RSS Feed

1830s Romantic Dress (Part 1)

As previously mentioned, the ladies who did the Gibson Girl dresses last year are doing 1830s for the April Gaskell Ball. I made a Pinterest board with ideas for gowns and hair.

Here is my planning sketch, based on an extant gown with sheer sleeves. Unfortunately, I do not know the source because the image was found uncredited from Tumblr.

1830s sketch

My materials will be ivory silk taffeta (left over from my wedding dress), embroidered laces from Etsy and eBay, and pink ribbon flowers left over from a Gatsby dress project. I am hoping to piece together enough fabric from my stash for the lining.


I am using the Truly Victorian 455 pattern for the bodice, with a slightly different sleeve. I will be using the beret sleeve pattern, but might make it slightly smaller since it will be under a sheer sleeve.

1830s pattern

I am not using the TV455 pattern for the skirt, because I am upcycling part of my wedding dress. I am doing this for several reasons.

1. It will match the leftover fabric I am using to make the bodice.

2. I haven’t worn the dress for several years, and never got around to dyeing it a different color, so at least this way part of it will appear in public again.

3.  The dress was custom-made for me by a friend of mine (who sells Regency/Victorian/Steampunk menswear in her shop), and is very special, so I don’t want to give away or sell the gown.  However, I can’t wear the dress as-is because during my honeymoon a family member decided to soak my dress in the bathtub instead of taking it to the drycleaner like I wanted, and the silk taffeta literally shriveled up. I spent a lot of time steaming most of the wrinkles out, but could not save the ruffles. They are now sad, wrinkled and limp, instead of crisp and happy, and don’t look right on a formal ballgown.

4. It’s a shame to let so much silk go to waste!

I have cut out the pattern pieces, and am now slowly picking out the stitches to remove the rows of ruffles from the skirt. (Thankfully, the beautiful bodice is still in good shape and can be worn again).

weddingPhoto by Lydia Chen Photography.


About freshfrippery

Blog @ Instagram @freshfrippery. I believe costuming is about helping others so I post tutorials when I can. I am happy to provide all patterns and tutorials for for free on my blog. It is absolutely optional, but if you would like to donate towards my domain registration and the data costs of hosting the many photos on my site, consider buying me a “coffee”: Thank you!

2 responses »

  1. Thank you very much for your excellent blog post. Your dress is lovely and your skills impressive. I gravitated to it because I am currently trying to copy the “Shall We Dance” dress worn by Deborah Kerr in the movie The King and I. This will be a Halloween costume for my 8 year old granddaughter, who wants to wear “anything with a hoop skirt”. I was having a terrible time trying to copy the sleeve, which I gather (no pun intended) to be a beret sleeve. I was also trying to figure out how to make the puffiness. Though I don’t think I will be making a sleeve support as you did, I loved seeing how you did it, as well as the photo of the antique one you dug up. (My plan is to flatline the face fabric with net, then line the sleeve. As the face fabric is very light, I think this will work.) But what I’m wondering is…you mentioned that the beret sleeve pattern is “almost” a circle. Can you elaborate on that a bit? I’m going to try just cutting out a circle with an offset inside circle as you showed for the supports, but if you have any further guidance I will take it. I hate to buy the pattern just for that one piece, which I would then have to alter to fit the child. Thanks very much in advance for any education you might be able to impart. Gina

    • Hi Gina, thank you for your comments. Your project for your granddaughter sounds delightful! I think for a small sleeve for a girl a flat-lined fabric will work just fine. (Also, if it’s a little flat anyway you can stuff something inside. At a ball one of my friends had to stuff in some toilet seat covers!) When I say it’s almost a circle I mean it’s not perfectly round. It’s a little wider at the top. Imagine a soup spoon or old-fashioned baby bonnet. Please let me know if you have any other questions!


Thanks for your feedback! I read and respond to all comments. If you don't have a Wordpress account you may not know that I did. Please check the "Notify me of new comments" box to be sure!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: