An 1860s sheer ball gown

It is nearing the end of summer in the American South and the sweltering heat has me thinking of Fall and a new ball gown. I am putting the bodice together now. I have chosen a semi sheer “linen colored” embroidered cotton I have had lying around in my studio for YEARS now. For some reason, I seem to be wildly fond of gathered front gowns… and semi sheer fabrics.
With this bodice, I have chosen to pleat the outer layer of the bodice and use a fitted lining. Thus far I am very pleased with the way it is turning out. I like the little fanned peplum going on in the front. Too bad it will be covered up when I put the waistband on. But it does give me an idea for a future dress….

1860s ball gown bodice  1860s ball gown bodice
Detail of Bodice pleating
1860s era ball gown bodice lining
Interior bodice lining with light boning

1860s ball gown skirt
Ball gown skirt over cage/ without petticoats

About Susan

Hi! My name is Susan and I am a historian, seamstress, teacher, mother, and wife. My passion for history has manifested itself in the art of recreating clothing from different periods of time. Growing up in the American South, I am heavily schooled in the art of recreating clothing from the 19th century. After nearly a decade of immersing myself primarily in the Victorian period, I found the need to branch out and explore other periods of time. However, it is my connection with the American South and the clothing of rural America that continues to be the driving force behind my designs.