Wednesday, October 6, 2010


While reading my civics textbook the other day I came across a quote from President Ronald Reagan on Bureaucracy. I thought this part was very funny:
"To give you an illustration of how bureaucracy works in another country, England in 1803 created a new civil service position. It called for a man to stand on the cliffs of Dover with a spy glass and ring a bell if he saw Napoleon coming. They didn't eliminate that job until 1945. In our own country, there are only two government programs that have been abolished. The government stopped making rum on the Virgin Islands, and we've stopped breeding horses for the cavalry."

Even the clothing of medieval Europe was better.

Lydia’s Traveling Sacque/Spencer

I have always liked this sacque, even though it is Lydia's and no one else wears a similar one. Lydia only wears it in one scene—she is departing for Brighton to stay with Mrs. Forster. When I decided to make it, I kept in mind three characteristics:
  1. The fabric is silk, demonstrating Lydia's extravagant nature.
  2. The sacque has large polka dots illustrating her bold and daring personality.
  3. The black closure on the red silk represents her flirtatious behavior.

    I chose broadcloth (I usually work with broadcloth) of a solid red.

    1. The fabric is broadcloth which is practical for everday use.
    2. The fabric is a solid color illustrating sobriety, practicality and reservedness.
    3. I chose dark brown for the closure, to give it an "autumn" rather than "coquettish" flavor.

      I used 1 ½ yards of the broadcloth and ¾ of the brown trimming. I also bought ¼ yard heavy interfacing for the collar. If I made it again I would get 2 yards of fabric. 1 ½ was not enough, and I just barely managed to make it fit.

      I decided to do a false collar because I didn't want to do a whole collar. (Basically it just has a collar on the front.) I used my regular dress bodice pattern. When I made my regency dresses I shortened the bodice to the length I wanted by folding up the lower end. For the sacque I added about an inch to the shortened pattern; I wanted to give it leeway as a jacket. I also made the sleeves follow the contour of the arm, getting skinnier toward the wrist.

      For the "points" I measured around myself where the waist would be and added a few inches for seam allowance and for "jacket wearing". Actually I just rounded up to 32 inches because that would be enough and made it easier. The length of my points was determined by the scanty amount of fabric I had left, but I think the length is around right anyway. I had the shortest side of the triangle—the top—be 8 inches. At the bottom I measured over 4 inches and made a mark, drawing lines from either end of my eight to that, making an even triangle. I then made three more placing them opposite ways so as to make them fit better—I mean fit at all.:) (I had originally had 1 yard stuck in my head, but knew that wasn't enough and thought I should get 2, but 2 is so much!:) so while at the cutting counter I quickly compromised 1 ½. It worked this time, but just barely!)

      The points actually took longer to sew than any other part of the sacque, because I had to turn under the two long sides of four triangles.

      If you look carefully at Lydia's sacque, you can see that the closures look almost like frog closures but also have a button. I have never done frog closures before so I did it like Lydia's. I pinned the trim onto the sacque the way I wanted it and sewed it down. Afterwards I made a button hole in it and sewed a button on. It was hard to make a button hole through the trim, but I really like the way it turned out.

    4. And here are pictures of the finished Spencer/Sacque!