Thursday, 15 January 2015

Looking Ahead to 2015, and 1815 ball gown plans

Well, since I've begun here by posting what I completed in 2014, I might as well add what I'm planning on doing in 2015. These posts are always fun to put together, but I find they usually fall apart about a month later when life intervenes or a new event is announced and suddenly you're sewing new things you'd never even planned on and everything else has gone out the window.

That's what happened two months ago, actually, when I heard about the Regency Ball on Valentines Day. I've never done Regency before, so the 1840s gown I've been working on had to go on hold. In light of this, the Regency gown and the 1840s will be the first two things on my list for this year, and they're definites: I have the fabric and I've begun working on them. The Regency ensemble nicely fits into the HSF's January challenge, Foundations, since I started working on my stays over Christmas and have to make every other type of foundation before February 14. The copper 1840s gown would fit really nicely with one of the challenges this fall, Brown, but I'd really like to have it done before then...

The Real List

- 1815 white and gold silk Regency ball gown, plus cotton undergown, modified shoes, and other accoutrements

- 1850s-ish (might become an 1860s) corset to replace the Lavinia H. Foy 1868 patent corset I made years ago, which has finally given out. I really need to stop wearing my 1890s corset with earlier stuff. And I'd rather not finalize my 1840s-50s bodice pattern until I have a proper corset to go under it.

- 1840s copper silk-cotton day dress with removable sleeves and additional pelerines for wearing as a slightly-behind-the-times-Rural-Ontario dress for the 1850s-60s. The waistlines are quite different for these periods, but based on some of the more rural day dresses I've seen it's not impossible to have a plain gown that, with, interchangeable berthas, pelerines, and sleeves, could be reasonable for each decade.

The Wish List

- A light blue Edwardian girl's dress for regular wearing for HSF February (Blue). If anyone's seen Tin Man, I'm thinking something a little like Young Azkadellia's dress from the Finaqua scenes, but with some influence from Little Red's dress in the new Into the Woods
- An 18th century quilted petticoat, finally (I've been planning this for two years now and it still hasn't happened)
- Edwardian corset from "hearts" patent
- Edwardian lace tea gown (I actually have part of a bolt of lace for this - I just don't have time for it right now)
- 1830s day dress for the Lowell Mill sew-along going on on facebook right now
- Something for each of the HSF challenges
- The 5 or 6 other corsets I've been eyeing (hah)
- A black wool and velvet English fitted gown from the mid/late 16th century - but now we're really getting into the "wishful" category.

I'll post more on the other projects as I get to them, but for now, here's a look at the 1815 project.

The 1815 Ball Gown

The gown is loosely inspired by this one, on display at the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto in their "Fashion Victims" exhibit:

However, it will be more closely based on these, which have the diagonal details on the bodice and various incarnations of stripes:

 <--- Silk gauze dress, 1806-1809. The main body and sleeves of my gown will be in a white sheer silk organza with the same teensy little opaque dimity stripes - they're about 1/16th of an inch wide.
<--- This is what I'm basing my bodice off of. It's blue pleats with tiny little folds of white silk net inserted between each pleat and sewn down. My inserts will be strips of figured gold silk organza, inspired by the figured gold silk edges on the gown in the Bata.

This is a white and gold silk gown from 1804-1814, held at the Met. It has the sort of stiff fabric and slim fit in front which I am aiming for (although it's hard to tell when it's laid out flat because the pleats in the back push the skirt out to the sides).

Above, left, is a fashion plate for a bridal dress from 1816. Ackermann. More little white-on-white stripes!

Above, middle, is a French evening gown from 1815, worn by Empress Josephine. This has the lower waistline which I prefer, and will be mimicking. No heavy beading and pearls for me, though, alas.

Above, right, is a striped silk dress from 1815, held at the Nordiska Museet. Stripes!

And finally, right, a fashion plate for a ball gown from 1819, this one not only striped but also sporting a stiff silk organza skirt. This one still has quite a high bodice, which is unusual for such a late gown. I will be ignoring that part of the design. =P

So, that's the plan for my Regency gown. White/sheer and gold silks with vertical woven-in stripes in the main fabric and diagonal gold pleats in the bodice. I have finished the stays and have only one more hook and eye to add to the bodiced petticoat. I'll buy fabric for the undergown tomorrow, drape it on Saturday (if I can drag my butt to the studio), and begin stitching asap. I have all my silks, and exactly one month from yesterday until the ball. Crossing my fingers that this is enough!


  1. I recreated the silk gauze gown from Napoleon and the Empire of Fashion from a lavender striped voile. Looking forward to your gown!