Making a Gown for a Jane Austen Ball

reticule and fan 2The Museum of Creativity proudly presents “An Empire-Style Ball Gown Based on 21th Century Clothes”.

I cannot determine what to do about my new Gown”, Jane Austen once wrote to her sister Cassandra. This is a feeling many of us can sympathize with. If you are going to attend a ball set in the Regency period, figuring out what to wear, where to get it or how to do it yourself is no easy task.

I am going to go a Jane-Austen-Ball at the end of this month. As I can’t sew, I tried to make the ball gown from everyday clothes I had found in my cupboard. But halfway through roughing out a concept for a modest white cotton gown, I stumbled upon a dazzling beautiful red lace in an oriental drapery. Though I knew perfectly well that I haven’t the sewing skills to handle the lace, I bought it.

Jane Austen was highly skilled with the needle. Nevertheless, her solution for getting along with her troublesome new gown was the following: “I have some hopes of meeting Martha (…) & shall see what she can do for me”.

Why not take a leaf out of Jane Austen’s book? Except, I did not meet Martha, but Lucia, my best friend. I owe a million thanks to Lucia for lending me a hand in this challenging project. All credit for the gown and its accessories go to her.

Check out the ball gown at the exhibition as well as Lucia’s work steps here.

Best wishes

Anna M. Thane