Project Journal: 1864 Ball Gown Part II: Trim Progress (HSF #4)

Well, I hope this isn’t too much of a stretch (or maybe interpretation is a better word), but I’ve finished preparing all of my skirt trim and I’m going to call it my project for the HSF #4  Challenge: Embellish. I say it’s a stretch because my completion of this project is the preparation of the trim, rather than the attachment to the garment. To be fair, just the prep has been a lot of sewing, so I think it counts. Here it is, below: gold trim on the rather wrinkly skirt of green and gold shot silk taffeta. Because the gold is shot with silver, and the green is shot with gold, they are both photographing more washed out looking than they appear to me when not looking through a camera. Hopefully one day I’ll be able to get a picture where they look a little less silvery.

All the skirt trim, gathered and ready to be attached!

The top pile of trim (that rather resembles a ruffly brain, don’t you think?) is for the zig zag. The two piles on either side are the 18 rosettes. The section on the bottom center is the ruffle that goes at the bottom. You can see the inspirational fashion plate here, in this previous post, to see what these different trim sections look like in their actual context.

My favorites are the rosettes. Aren’t they cute?
Here’s all of them laid out like an accordion, or a slinky. They look so adorable!

Anyway… here are the facts:

Fabric: almost 1.5 yds of gold shot with silver silk shantung.

Pattern: none, just a lot of math.

Year: 1864.

Notions: none, just thread.

How historically accurate?: Well, shantung is not accurate, but silk is (and this shantung is pretty smooth and not slubby, so I don’t think anyone will know it’s shantung unless I tell them). The trim layout is from a fashion plate, so super accurate. The stitching is accurate. Overall, I give it a 90%.

Hours to complete: Um… a lot. It’s all hand sewn. I started in January, so… 50 hours to get to this point? I really have no idea. I think in terms of months or weeks usually, not hours or even days.

First worn: Not yet, but will be worn in March.

Total cost: $9, because the silk was a remnant.

And while I’m keeping count, let me also note the yards of stitching currently sewn into the trim. When it was all hemmed I was at 45 yards. Now I have the addition of gathering stitches (31 1/2 yds) and ruffle binding (9 yds). That ups the total yards stitched for trim to 86 1/2 yds, and that’s before attaching it! Nice.

7 thoughts on “Project Journal: 1864 Ball Gown Part II: Trim Progress (HSF #4)

    1. It works because I do other enjoyable things while I sew, like hanging out with friends, or watching Netflix. 🙂 I’m glad you like the rosettes, too. They’re just so cute!

  1. I was watching the Academy Awards off and on and was thinking of you and how one day you may end up there receiving an Oscar for your costuming. How incredible your talents!!! Thanks for sharing with me. The design looks amazing in the accordian layout.

    Love you,


  2. Whew! I’m tired just thinking about all those yards and yards! And all by hand! You constantly amaze and inspire me. Soon I may have a project or two to share with you.

    I am not new to sewing, in fact I have a degree in fashion. But I had lost my enthusiam and interest for years. You, almost single handedly have revived that interest and stoked it to the point I have way more ideas than time and money. Dare I say, “Curse you, Red Baron!” Seriously, I am having fun and frustration.

    Lead on!

    1. The 1860s do sort of sneak up on your when it comes to trim amounts. The skirts are just so big and the amount of trim needed to work with the scale of the period is just so large that all of a sudden there is mounds of trimming to do! But I do so dearly love the period that I don’t really mind. 🙂

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