Annabel Lee’s Chemise from the Sea



Jessica Joy Lipton Pierce and Cheryl Joy Lipton

Outline the story …

This dress is inspired by the poem (and for) "Annabel Lee" by Edgar Allen Poe. This dress for her is a departure from a Chemise a la Reine with Regency inspired sleeves. When I was designing it I had a progression of images in my head. First, of Annabel Lee standing on black craggy rocks in a damp white dress sheer from the spray, then looking out into the surf, then, up to her ankles in the water with the hem floating around her feet, then completely submerged with the dress floating out behind her almost as if she had wings, and finally, she is in the air dripping having just emerged from the water, her skin the same colour as the white of her dress. It’s as if the angel had come to lure her into the water, and then lifted her up into the air, and a breeze came from their wings “chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.”

Outline the construction…

I used a sleeve Pattern from Jennie Chancey of Sense and Sensibility. I measured the screen and calculated (multiplying by 1.466) that the sleeve was 22 inches across and 8 ¼ inches tall. I multiplied all the other measurements by the same number to be able to put points on the paper in order to sketch everything out on plain tissue paper.
Regency Gown Pattern Instructions ©Sense and Sensibility Clothing, 1998 (Revised 2003)

I had inspiration from Courtney Ripple of Fresh Frippery and Bernadette Banner. The links to both are below. I used some measurements from Fresh Frippery and the idea of channeling and placement from Bernadette Banner, and made up some other details with the bodice, such as sleeve placement and straps, and the armholes.

Modern Marie Antoinette: Adapting a Late 18th Century Chemise à la Reine

Easy Chemise Dress (with Instructions)
Easy Chemise Dress (with Instructions)




  1. Avatar Rachel Zanoni on March 11, 2021 at 6:17 pm


  2. Avatar Avery on March 11, 2021 at 6:39 pm

    Your work is so stunning! I love your combination of the Chemise a la Reine with the puffy Regency sleeves, so cute and floaty.

  3. Avatar Natalia on March 11, 2021 at 7:14 pm

    This is so dainty and delicate… absolutely beautiful!!

  4. Avatar Kate on March 11, 2021 at 8:17 pm

    Absolutely beautiful! It also reminds me of Liesel’s dress in The Sound of Music and the dress worn in the ballet Romeo and Juliet! Very romantic!!

  5. Avatar Phanuel Jagna Levinsen on March 11, 2021 at 10:57 pm

    Love how the straight cuffs contrast and compliment the draping!

  6. Avatar Missy on March 12, 2021 at 12:01 am

    Thanks for describing the scenes in your head, it really brings it to life! It’s come together really well and captures the mood/etherealness of the poem.

  7. Avatar Elowen Blackthorn on March 12, 2021 at 4:02 am

    So delicate and pretty! Nicely done!

  8. Kitty Mortensen Kitty Mortensen on March 12, 2021 at 7:56 am

    Absolutely perfect! Very well done

  9. Avatar Regina Finan on March 12, 2021 at 6:18 pm

    This is just gorgeous. I’m so impressed with your gathering skills! 😀

  10. Avatar Anne on March 12, 2021 at 8:40 pm

    The gathers look so perfect!! It is really pretty!!

  11. Avatar Ari on March 13, 2021 at 2:35 am

    This is really pretty, and it looks so good on you! Very ethereal!

  12. Avatar Jaclyn Spencer on March 14, 2021 at 1:30 am

    Beautiful work. I’m very much like the drape of the skirts. Entirely impractical, which is absolutely perfect!

  13. Avatar Deborah Melo on March 14, 2021 at 8:47 pm

    So delicate and beautiful!

  14. Avatar Valerie Meachum on March 15, 2021 at 12:45 am

    Oh, I love this romantic hybrid! It fits her so perfectly.

  15. Avatar Muireann on March 15, 2021 at 1:29 pm

    this is absolutely gorgeous! The inspiration for the dress is so evocative, I love it!

  16. Avatar Tanaka on March 18, 2021 at 4:23 am

    This is so gorgeous! Pretty and delicate, and the sleves are lovely 🙂

  17. Avatar Xenofon on March 18, 2021 at 9:52 am

    What a lovely frock! Love the images that you created in my head too.

  18. Avatar Joshua Graham on March 18, 2021 at 5:43 pm

    the sleeves look wonderful

  19. Avatar Lisa Olsen on March 19, 2021 at 2:58 am

    Such a lovely combination! Well done!

  20. Avatar AnnaCatherine Sendgikoski on March 20, 2021 at 3:35 am

    Oh wow, this is stunning. See you in the Advanced column next year! I love this…sooooo much!

  21. Avatar Laura Ingalls Gunn on March 21, 2021 at 10:38 pm

    What an amazing combination of styles. The sleeves are amazing. Bravo!

  22. Avatar Carol Phillips on March 24, 2021 at 4:41 am

    Wonderful realization of your vision and you made us see it too. Agree with the comments about choice and execution of the sleeves.

  23. Avatar Sarah on March 24, 2021 at 6:11 pm

    I love this! Do you know Edgar Allan Poe’s Murder Mystery Dinner Party? It’s a comedy series on YouTube, and Annabel Lee is a character in it.

  24. Avatar Nora Wickman on March 25, 2021 at 1:12 am

    This is so lovely.

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