Tuesday, July 5, 2011

White Ballgown - Progress

With only two and a half more days until we leave for Kentucky, I am very pleased that the majority of my work is done. My ballgown is completely finished except for trim. As I am still considering what trim to put on it, that is fine.

Right now is just a very basic, white, regency gown. I adore it. :) I have always wanted a sheer white, short sleeved, low-necked gown and this is it!

David is of the opinion that the neck is too low, though. It covers my stays and shift, but that is about it. I am thinking of adding a small ruffle to the neckline and also at the sleeve bands, and, possibly, the skirt hem to dress it up a bit as well as add a bit more height to the neckline, so as to make David more comfortable. ;)

And then the fun of ribbons and bows and such. I have several shades of green ribbon as well as some pretty, teeny little greenish-white-with-palest-pink flowers to use. I decided to go with a ruched bodice, quite last minute! I was originally going to do a drawstring neckline and make what would be an 1806 version of the late 18th century chemise dress. I came across several plates depicting this ruched bodice though, and I loved it, so I went with it. That's always fun. Live flexibly and go with the flow. :)



  1. Hi Sarah,

    the dress is lovely. Will there be something underneath it? I'm guessing a slip or something. The bodice being too low? I thought that was the style for women of the day..to have low bodices. At least that's what I remember watching the "Regency House Party" reality documentary series. However, adding some ruffles will look lovely :) :) Oh, I can't wait to see the finished product. You always do such a lovely job of everything you make :) :) Have a great week, Sarah. Love and hugs from Oregon, Heather :)

  2. Well, that's just amazing! It looks like it could be part of a museum collection. The neckline is perfect, from an historical perspective, but I'm sure it will look just as nice with a little something to bring it up. It's downright matronly compared to the cover of Napoleon and the Empire of Fashion, no?

  3. How beautiful! If you need to fill in the neckline a bit, perhaps some sort of chemisette-like garment might do the trick, or a lace or net fichu that could be tucked around the neck edge. I've seen references to British and American women who filled in their low French Empire necklines this way. Sadly, where and when I read this is escaping me at the moment.

    Regardless, you and your well-dressed family will be the highlight of the ball I am sure!

  4. This bodice design is incredible! The dress is absolutely beautiful. Did you just finish the neck edge with a binding, or is there a drawstring in there to snug it up against your chest? I think the proportions of the dress are perfect, btw.

  5. Sarah, it's absolutely perfect! Great choice of bodice, it's such a sweet and yet unique look. You will look like a regency princess for sure! I don't know if you have time (or the sewing inclination) but a colored petticoat would be stunning underneath.

  6. Eeeee! It looks lovely! I think the neck might be a tad low -- but that's also just me being used to 1860s. I'm not as familiar with Regency gowns.

    The fabric really turned out to be wonderfully sheer and so appropriate for this gown! It's lovely to see it made up!!


  7. What an amazingly beautiful dress. I love the simplicity and fine details

  8. Dear Sarah,
    the dress looks stunning.
    Would you mind revealing how you've sewn the back of the bodice? Are are there buttons, ribbon ties or hooks/eyes?!

  9. Wow, wow, wow!!!
    This dress is awesome!
    If you feel uncomfortable with this low neckline, a ruffle or a lace triming would be a good solution I think, but personally I don't think it too low. I would try out if everything stays in place when you are moving and jumping while dancing there is nothing more embarassing as when you are in danger to loose your dres while dancing...
    My hubby does rather encourage me to wear low necklines ;) but for Davids 1860's eyes used to see you in highneck civilwardresses it shurely looks shocking

    BTW: what Mme. Hamelin wears here is a REALLY immodest neckline ;)

  10. Thanks ladies! :) I'm so glad you all like it - I was worried it looked a bit too modern, especially the bodice style.

    The back closes with hooks and eyes; in all ways it is the same back as the one on my white striped day dress as I used the same pattern, but cut down the front for this bodice, and made the lining up with darts and mounted the ruched outer layer on top of that. If I can get the trim all finished up today I'll have David take some pics later tonight.

    Yes, the neckline is definitely more covering than some of the other necklines of the era - because of the nature of the stays, there isn't even any cleavage, so I don't know what David's issue is. : / Victorian prudishness, I guess, if Victorian prudishness isn't a myth!

    I did end up adding some 2" wide ruching to the neckline and will put the same just above the skirt hem to help weigh the skirt down so it drapes better. I do like the look, but its just tacked on so I can take it off easily whenever I want to change out the trim. :)

  11. I think a ruffle at the neck and sleeves would be lovely! And green ribbon...my favorite color :-)

  12. Simply Beautiful!!! I love the bodice. ;o) And I don't think the neckline is too low - especially if there's no clevage.

    I can't wait to see you wearing it with all the extra little things like period hair and ribbons.

    You've done such a lovely, lovely job of preparing for this event! I do hope you'll share pictures!

  13. This is lovely! I adore the bodice -- it looks like it will be very flattering. I can't wait to see your pictures of the Festival!


Thank you for your lovely thoughts!