Regency Ball Ensemble Post #4: The Ballgown!

I saved posting about the actual gown for the Regency Ball so that I could make it my entry for the last Historical Sew Fortnightly challenge of the year, #26: Celebrate!

One of the ‘rules’ of the HSF is that items should not be finished more than about 6 weeks before the challenge due date (I think).  This one just made it in being finished a little over 5 weeks beforehand.  Even if it hadn’t quite fit in I probably would have cheated and entered it anyway because it was too perfect not too, being made explicitly for a celebration.  And not just any celebration, but the commemoration of bicentennial of one of the most influential books on current costume afficiandos: Pride & Prejudice.

I would have preferred more and better photos for this post, but for now the ones we were able to get in the low lighting of the ‘ballroom’ will have to do.

Here are the HSF details:

The Challenge: #26: Celebrate!

The Item: Regency Ballgown (& ensemble) for a ball in honour of the bicentennial of P&P’s first publishing

Fabric: pale blue dupioni (but a very smooth one), silk organza from an Indian shawl, ,

Pattern: I started with Sense and Sensibility’s Elegant Lady’s Closet bodice pattern for the wrap gown and ball sleeves as a base but modified them a great deal and took off from there on my own.

Year: c. 1813

Notions: ivory and gold trim bought in Istanbul, little buttons for the back closure and for the neckline pull-backs at the shoulders, narrow gold trim/thread I braided to trim the front edges of the overlay and the loops at the shoulders, pale blue braid trim (possibly vintage) for around the neckline and sleeve bands.

How historically accurate is it? It’s mostly machine sewn (I didn’t have time to hand-sew it up) with hand-sewn details so big points off for that.  And it’s a mish-mash of dates spanning c. 1800 to almost 1820.  The trim is made of synthetic fibres too.  However, besides that I have to say that I think many a young lady during the Regency period would have been happy to wear this dress so I’ll give myself 70%.

Hours to complete: Quite a lot over 3 weeks

First worn: November 30th to the local Regency Ball

Total cost: All came from stash so no money spent directly on this.  I would estimate a total of about $50-$60 thinking back on when I did buy this stuff and the amounts of it I used on the dress.

It was a very windy evening and we were having hair issues to begin with (the rag curls I tried to do didn’t work out as well as I’d hoped) so my hair is not nearly what I wish it to have been, but oh well.

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Regency Ball Ensemble Post #3: The Turban!

After the dress, this piece was my favourite one to make for the ensemble.  Hats and headwear are just so much fun to do!

I’m also entering this one for the Historical Sew Fortnightly Challenge #25: One Metre

Here are the specs:

The Challenge: #25: One Metre – use only 1 metre of fabric or less, and preferably not tons of trimming

Fabric: less than 1 metre of pale blue silk dupioni (or shantung – it’s very smooth)

Pattern: None, but I used information from The Oregon Regency Society

Year: c. 1813

Notions: approx. 1m of trim, 1 feather, 1 tassel, 1 button, 1 piece of found-object jewellery, fabric scraps

How historically accurate is it? the foundation of the hat is machine sewn, but the rest is draped and hand-sewn; this conforms not badly with styles and materials from the time, so I’m giving it 70%

Hours to complete: approx. 5hrs (give or take)

First worn: November 30th to the local Regency Ball

Total cost: All made from scraps and stash items, so $0

Being historical-hair-impaired I am grateful that turbans were such a big thing for Regency formalwear, and so many of them are such fun!  Since I was already playing rather fast and loose with the date of my Ballgown, I wasn’t particular about the specific date for my turban, choosing inspiration according to what took my fancy instead.

Here are some examples I felt particularly drawn to

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from La Belle Assemblee, April 1818

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Regency Ball Ensemble, Post #1: Shoes!!

My work on the Tree Gown has been neglected much of November because of something that came up.  In late October a friend alerted me to a program being run by our local library system for the month of November commemorating the bicentennial Pride & Prejudice’s first publication.  There were events scattered throughout the month (that I didn’t make it to), culminating in Regency Ball the evening of November 30th!  There is also a dance workshop happening for it earlier the same day.  I signed up for both!  The Ball is being held at City Hall.  The building dates from the 1840s, but I’m willing to let that slide ;o)

[photo of Kingston City Hall]
This is the room the Ball will be held in:
red boot festival
So, long story short, this impending event meant that I decided I needed a Regency Ball ensemble.  The Regency dress I already have just wasn’t gonna cut it.  I’m betting hardly anyone else would notice too much, but it felt like too good an opportunity to pass up.

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