I would have to say Pride and Prejudice is a favorite.

Laura
Laura

March 10, 2022

I love Jane Austen’s books in the way they have engaging characters that stories weave together by the larger human experience of loss, love and growth while coloring their experiences with the social constructs of the day. I guess Emma stands out for the many versions that have been made with twists such as Clueless.

Rachel
Rachel

March 10, 2022

My favorite Novel is Pride and Prejudice!

Rachel
Rachel

March 10, 2022

My favorite Novel is Pride and Prejudice!

Bonnie
Bonnie

March 10, 2022

Love the history & designs from the past

Terri C
Terri C

March 10, 2022

I really liked the book Northanger Abbey.

Pamela
Pamela

March 10, 2022

Pride and Prejudice

Brenda
Brenda

March 10, 2022

I love them all, can’t decide, but sense and sensibility is at the top.
Always good for a re read!

Marietta Brown
Marietta Brown

March 10, 2022

Vote me in for EMMA

Cheryl
Cheryl

March 10, 2022

Love them all but especially pride and prejudice!

Cheryl
Cheryl

March 10, 2022

Love them all but especially pride and prejudice!

Marilu
Marilu

March 10, 2022

Pride and Prejudice, which is also the most popular. Thanks for all that information on this era

Denise A.
Denise A.

March 09, 2022

Pride and Prejudice is my favorite, followed by Sense and Sensibility. I really like them all, though. They are laugh-out-loud funny while giving amazing insights into the social scene of the era. I like the 1995 Pride and Prejudice miniseries with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle best of the adaptations I’ve seen, but I’m always happy when a new interpretation comes out so I can watch that, too.

Marie king
Marie king

March 09, 2022

Pride and Prejudice!

Martha R.
Martha R.

March 09, 2022

I love all the Jane Austin novels, but for film adaptation, my favorite would have to be the 1995 version of Pride and Prejudice starring Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth.

Jane Parks
Jane Parks

March 09, 2022

I have never read any of Jane Austin books. I do have a DVD of Sense and Sensibility. So that has got to be my favorite. Love the fashions from that era.

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