Ball Gown in the making! Part 1

It’s been awhile but doing this ball gown thing has never been far from my mind. A few weeks ago I decided to do a mock up using two skirts that were too small. I was going for this look.

evening dress_la belle assemblee_june 1812

Here’s how it turned out. I did the sleeves differently (ugh. I did them wrong like 14 times first!)

IMG_1853 - Copy

I actually made it too big. I didn’t really measure so the middle panel ended up taking up too much space. And I had problems with those stupid sleeves. They kept sliding down.

I’ve gone back and forth a few times on thinking I could do this or not. I’m moving out of state and spent all of last week with my husband and kids in a hotel house hunting in the new town. The weekend before that I was at the beach with my mom’s side of the family. It rained the whole time. Actually, it rained all of last week too. And it’s supposed to rain most of this week. I’m very tired of rain!

Anyway, tonight I decided to give it a go. I figured if it didn’t work I’d just wear one of my other modern dresses. I felt a little bad cutting up my wedding dress with little guarantee this would work but it’s just sat in my closet otherwise, so why not? Below I’ve cut off the tulle for the crinoline underneath and the organza overlay.

IMG_1886 IMG_1885 - Copy IMG_1884 - Copy

It took a few false starts. I realized I didn’t have enough fabric (from the train) to do a cut all the way down the middle like I did in my mock up. So then I tried just doing part of it and that was not working. So I cut off the bodice and made a new one from train. I threw straps on it last minute to help hold it up. They may not stay since I do plan on doing sleeves still. It was almost midnight and I just wanted this phase to be done, so don’t worry the chest will lay flatter. I know it looks more like a 1950s negligee or something but have patience.


Tomorrow I’ll do the bodice overlay and sleeves. The petticoat will be longer so you won’t see all of my legs like you do in in the pic.

Here’s the bodice I’ll be cutting up to do the laced corset overlay.


It’s a lot of white so I think I’ll do a colored ribbon for the corset look. Of course, white was the color to use back then, but it feels weird to me. So, it should end up looking a bit like these:

ball gown_la belle assemblee_august 1812 evening dress_la belle assemblee_december 1812

Sleeves may end up kind of like the above right or like this one.

Ackermann's_August 1812_sleeve

So, I think it’s not bad for being entirely free and me having no earthly idea what I’m doing and have never followed a pattern in my life. It only needs to survive a few hours of dress up. I should finish it up tomorrow!

3 thoughts on “Ball Gown in the making! Part 1

  1. What a brave and patient soul you are. It looks great! I could never do it and to have someone else do it would be out of range for me financially. Thanks for sharing and enjoy wearing it.


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