The Right Fabric and Accessories

Continuing my sewing theme from last week, I am going to provide a few links for finding period fabrics and accessories.

Fabrics aren’t that hard if you know what you are looking for. If you know something about period fabrics, you are ahead of the game.

The best way of getting an idea what fabrics of the time were like is to look at real Regency gowns. There are sites on the internet—unfortunately, Cathy Decker’s Regency site is on the fritz again ( ) but there are others where pictures of real gowns can be found, as the Kent State University Museum:

There are samples of fabrics also on Jessamyn’s Regency Costume Companion site, which also happens to be an invaluable resource when considering your first costume.
Jessamyn’s Regency Costume Companion on fabric:

You can look for vintage costume sellers on line, if not for clothing to buy, but to peruse for research.

Once you have an idea what type of fabric you need, you can find the right kind of cotton print, for instance, in a Joann’s Fabrics. Here are some sources that offer more specialized fabrics including vintage reproductions:

Now, for the trimmings: Accessories

Austentation—hats, reticules, and research too:

Ostrichs on Line—feathers, fans, Masks…

A site with a shop for various items including US Civil War and Victorian costume, but many items could be used for the Regency as well, including the ladies’ corsets. Click Victorian clothing, then Ladies (if you are a lady!) to see the choices.

Frederick’s of Hollywood for their renaissance corset, which creates the “right line” for a Regency lady (unless you are undressing in public, no one will know it isn’t fully ‘period’!)

Check wedding gown suppliers for things like flat shoes (dyeable) and long gloves. Certain flat dance shoes can double for Regency shoes as well. Lastly….you all know this…there is Ebay.

Ebay is where I have found the classic Javamar shawl (NOT in pure cashmere, but close enough, with the woven pattern and length that wealthy Regency Ladies used with their gowns), reproduction Georgian jewelry, vintage hats, vintage fans, long leather gloves and vintage style fabrics. I have also done searches for parasols and walking sticks.

I am stopping here…I am somewhat limited by being on a newer computer, and I have not yet found a way to copy my shortcuts from my old computer onto this one. (Somehow I can’t copy my old, huge favorites file to disk—sigh). But hopefully this helps you on your costume venture.


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Elena Greene
16 years ago

Wow, I knew some of these links but you’ve got some new ones. I’m reminding myself right now that I’ve got a decent Regency outfit already!

One other site I love is Not necessarily for shopping (unless you are independently wealthy!) but to get an idea of what sorts of jewelry styles were popular. It’s often possible to find reasonable facsimiles in new or less-expensive vintage sources.

Elena 🙂

Megan Frampton
16 years ago


Your recent posts almost make me want to pull out my Husqvarna sewing machine and get back to sewing. Almost. Maybe I’ll dangle my toes in the water and check out some of those sites. Thanks for the links!

Cara King
16 years ago

I’d never have dreamed of looking at Frederick’s of Hollywood for useful corsets! Thanks for pointing that out, Laurie!

I made myself a Regency gown once — one of the more common, easy patterns, though the look is fairly period — but I admit I screwed up the bottom of it, and have always wanted to make myself a better gown. I did get neat material at one point, but have never had the time to go back and make myself another one! Well, who knows, maybe I will in the future! The Jane Austen Ball (which is in Pasadena every January) is coming round again!


Amanda McCabe
16 years ago

A Jane Austen ball! Can I come stay with you in January, Cara? 🙂

I’ve ordered a couple of bonnets from Austentation, and they are very cute at a reasonable price. I also ordered a pink taffeta bonnet from Ebay once, but haven’t yet had a chance to wear it. I love to play dress-up, but have no talent for sewing myself. Luckily, my mother is a very talented seamstress, and open to many different projects!

One fabric tip I’ve found useful is to look at quilt shops for period or period-looking muslins. I got some beautiful white embroidery on white muslin there for a gown.

Laurie Bishop
16 years ago

I bought one of those almost flat crowned, broad-brimmed hats (straw) on Ebay once. It was popular in the Civil War Era but could also be worn in the Regency, tied down with a ribbon. I have it stuck somewhere…more ideas than the time to pull it together, I guess!

I had so many links on my old computer…I think I re-located the main ones, but I really have got to get my old “favorites” file imported someway!

I’m going to go look at!

Oh, and another thing I forgot–auction houses on line have some great photos of Regency artifacts, too, although not necessarily clothing. I’ve found photos of lapdesks, pistols, etc.

I’d love to relax and just sew, or engage in some painting or drawing again…but there’s always that next book I have to work on….


Cara King
16 years ago

Amanda, if you did indeed chance to travel to Southern California in January, you could certainly stay at my place and attend the Austen Ball! 🙂

The link, if anyone is interested, is here:

I’ve attended the last two, and they’re great — lots of dancing, lots of great costumes to look at, lovely tea…oh, now I’m getting excited! 🙂