Silk 1882 ballgown
1882 ballgown for the Cowboy Christmas Ball at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Center in OKC. Historically correct from the lining up. The design was one of my own and borrowed ideas from exant dress on antiquedress.com as well as period fashion magazines from my collection.
I had purchased the silk brocade/jacqard some time ago on a sale table, and when I knew I had to create a gown from what was already in my stash, this called out to me.The gold is a light- taffeta weight silk. While the soft white satin is a heavier/drapier piece.
The skirt is built on a foundation utilizing multi- layers that only exend on the cotton base as far as will show on the finished garment- thus, reducing bulk at the corseted waistline. False hems of drill are used on all parts of the gown to provide weight, flow and strength. Undermost front, faced satin bottom is edged first with embroidered net lace, and then with a 10 inch wide book lined knife pleated ruffle. This is covered by a dagged and piped front overskirt. This in turn is topped by a beaded front apron that was hand beaded onto a twill tape waistline, and tacked in place along the sides to hold it center front. A draped side skirt piece was then added to the sides. The back of the skirt was faced with satin and then trimmed on the top with the embroidered net lace. The back drapery of the skirt was cut wider and longer than the foundation skirt. it was then self lined, and book lined pleating was added to the hem of this drapery. When the arrangement was final the draping was hand sewed along the sides and around the base of the the pleating to hold it in place during the dancing. It was finished out by a satin bow, tacked in place to keep it looking neat.
The bodice is cut in true 1880’s style and is completely flat lined and boned. It features hand covered buttons spaced an inch apart, and a low square neckline- when set off by the hand stitched ruffle gives it a Queen Anne look. The sleeves have a pleated insert down the side at an angle. This seam is set off by embroidered net lace. Embroidered net lace ruffles at the elbow and a hand stitched pleated trim over the top of that.
What sets this gown apart is detail- from using a period correct drafting system, to copying extant garmet construction techniques.
The finished gown- all silk- gold silk jacquard and soft white silk/cotton satin, hand beaded overskirt, embroidered net lace
back draping detail- book lined knife pleating and lace. The lace is at the top of the pleating detail- notice that the hem does not show on the ruffle- it is entirely lined with muslin to give it durability and shape.
Beading in progress on the board
Side view showing historical line of the gown and the side draperies of the overskirt. Two muslins were required to get the shape needed while still being able to cut each overskirt in one piece.
back of ballgown skirt, showing book lined pleating at hem over the satin underskirt, drapery arrangement creating the bustle look, and satin bow. Notice how well it looks even after a full night of dancing!