My first Regency Ballgown

From research I know not all Regency ball gowns were white.  But of course, for my first one, I wanted a classic look -so white it was.

I was way short on time.  It was Friday, and I had a work trip leaving on a Tuesday,  and would be going straight to the ball without being able to go home.  This meant I had only the weekend to create.  I went on line at amazon and bought what looked like it would be a thin/sheerish 100% cotton sari, with a simple gold border.  I paid the extra on top of my prime subscription to get it on Saturday so I could get working on it.  I already had a pattern, the Laughing moon drop front pattern.

The Sari arrived mid day on Saturday.  The fabric was a bit stiff, but a great level of sheerness.  so I threw it in the washing machine to get rid of any sizing in it.  I then left for the fabric store to see if I could find any trim I wanted to use -or any suitable fabric in case I couldn’t get it softened up enough to make a dress with a decent drape.  The only fabric stores left in town are big box stores, so I didn’t have much hope.  There were no lightweight cottons and, of course, no silk.  But I found some lace that had embroidered flowers that looked like they might make nice appliqués on the dress to fake a nice embroidered border on my “muslin.”

I also decided to Re-work the pattern so that it buttoned down the back.  Pressed for time, I just winged it and didn’t do a muslin of the bodice first.  The pattern went together well, but I struggled with the puffed sleeves -I kept getting the gators caught up in the seam alowance and had to rip out the sleeve several times.  I also, frustratingly once sewed it in backwards with the seam allowance to the outside on the sleeves. I tell you this so you know, it happens to us all.  I whipped together the dress on Sunday – but for the handwork and appliqués.  But I also realized that it was so sheer that I needed a bodiced petticoat to go under it to be able to wear it.

I didnt have time to order fabric for the petticoat, and I wanted it to be Gold to have a shimmer of color coming from underneath. Sigh.  I bought some polyester matte satin at the local big box store at lunch on Monday.  Monday night I took the pattern for the dress and basically made it, again fastening in the back, but without the sleeves and a shrunken front section so it wouldn’t peak out while being worn.  Safety pins would have to close the back when worn was my decision.

I went on my business trip and when flying to St Louis to join Barb for the ball, I did the hemming and other handwork and started sewing on the appliqués.  When I got to Barb’s house we only had a couple of hours before the ball.  I had bought the iron on stuff you used to fuse hems as an emergency measure to attach the appliqués.  barb had some larger sheets of this type of material, and they worked better because you could custom cut to the exact size of the appliqués.  I  ironed on the remaining appliqués, and we headed to the ball!  Here is the final product!


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