This year for Costume College, a group was making dresses based on Lost Hope in Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. I resisted, as I hadn't read the book though I had wanted to for a while. Then the series came on. I had hoped to have the book finished first, but that didn't happen. When the first Lost Hope ball scene came on, I instantly needed a silver and white Regency dress. I started reading the book shortly afterward, and the descriptions of dresses are quite different, but I still wanted silver and white.
The overdress is made from cotton voile from Dharma Trading. It's trimmed with soft silk net that a friend picked up for me in England years ago and Benton and Johnson silver wire from Hedgehog Handworks that I twisted into cord. The sleeveless underdress is silver silk taffeta from Renaissance Fabrics. The neckline is trimmed with vintage boullion trim that I bought on Etsy.
The main inspiration for my overdress is this this dress, which shows traces of having sleeves.
I'm wearing it over a 1910s chemise with ribbon straps, one of which has fallen (I wanted the sleeves sheer), my 1790s/early 1800s corset, and a strapped petticoat.
I loved the accessories for this. My collet necklace, bracelets, and earrings are from Dames a la Mode. I sewed two shawls from Amazon together--a brilliant idea of Jen Thompson's. I redecorated my shoes from my recent green and white dress.
Here's some information on how I did my hair. It was amazingly simple. I sewed curls to a long braid which I wrapped around my head and around a bun in back. I also pinned curls in back, then wrapped a scarf--a lucky find at Target a few years ago--as a turban. It took about five minutes. I'm a huge fan of fake curls now!
Construction was quite simple. The overdress is unlined, and sewn with flat felled seams in the bodice and mantua maker's seams in the skirt. The skirt is cartridge pleated and sewn to the bodice. The bodice closes with drawstrings, and there are tiny drawstrings in the hem of each sleeve. I didn't even use eyelets in the sleeves--I just poked a hole with a bodkin. The underdress has a front drawstring and flaps that pin in front. It follows the construction of my recent shortgown and striped dress that I did take many pictures of and will have a tutorial for.
The trim is puffs of silk net tied down with twisted silver cord. I sewed the puffs in place, then took a short piece of cord, poked two holes in the fabric, and tied it below. I tacked one edge of the puff down in strategic places to keep them from drooping. The trim was inspired by this portrait.
The dress in daylight. Unfortunately, it was hard to get a picture of how the trim and jewelry sparkled!
The retrimmed shoe. Since I sewed the pleats in the green before sewing them to the shoes, it'll be easy to switch back.
And some members of our group!
And possibly my favorite accessory--beaded garters. They say "A Gentleman Never Could" which was Jonathan Strange's response when Wellington asked if a magician could kill by magic. It seemed appropriate for garters! My sparkly stockings are from Amazon.