This Regency ball gown is made with deep red silk velvet and designed based on the red velvet gown purported to be a gown Dolley Madison had made from the silk velvet curtains she saved from the White House during the British attack during the War of 1812.
The fullness of the skirt more toward the back and the full puff sleeves are indicative of the later Regency period, 1810-1815. This gown has been entirely hand finished to create as accurate a period look as possible, including pick stitches around the neckline to keep the velvet laying smooth.
The Challenge: Gender Bender- April 2016 as Dolley was a woman who out maneuvered many a man in fabulous style- a woman ahead of her time!
Fabric: Silk Velvet, Silk Taffeta lining, silk thread
Pattern: Drafted to look as close to picture as possible, using previous regency day dress bodice for layout and train based on museum piece laid flat, more substantial bodice for proper support and coverage
Notions: silk thread
How historically accurate is it? As close to the picture as I could get along with comparison to other extant garments, historical sewing techniques used including hand felling throughout and pick stitching edge of bodice
Hours to complete: Total: 22 (Cutting and Fitting: 2, Hand Sewing: 20)
First worn: Regency Squeeze Fundraiser, March 12, 2016
Total cost: $210 fabric- silk velvet and taffeta, thread unknown
- Ball Gown of deep red silk velvet- color a little darker than the original based on comparative portraits and the assumption that the original has faded over time- it now looks tomato red
- Bodice lined with silk taffeta
- Machine sewn inner seams
- Hand finished (hems, edging, interior felling)
First Wearing (when mostly finished) at the Predominantly Playford Ball, December 2015
The Original Dress: