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Story of a Custom 1860's Ballgown 1

Story of a Custom Colonial Gown

Story of a Custom 1860's Best Dress

How to get started on a Custom Project



For a ballgown the design idea may start with a dream dress on a fashion plate.

In this case the young lady needed a typical "coming out dress" and she particularly liked the gown on the left. 

She liked the colors and the flowers, but not the extra effect on the bottom of the skirt, and we were able to accomodate her wishes and recreated the design in cotton organdy for an authentic effect.

Click to learn more about age appropriate ballgowns.

Frank Leslie's August 1860
"...this month …two very pretty ball dresses; which will be found to possess the double merit of elegance and moderate price.

Left: …of either tulle or tarletan…over a slip of white silk is worn a plain skirt with full puffing for about a depth of 15 inches. This is confined by delicate long sprays of foliage, set on diagonally. Over this an upper skirt of the same, cut a good deal longer than the under one, so as, when looped up on each side of the front, to fall into large puffs…The corsage is made low and with a deep point. A full puffing of tulle is carried across the bosom…A rich blonde lace finishes the top, adding greatly to the softness of effect. The sleeves are single puffs, with a bouquet on each, and another on the corsage.….

Right: This dress is of pink and white tarletane, flounced almost to the waist, the two colors being set alternatively on a white skirt. The flounces are pinked. The corsage of pink silk covered with tarletane, with a small plain sleeve. A round bertha, entirely concealing it, is covered with narrow flounces; and the wide sash ends are trimmed to match


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