1860’s Ball Gown

Hello everyone!

Today’s post is all about me rambling about my next historical project, which as I’m sure you can guess from the title will be from the 1800’s. I decided after completing my 1500’s ensemble I wanted to tackle something from a completely different era. The 1800’s is such a diverse era too, with a variety of styles and silhouettes over 100 years. I thought a ballgown would be a lot of fun too as it would give me an opportunity to make some foundation garments such as a petticoat and a corset which I’m really excited to attempt to make! With the dress being a ball gown it will have to have embellishments!! Another thing I’m excited for, I really want to go about expanding my skills further with this project!!!
After doing some research through Pintrest and museum collections I have found the 1860’s to be most appealing to me, can you guess that is also has some of the most elaborate ballgowns from the era?
Below are some dress’s from this period starting with my favorite!

I also found this dress the morning after posting on the ‘Corseted Beauty’ FB page. Ballgown, England, ca. 1865. Berlin State Museums
Isn’t it just beautful!! I love the beautiful layers at the back of the dress. I don’t think I weant my dres to have a train but the overall silloett is lovely. I also adore the bodice, I think hunting for lace will be very fun for this project.

And this beautiful painting of  Princesse de Broglie, which was completed in 1853. Although its not in the exact period I’m taking inspiration from  it won’t hurt as its only 7 years prior!! I love the headdress she’s wearing too, completing my ensemble with a headdress would really top it off.


I love all of the frills and lace incorporated into this era, it looks so beautiful. Its something that I want to achieve with this costume.

Under the dress

Like I said earlier I would like to make foundation garments to go with this ensemble.
In my mind I currently have the idea of making a period accurate corset.

And a floor length petticoat (to be worn over a crinoline)
With a correct crinoline shape only a single layer petticoat is needed. Buuuut I also want to look as much like a princess with this dress as possible so extra poof may be needed!

I’m not yet decided on a headdress for this ensemble yet but do like the one from the painting despite how little of it can be seen. I do have an Amazon gift card left from my birthday this year so think that will go toward Women’s Hats, Headdresses and Hairstyles: (With 453 Illustrations, Medieval to Modern)  which is a really good costume hat/headdress/hairstyle reference book.


As for materials I’n not decided on what to use just yet. I really want to keep my price down for this costume after spending so much on my 1500’s ensemble. I’m thinking cotton sateen but it could be too light weight to support the bodice… My best best option is to feel the fabrics when I’m in store/buying a swatch. I’ll be taking notes on what materials were used in Janet Arnold’s books too so that will influence my decision. This will be the same for the book I have which covers 19th century corsets.

I think that’s enough of me rambling, I can’t do much more than the planning process of this costume at this stage. I’ll have a post about Ana coming later in the month and possibly another tutorial.

Thank you for reading