I received my photos from the official Costume College photographer Andrew Schmidt so I can show you my complete Regency/Napoleonic court gown and train ensemble!*
* A note about terminology: Technically, English Regency court gowns were a really odd silhouette where you had the high waist but very wide shape, and French gowns of the Napoleonic period had the more columnar shape, so my whole outfit is French style. However, for simplicity in some of my past posts I have been using the term “Regency” because I can wear my gown without the formal court train.
I love this view of the back. Thanks Mr. Schmidt for making sure the circle was laid out nicely!
I have made a number of posts about the construction process of the dress and train and you can find them under the Napoleonic tag on my blog, but I will summarize a few main points here.
For the dress I used the Butterick B6074 pattern, with some modifications (described in previous posts). The dress is made out of a mint green chiffon with white cotton voile lining, and the fancy layer on top is a heavily embellished net with embroidery and several types of sequins, beads, and faux pearls. I had a few questions about whether I used a sari. It is not a sari, but a bridal lace from Fabric Wholesale Direct. Here is a close-up of the fabric before I cut it out:
For the court train I used the Butterick B4890 Josephine pattern, but I modified it to have straps instead of a bodice back. The train is made with silk velvet, lined with a linen/cotton blend, and edged in a gold-tone netting lace. The front underbust strap is closed with a vintage brooch that I found on eBay.
My pearl necklace and earrings were made by Gloria of In The Long Run Designs, whose Etsy shop is full of beautiful historical jewelry!
My regency diadem was made by me using brass lamp banding and faux pearls. (I posted about a party where I made some other diadems here).
This whole outfit was really heavy and became quite uncomfortable to wear by the end of the evening! I’m glad it was worn for only a few hours at the Friday Night Social. The dress is heavily beaded and sequined, and the train is quite heavy too, and unlike a Victorian outfit where I can have a corset and hoops to help support the weight, everything was supported by my shoulders.
Here’s a quick twirling video here where you can see the dress sparkle!
So, what’s the final tally of what everything cost? This was my “splurge” project for the year so it cost more than my usual outfits, but I think this one was worth it!
- 3 yards beaded lace (from Fabric Wholesale Direct): $149.85
- 3 yards mint chiffon (from FWD): $7.47
- 3 yards white cotton voile (from FWD): $11.97
- Thread and fishing line (from stash)
Total = $0 (All the fabric for this dress was a gift from Fabric Wholesale Direct in exchange for a tutorial you can see on their website. Thanks FWD!)
- 6 yards silk velvet (from Amazon, affiliate link): $113.84 (I used 5 yards)
- 5 yards linen/cotton lining (from Renaissance Fabrics): $32.50 + tax and shipping = $43.59
- 10 yards lace (from Aliexpress): $34.94 (I only use half, and sold the remainder)
- Pattern (from eBay): $7.59
- Brooch (from eBay): $3.84 (yay no one else bid on it)
- Button cover kit (leftover from another project): $0
- Button loops (braided from random string I found in my house): $0
Train total = $203.80
Ouch, that’s a bit of a splurge, but it’s not terrible considering I have a lot of huge scraps of silk velvet left over, and can probably make a 1920s dress with some careful cutting, so I can get two dresses out of that price!
Tiara: The cost of this is a little tricky to calculate, because a lot of the supplies I bought in bulk, used to make other tiaras, and shared with friends. I think if you shop right and share with friends you can make one for $30 depending on how fancy you get with beads, pearls, or gemstones. A big part of the cost is buying the brass online and paying for shipping.
- Brass banding: Etsy or lamp supply stores
- Faux pearls and head pins: eBay or Michael’s
- Metal hair combs: Amazon or beauty supply shops
My shoes were Pemberly Regency slippers from American Duchess (affiliate link) that I previously owned. I am also wearing short stays and a corded petticoat (not period correct, but needed to support the weight of the dress).
So in total, this ensemble will cost you about $400 of materials (not including accessories), but represented a little more than $200 out of pocket, with enough leftovers to make a second dress, so not too bad! I try to keep most gowns $100 or less, so this was my “big project” for the year.
I am very happy with how this court outfit turned out, especially how the mint and rose color combination worked together, and how the accessories completed the look. It’s also always nice too when a dress looks good from the back as well!