1860’s ball gown

So in the interest of continuing my trend of posting I decided to post about my current project, an 1860’s ball gown.

So I had this silk… I bought it when fabric.com was having at sale on silk taffeta a month or two ago. It’s a bit dark for my taste but it’s the first silk I’ve bought so I’m darn well going to use it! They sent me a few meters extra of the stuff because they had to send it in several pieces so there is plenty to go around. I decided to make a separate day and evening bodice that share the same skirt. See under the cut for my sketch and more details.


The design for the day bodice and the skirt trimmings come for this 1856 fashion plate here. I’ve already got the bodice mostly put together but I shortened the front point and used 1860’s seam lines and such to update it a few years.

The ball gown bodice trimming is from this example from Montreal’s McCord Museum which I highly recommend you check out if you’re ever in montreal. I’ve visited the past couple of summers and their special exhibits have always been excellent. Anyway, my dilemma comes from wanting to maintain the blue(ish) and black colours of the original fashion plate but I’m not sure what the third colour for the lacing and organza trimming would be. For now I’m thinking white but it might just come down to what fabric I can find. I’m interpreting the decoration as pleated organza and net on the bottom of the ribbon with lace on top. I might even work up some simple scalloped needle lace for that.

So far I have been working on the day bodice. I need to pick of some for hooks and eyes before I can get much farther. Next up are the chemisette, and undersleeves which I will post about as they progress

I’m way tired so time for sleep now. Good night!


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