Month: July 2017

Regency Sari Ballgown – Part 1

With the ball at Wentworth Falls coming up, I was looking at a ballgown. Firstly a white on white embroidery gown, but I am still very much learning my embroidery. So instead I decided to go with a dress made from an Indian sari, much easier and even authentic.

After some Googling I chose this sari from CBazaar, going for a border I could use as a hem and some decoration I could use for the skirt. It arrived promptly, and I have started to play with it on my mannequin and the jewellery I plan to wear with it.

The design I have is fairly basic, but the key is the cutting out to take advantage of the sari’s embroidery. Next month we have a sewing day for our club, and with the help of the more experienced seamstresses I will cut it out and make a start to it.

Accessories for the budget costumer

Making historical costumes can require significant investment in time and money. But what completes a costume and makes it look more authentic is accessories, and these need not be expensive or even difficult to acquire. These are just a few that I have noticed and I may post again if I see more.


A must-have accessory for ladies and gents, particularly at balls. Kitten Damour sells satin, fishnet and lace gloves in black and white. For evening wear, Costume Box has a range of elbow-length gloves.

Fans and Parasols

A good place to look for cheap fans and parasols is websites that sell wedding favours. Such as Favours Plus, JJs House and Pink Frosting.

Hats and Shoes

These are perhaps the most expensive, but what helps is doing research as well as keeping your eyes open. I recently purchased my dancing slippers for the regency from Big W, they were ballet flats. The same with hats which can be easily decorated with ribbons and artificial flowers.

Regency High Tea Katoomba – 17th September

As part of the Wentworth Falls Regency Weekend in September, the Historical Picnic Society will be hosting a high tea on the 17th September at the Carrington Hotel in Katoomba. This will be from 2.30pm until 5pm, a good way for a final get together before we leave the mountains.

Prices and details are as follows on the website of the hotel. If you are interested in attending, please RSVP through Facebook no later than August the 19th to secure numbers.

Jane Austen 200th Anniversary

Today marks the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death. There have been many events today to commemorate     this, and I attended the a lecture and morning tea at City of Ryde Library. The lecture was given by Paul Brunton, Emeritus Curator at the State Library of NSW, an authority on the 18th century and a long time Austen fan.

I attended in costume, promoting the society and the upcoming events we have. Hopefully I saw you there1



French 18th Century court dress – Part 4

Once the bodice was done, I was in the home stretch for the gown!

Firstly, it needed more support in the undergarments. I changed the petticoat to have quilted panels down the bottom to better support the weight of the skirt. The quilted fabric I got from the charity fabric shop, it reeked heavily of mothballs and had to be washed thoroughly to get the smell out.

After that I managed to finish the dress relatively quickly once I got the fabric, all in all I estimate about 15 metres of jacquard fabric went into this dress!

At this stage I still have a little way to go, need some more metallic trim and I need the proper stays (corset) to properly finish it off. I will post more when I have more updates about the construction of the stays.



French 18th Century Court Dress – part 3

I found some lovely silver trim at a charity fabric shop near me, unfortunately it meant that it would be impossible to get more. The trim did a very good job of hiding the overlocker stitching as well as breaking up the fabric pattern. This was all hand-stitching with invisible thread.

Then had the problem of finding more trim that was similar, not an easy task! I managed to locate some in the UK through Ebay, it wasn’t exactly alike but I thought it was about as good as I was going to get.

The next task was to do the bodice, which I had to do some modifications. Firstly, it did not seem to be made for particularly big busted people so I would need to make it bigger. Secondly, I wanted to make it more authentic by having the stomacher detatchable.

The first one was fairly simply, I cut pattern pieces out of some fabric scraps and used my mannequin to construct the rest as I would need it. I highly recommend getting one if you are a costumer! It is so good to be able to see your work as it will look on you!

After that the bodice was easy to create.

To make the stomacher detatchable was even simpler. I cut two of the pattern piece in calico and used American Duchess’ suggestion of cable ties for boning. I know there are other things you can use that are more authentic, but you can get these very long and very easily.

Once it was covered with my fabric, I added the trims and some ties so it can be pinned on.

So, here it is all together!

Next time, finishing it all up!