Regency Ivory Gown, Refreshed

I recently attended a Regency ball, which is usually my excuse to make something new and pretty to wear. However, as I’d just finished cleaning out my closet I couldn’t really justify making a brand-new gown (also, no time), so I decided to freshen up an old one– my ivory sheer ballgown, originally worn under a burgundy open robe made of a vintage dupatta.

regency-open-robe-2 regency-sheer-done

I’d worn the burgundy open robe a few times already, but without it the ivory gown just seemed too plain. I dug through my stash and pulled out a vintage chiffon dupatta in forest green, leftover from when I was collecting fabric for my 1920s green evening dress.

I had the vague idea that I’d drape it over the ivory gown to mimic the Greek revival look that characterized much of the early Regency– there are several fashion plates and paintings depicting women in Greek-inspired outfits, or flat out posing as Greek women lounging on couches. My most influential example:


I ended up tacking the dupatta to one shoulder and catching it on the front side with a gold ribbon around the empire waist, leaving it trailing freely behind. I used thread loops at the waistline to keep the ribbon in place. Finally, I accessorized with a gold metal coronet of leaves from eBay. I felt very period, given that it was extremely common at the time to freshen up old dresses with new bits and bobs, and I think the final look turned out really nicely!

Regency greek columns.jpg

(Okay, I admit to playing with the background a little in Photoshop… but the dress is still lovely!)

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