Corsets and Crinolines
1911 Corset

Armistice Blouse

Rocking Horse Farm
Regency Bib Front Gown

Sense & Sensibility
1914 Afternoon Dress
Regency Gown
Regency Spencer/Pelisse

Pattern Rating System

Rocking Horse Farm #191 Bib Front Gown

I am not quite sure what to say about this pattern. I bought it awhile back, since I needed to make a historically correct Regency bib-front gown, and this is the only pattern for this kind of gown on the market (as far as I can tell). Let me say that this pattern is not historically accurate; far from it. I ended up spending a couple hours pouring over the drawings and text in Janet Arnold's Patterns of Fashion 1 and Nancy Bradfield's Costume in Detail in order to understand the correct construction of this particular kind of garment.

First off, the pattern is weird: parts of it fit, and seem well drafted, and other pieces were totally off and I had to re-do. For one, the sleeve cap (which, shown on the envelope at being very puffed), had 'issues' relating to having very little puff or ease. I ended up having to slash the cap and spread it 3" to get even some semblance of gathers. Since this pattern is not sized very well (small, medium, large & extra large; instead of the more common 8,10,12,14, etc.), I would highly recommend making a muslin and testing the fit. After two muslins, I finally got the fit right for me, and in the process adjusted some things to make it more historically accurate.

Of the changes I made, instead of cutting the front completely from fashion fabric, I instead only cut it to a certain point (so the fashion fabric ended right under the edge of the bib, when it is up and secured). I then cut the whole front out of my lining fabric, just as illustrated in so many bib front gowns of the day (both Patterns of Fashion 1 and Costume in Detail have good illustrations of this). This way, I was only securing the lining at the front (under the bib), instead of the lining and fashion fabric. The back bodice piece is also extremely wide-I had to take in quite a bit before it fit smoothly.

I also took the button 'tabs' off the bib, since I can't find any evidence of that style being used in during the early 1800s. Because I did this, the shoulder piece, that joins the front piece in the front has a seam that shows with the tabs removed. I simply made the shoulder piece and front piece one, so that the only shoulder seam would be located in the back. I also disregarded the way the instructions said to do the ties for the gown. They made no sense, and therefore I pretty much used the technique illustrated in Janet Arnold's book for the interior and exterior ties.

The instructions that accompany the pattern have no pictures, and are confusing at times, which I'm sure is compounded by there being no pictures to accompany the sewing steps. After reading through the instructions, I decided to pretty much not follow them, and instead use Janet Arnold's notes in Patterns of Fashion 1 on the bib front gown.

Overall, I don't think the pattern was worth what I paid for it. It needs a lot of help, and one needs to be patient and be prepared to do a lot of adjusting. If you know how to scale patterns up, you'd probably be better off using the pattern from Patterns of Fashion 1.

I'd rate this pattern as an Advanced pattern, since it has so many fitting problems. Alternative patterns are the Patterns of Fashion pattern (scaled, so you need to have sewing experience) and Sense and Sensibility's Regency Gown pattern (reviewed here), with adjustments made to it for a bib front gown (instructions available on the website).

If you would like more information or to purchase this pattern, please visit Rocking Horse Farm's website.-Reviewed by Miss C.

This pattern is rated A.

Artwork is October (1877) by James Tissot, courtesy of CGFA.

Please contact the webmaster if you are experiencing any technical difficulties with this site.


2003 Across the Ages