Finished Project: 18th Century Gala Dress

A little tardy, but here’s sharing one of my recently completed projects!  This is the dress I made to wear to the gala at Costume College this year.

For my gala dress I decided on a dress inspired by a few images I had seen.  One was an original period fashion plate (I’m sorry, I don’t remember the source of the fashion plate image found online), and one was a dress in the collection of the Kyoto Costume Institute:

I had had a lovely creame and green striped silk taffeta in my fabric stash for a long time.  It was a lucky find for just $6 a yard, and I had originally expected to make it into something late 1860s, but then it called to me and said it wanted to be something 1780s instead.

I started with a base of a pattern from Janet Arnold called the Robe L’Anglaise a La Polonaise, circa 1770-1780 (I believe was the title).  I used this same base for my Curtain Along dress, so I needed very little fitting to get it to work right.  I altered it significantly, changing it to be more like the “zone front” look I wanted.

I don’t have many progress pictures, as I was frantically trying to finish this dress in time (and had the help of my friend, Beth, with hemming in the hotel room!).


After basic bodice assembly, before the contrast fabric.

Madly trying to pleat using my 1/4″ wide stripes as a guide.  It nearly made me cry, and it took all day, and it was all done by hand, but I did it!

Pleats finished on the day I wore it!

And finished garment shots:

A few pictures by the talented Jerry Abuan:

And one of my favorite shots of the weekend… this is Stephanie of A Star Spangled Heart and I leading our little group through the mall for dinner before the gala!  We did get some funny looks and comments, but it was fun :)

Leimomi (the Dreamstress) said quail was finished recently enough to meet the “Robes and Robings” challenge for The Historical Sew Fortnightly, so this is my entry for that challenge :)

12 Comments on Finished Project: 18th Century Gala Dress

  1. Jennifer Rosbrugh
    August 19, 2013 at 7:32 pm (11 years ago)

    Completely awesome my dear!

  2. Stephanie
    August 19, 2013 at 7:38 pm (11 years ago)

    You looked amazing. :)

  3. kathyh
    August 19, 2013 at 8:14 pm (11 years ago)

    I am impressed. Love the green striped fabric.

  4. kathyh
    August 19, 2013 at 8:15 pm (11 years ago)

    I meant to add:
    Your hat is a lovely proportion to the dress. Stunning.

  5. Isis
    August 19, 2013 at 9:27 pm (11 years ago)

    It is beautiful!

  6. Siri Andersen
    August 19, 2013 at 9:48 pm (11 years ago)

    Your dress is spectacular! Oh how I wish I had a reason for wearing such a gown…
    You did great on the pleats, clearly you have a patient (and very skilled) soul ;)

  7. Mr. Tiny
    August 19, 2013 at 10:53 pm (11 years ago)

    Incredible as always!!! I can’t imagine making all of those pleats by hand. I can’t help but want some more info on your unbelievable hat and hair!!!

  8. Karin
    August 20, 2013 at 12:14 am (11 years ago)

    Wundervolle Arbeit! Phantastisch!
    Viele Grüsse aus Deutschland

  9. Amy
    August 20, 2013 at 5:59 am (11 years ago)

    That’s some amazing work! You did a fantastic job!

  10. Kristina Rose
    August 21, 2013 at 7:01 am (11 years ago)

    This is absolutely gorgeous! I’ve always longed for a reason to make/wear these sorts of dresses and am shamelessly quite jealous! The fabric is perfect and the fact that you did all of those tiny pleats by hand is just amazing.

  11. Shani
    August 21, 2013 at 10:14 pm (11 years ago)

    This is absolutely amazing! I am a history major and I am fascinated by clothing from all times. I just started following you! cant wait to see more!

  12. Noël
    September 11, 2013 at 3:21 pm (11 years ago)

    Your creations are so fantastic!

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