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Regency Crewelwork Gowns

I have a fascination for Regency gowns that are embellished with crewelwork.  The combination of sheer fabric and bold, heavy wool embroidery is unexpected and charming. It’s a nice departure from the white on white seen so often in Regency dresses.

I was reminded of this holiday gown when it was shared by Two Nerdy History Girls earlier this month. The holly berries and red trim make this a very festive and happy outfit.

c. 1824-26 dinner dress with wool embroidery. From the Met, 2015.98a, b.

Crewelwork is a great choice for hand embroidery, because it works up quickly and the fluffy threads hide imperfections more readily than silk. Machine embroidery saves even more time, and a design like this could be completed in just a few hours. I was so inspired by the holly branches that I worked up the design for machine embroidery. This sample is stitched in Madeira Lana wool-blend thread* on cotton voile.

Here is the original hand embroidery (left) side-by-side with the machine embroidery (right). I’ll be putting this in the shop as both machine and hand embroidery designs, so you can make your very own holiday dinner dress. I think it would also be sweet on seasonal decorations like pillows and stockings.

 

There are a number of other crewelwork gowns in museum collections. Here are a few that I shared on Facebook this week. Which is your favorite?

c. 1805-1810 dress, of “mousseline de coton, broderie de laine au passé, dentelle aux fuseaux type Valenciennes.” Les Arts Decoratifs, 997.22.1.

 

c. 1805 cotton gown with wool embroidery and metal trim. The Met, 2012.89.

 

c. 1812-15 girl’s dress of white muslin embroidered from the hem with a floral design in colored wools. The V&A, T.29-1936.

 

Overdress of natural sheer cotton with polychromatic wool embroidery. The de Young Museum, 70.24.1.

 

*Some of the links above are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you choose to make a purchase. I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. If you want to see a full list of the products I use, check out the Products I Love page.

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