Thursday, March 1, 2012

Peach Beaded Ball Gown

A couple of weekends ago I attended an 1812 ball in Salem's Old Town Hall that was put on by the Commonwealth Vintage Dancers.  It was a fabulous ball!  The venue was great.  There were so many people, and pretty much everyone was dressed for the period.  I got there a little late (so hard to find parking in Salem!) so only danced 4 sets, but they were very fun.  There was an intermission with refreshments that was also lovely.  I met up with a friend there and made a few new ones as well!  So on to the stuff you're really here for, the pictures!



I was so pleased with my dress and how it came out!  There's just a couple little things that bother me, but I'm going to try to ignore them.  It's based on quite a few different fashion plates from around 1812.  It's a peachy pink silk shantung underdress with a beaded (and sequined) net overlay.  The net is not historically accurate, it has clear opalescent sequins on some of the flowers, but that made it sparkle so nicely!  It's covered with embroidery and there are round and marquis shaped pearls all over, one on each flower and around the scalloped hem border.  I think it's probably bridal fabric but it was just too pretty to pass up.  I had a very limited amount (I think 2 or 2.5 yards) and about the same of the silk, so I had to be very careful with it.  And I used up pretty much every bit of it!  I flatlined the net to the silk on the bodice and sleeves.  The skirt is left separate.  The underdress skirt is just a triangular shaped, no gathers skirt.  For the overlay I used a wide panel that I curved slightly in the middle.  I then pleated the rest of it in the back.  There are a few little tucks on the front and sides to help it lay better.  The one thing I'm disappointed about is that the net seemed to stretch with wear.  I had originally hemmed the pink silk skirt to hang about 1.5 inches below the "top" of the scalloped hem.  But I noticed by the end of the night they were basically the same length.  Which is a bummer as it's not like I can take the hem up.  I can let the silk hem down but I wanted it to be ankle length, especially as this makes it much easier to dance in.

I have a posture problem...  Photo courtesy of Quinn.

Don't mind the crooked back, my roommate had to mark it so it's a little off.  I couldn't tell in the mirror at the time.  Will be fixing that for sure.

With my friends at the ball.  Photo courtesy of Quinn.
I was pretty pleased with my accessories too!  I got to wear my new tiara to help camouflage the hair piece I was wearing.  I felt like a pretty princess!  I also wore my vintage kid leather elbow length gloves.  I found the perfect shoes at a dance store in Burlington.  And got them for a steal! I'd been looking at these ones online for forever and debating whether to buy them or not.  I put it off so long that it was only a few days from the ball and I didn't know what I'd wear for shoes.  I had some not so great options but I really wanted satin dancing slippers.  The dance store had these back in storage and I guess they'd been there forever because they told me "eh, ten dollars" when I asked their price.  They didn't have my exact size so I'd been debating between half size up or half size down but when I heard that I said, I'll take them both!  I wore the smaller ones to the ball but they definitely hurt by the end of the night.  I'm glad I bought two pairs as well because I have "elf toes" which totally put holes in shoes right over my big toe.  This is already happening on the smaller pair!  I'm glad that I'll still have some when that eventually goes all the way through.

Last but not least, my favorite accessory, and a totally last minute thing, my fan.  I will do a post about these soon.  I am so so excited that they've been working out.  It's actually almost totally period correct!  I will have to share the secret on that soon.  I mounted it literally 2 hours before the ball.  Luckily it dried quickly and I could use it by the time I got there.  It got a lot of compliments and I'm thinking maybe I need to teach a class or do a tutorial or something.  I've thought of selling them but they do take some time to make.  Anyway, like I said, more on that to come!

Thanks to Quinn for the picture!

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