There’s a regency ball coming up in my area and therefore, I am in need of a regency ball gown. I have a passable day style dress for the era (though I’d love to make a nice white sheer) but not a ball gown. This led to a very lengthy (and by that, I mean a few days) search of the internet for ballgown ideas. When it comes to historical sewing, I like to recreate fashion plates as closely as I can, tweaking to fit my budget or my style. Lucky for me, I found this gown that follows some of the trends of the period but with a splash of color. There’s a sort of elegance to it without being precious or too young. I like looking adorable but since people tend to thing I’m younger than I am, I want to gravitate toward looks that speak to my age.
I actually started by drafting my own pattern, arm scythe and all. It’s not something I do. Usually I use a pattern to shape that part of it and wing it from there but this time, I drew out a diagram, did the math for the measurements and got to work. I did cut out the cotton lining first and then went to my dress form. It was WAY to big in the shoulder length and too long torso wise for the fashion plate I was going for. Luckily, tailor’s chalk and a dress from go a long way to making it all work.
Regency bodices go to together rather quickly, even if you make your own piping. Now, I didn’t have the cord I’d like to really make some fabulous piping but I had some fairly sturdy yarn and given how flimsy the fabric was (it is some of that fake silky stuff but the color was right), it worked out fairly well. I am at least pleased with the idea of it. The fabric is truly annoying to work with. Give me real silk any day!
Now since this is just for a ball and less for a reenactment, I decided to make it all one piece, including the ‘ruffle’ at the neckline. I assume this is part of a chemisette or even a chemise but like I said, it’s for a ball so I’m not making tons of pieces. There’s some left overs from my civil war ballgown that worked well enough. Yes, this bodice is almost the exact color of the civil war, so that’s kinda weirding me out a little but what can you do? It looks really funny right now but there’s no trim yet, so I hope it’ll work out. If not, I can take it off.
The sleeves are an issue. I didn’t make them big enough around to really get the puff I want. It isn’t horrible but ugh, I don’t like it. To try and fix this, I pull up some places to tack and that seems to satisfy me enough to work with it. Next time, I’ll know. The other sleeve will go on tomorrow and then I’ll have to wait for some trim and the skirt fabric before moving forward.