Thursday, September 10, 2015

1808 Ball Gown Inspiration and Planning

The Netherfield ball is coming up, and I got the Regency sewing bug again. I could wear one of my other dressed inspired by the early-1800's, but who wants to wear a plain, cotton day dress to an elegantly-themed ball? Not I. It's time to pull out all stops and power sew to get this ball gown done in time. 

My main inspiration for the dress is a collection of actual dresses, paintings, and modern re-enactors.

I love the concept of a loooooonng train. But I don't want to be tripping over it while dancing. The solution I came up with was an open robe. From what I can tell, there seem to many interpretations of the same concept: a bodice of some sort, a stylish closure in the front, and an over skirt. I really like the idea of sprucing up the basic white Regency ball gown and adding the color pop of the open robe. 


PS - Holly Madchen photography is INCREDIBLE!

Next up comes the actual ball gown. Apron-front (or bib-front), is certainly my preferred style, but I'll need to alter the pattern that I have to make it work (because I'm a cheapskate and don't want to buy :another: pattern). So it will all depend on how much time I have after finishing the open robe. Next part of the ball gown planning is the sleeves. I really don't like how the puff sleeves look on me; my shoulders are wide enough without the added puffiness of sleeves, thankyouvermuch. But then I found this painting: 
I adore those sleeves. I'll just be altering the sleeves on my pattern. 'Nuff said. 

And no dress is complete without accessories! I really wanted to make a pineapple reticule, but my knitting skills are very lacking to figure out the pineapple bag pattern on Ravelry. So sad. But then, the Dreamstress did an inspiration post and sewed her own. I shall be making a pattern for that too, apparently.  
Then it came down to scouting out materials to actually make this dress. 
I already had left over peacock teal chantung in my stash (left over from an 1860's ball gown), and there would certainly be enough to make the open robe with that. Random side note: I think I have a thing for deep, saturated teals because that color is starting to dominate my ball gown selection. Now, I know that chantung is no where near historically accurate, the material is too nubby. A smooth fabric would have been a better choice. But, honestly, I'm not aiming for a perfect look. Yes, I do want to look the part, but you can't argue with a stash-busting project that can certainly do a fine job of things.

For the actual dress, I found a simple dotted Swiss at Joann's (of all places) that would do the job credibly and pearl buttons for the fancy sleeves. 

The sketched out result from lunch breaks, blog hopping, and Pinterest cruising.
All that being said, I should probably get sewing. ;)
Until next time!

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