Sunday, July 8, 2012

Ball open robe - Jane Austen Festival Bath 2012

1897 Gold striped open robe
This 1797 gold striped open robe over a white regency dress has inspired me to create a similar one with a gorgeous red and gold embroidered silk wedding saree that I have in the stash.

It will be my ball over gown for the Friday night finally of the festival.

This style shows the last remnants of the robe and petticoat mode of fashion that dominated the 18th century and as the fabric for my white dress was meant to have been an 'a la reine' its fitting to salute this period. Here's another version in the V&A collection.

It also means I can arrive grandly and if the dancing gets too vigorous for the train and my abilities to cope with it, I can repair to the powder room and return in my little white dress, still looking elegant, is this not a cunning plan?

Here's a beautiful version from Dames a la mode blog from 1804 , the yellow is divine, but sadly it never suits me, it makes me sallow, le sigh.

I do love the green drape in the gown on the right, simple and elegant, I am going to try that with a shawl and see if I can get it to work.

I am copying the details of the open robe in Nancy Bradfield's, Costume in Detail on p. 75.

I am also using the drawstring bodice from Sense and Sensibility's The Elegant Ladies Wardrobe pattern, but I cut the front bodice much lower as these patterns are extremely modest and I am less so.

Here are some shots, no sleeves and bodice and skirt just pinned together, front and back view with the train, isn't it glorious!

I haven't moved on with this open robe, I like it and would love to have such a swishy train, but frankly I feel that its too long, So I have decided to shorten to a far more manageable length and use the 'leftover' to add to the front of the open robe. So out with the un-picker and an evening of frog stitching!

Here it is recut and redraped on Ermi, the train is now much shorter and there is more open robe at the front.

Front view, simple and plain, all the detail is at the back
Skirt and bodice attached, gathered and pleated and looking lovely!

I need to do the hem, add some bling to the sleeves and then is complete.


  1. Looks lovely! I really like the style of the dress too!

  2. That saree is magnificent! It did look impressive with the full train, but wouldn't have lasted long in good condition :P

    1. Thank you and your probably right, but then it wouldn't have been worn often, probably to one or two formal events :)


I love to read your comments and thoughts on my posts.