Cynthia’s Wardrobe: Pink Ball Gown

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The dress made of two layers, a light pink silk (possibly taffeta or something equally crisp) and a (probably) silk organza. The bodice uses the pink silk as an interlining. The skirts are separate; they are pleated as one layer at the waist but seamed and hemmed separately). (This can be seen when Cynthia sits down on the bed before the party.)

The bodice of the gown is fitted with an inset of striped brocade cut on the bias. The neckline is low and squared with piping round it and down either side of the front inset. The back bodice is high (to the collar bone) and appears to be hook and eyed in center back. The inset and waistband are probably not brocade, as we originally thought, but an organza/voile (with a woven design) over the pink silk.

Short, puffed sleeves of what looks like lightweight silk complement the brocade. The cuff and bands over top the sleeve are made of the dress material (see diagram below). The sheer sleeves have dots that shimmer in the candlelight. This is probably a woven textile but could possibly be an applied decoration.

The skirt seems to be triangularly shaped with a flat front and cartridge pleats in back.
The trim at the hem:
Top design – latticework forms by satin bands? (Probably not a band of ribbon, as hem decoration during this time is more typically 3-dimensional.)
Lower design – not a ruffle, but a puffed tuck. Appears to be darker pink in color. Perhaps stuffed with a darker pink organza. (O for a DVD player with a zoom!) This is set hem, but not right on it–probably 5″-6″ up . One thing to remember when making special occasion gowns from this era is that the hem rarely dragged on the ground. In fact, most ballgowns were hemmed about ankle length, making dancing much easier.

Many thanks to Jenny-Rose for sharing extra notes about the ballgown
–a second pair of sharp eyes always helps!

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