Regency Brocade Gown, Part I: Fabric and Design


I’m taking a quick break from the Embassy ballgown to post about another project I recently started– a Regency ballgown that I’m going to wear to a dance weekend at the beginning of April. While I do plan on wearing my burgundy dupatta open robe for the first night, I’m ready to make something new for the Grand Ball the next evening!

I do love beautiful textiles. Even when I was a kid I’d go to fabric/craft stores and buy beautiful ribbon by the quarter-yard just to have it, not necessarily to make anything with it (yeah, the people at the cutting counter just *loved* me, I’m sure). And some of the most beautiful fabrics in the world are Indian saris, at least in my humble opinion. I was on a sari-buying kick a while back, figuring that I’d use them to make Edwardian or Regency gowns, and while I’ve managed to use a cotton sari and a silk dupatta, the rest have languished in my closet for far too long.

But no more! For this project I’m going to use a gorgeous navy blue and gold sari– it has a fabulous pallu that’s not only brocaded, but also embroidered with bullion thread and sewn with tiny pearl beads. It’s just begging to be shown off at a fancy event!

The plain dark blue fabric on the right actually started off life as a medium royal blue cotton voile that looked a lot darker on my computer screen than it did in real life. Fortunately, a packet of navy blue iDye and three washing machine cycles later, I had a nice dark blue to go with my sari. It’s nice and lightweight, perfect for dancing (but sheer enough that I would never wear it as a single layer).

To take full advantage of the sari fabric I’m going to make the skirt in two layers– a shorter overskirt that I can make from the width of the sari (barely 38″), and a longer underskirt that will be bordered in a panel made from splitting the pallu in half. I’ll mount the panel on the plain cotton to conserve my pretty fabric for where it counts. The V-shaped panel at the neckline will also let me display a little more of the beautiful gold borders.




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