Inspriation – New Regency ballgown?

November last year I went to a Regency ball in my newly finished flowered dress. Of course, as soon as the evening was out, I wanted to make a new dress. My 1860’s velvet dress came first though, but now I’m actually nearing the end of that project I’m allowing myself to think about a new one. My goal is to first make a chemise and short stays, but after that to make a ball gown.

I’ve been looking for inspiration pictures, and I really wanted to make a white dress this time, because it’s so common in this time period. I do not, however, want the dress to become too plain. Although regency dresses seem quite simple compared to 18th century and Victorian gowns, there’s a lot of beautiful details to be found. My favourite type of white recency dresses are the ones which are made of lace, but finding the correct fabric for those for a price I can actually afford will be dificult, so I quickly put that out of my head.

They’re lovely though:

Rijksmuseu, ca. 1815 – ca. 1820

Metmuseum, 1805–10

So, what other options are there? Well, there’s also a lot of examples of white dresses with striking colour details! I always especially liked the dress in the fashion plate below. I love the red/white contrast, and the bow at the front is, of course, adorable:

The only thing I like less about this plate is the trim at the bottom, which would make it a bit too heavy for my taste. So I’ll have to think of someting else. Maybe pleats such as in the one below, or maybe just a red border?

I’ve also been looking at bodice styles. I know I’ll want the general shape to be as in the picture, but I’m still debating on pleats, gathers or a smooth style. I think I like the middle option of the ones below best. And I love the little pieces of lace in the first two pictures.

A smooth bodice, with lovely lace.

Just slightly gathered

This one is a bit more gathered

Finally, I can’t really figure out how the red part on the sleeves work, but I found this painting which has a similar idea. It’s pale pink instead of red, but it would work I think. I like this picture a lot, also the delicate lace, so I might try to replicate the sleeves in this way.