Friday, August 5, 2016

'Bees, Bees, Bees' - Napoleonic Open Court Robe and Gown

TADA!!  My new Napoleonic open robe & court gown ensemble titled 'Bees, Bees, Bees'
"Bees, Bees, Bees" a Napoleonic silk bee
open robe & court gown by TheLadyDetalle
'Bees, Bees, Bees' made from red burgundy with embroidered gold Napoleonic bees silk brocade, cream silk taffeta embroidered with tiny red & cream flowers, golden bee pin on belt & gold bee hair pins (gift from my friend Angela), vintage cotton gloves, vintage fan, tiara from Ali Express (found by my friend Kat), feathers and hair by me, jewelry by Dames a la Mode, with hidden American Duchess cream 'Hartfield' Regency boots! First worn at the Saturday night Gala of Costume College 2016! This was a dream to wear, it flowed, it was fun, and it made me feel very regal and queenly! 

Here's a bit about the construction: I had been searching for the right Napoleonic bee fabric for an open robe for years: I was aiming for either gold with black bees, or royal blue or deep purple with gold bees, but burgundy with gold bees in a lovely luxurious silk brocade was what I could find on Ebay finally that was marginally affordable (after a few years of looking, er, but still more than I like to pay by far), so red & gold bees it was for the court robe! 
Burgundy & gold Napoleonic
bees silk brocade

Cream embroidered silk taffeta
w/ tiny red & cream flowers
Regency court robe in progress
Once I had the bee fabric for the court robe, I went to my stash to figure out what to pair it with for the gown underneath, and came up with a 4 yard piece of embroidered silk taffeta (cream with tiny red & cream embroidered flowers in the middle photo above) I picked this fabric up in the L.A. Fashion District a few years ago, originally intended for a Regency ball gown. I loved the combination of the two fabrics, so went with it! 

For the Regency court open robe, I used Butterick #4890 (upon my friend Kat's advice and with inspiration from this gorgeous version she made last year!) and also a modified early Butterick/Simplicity pattern for the court gown. 

I used this extant garment and this extant garment and fashion plate for inspiration. Also here's a link to my Pinterest board for Napoleonic bees and also for court wear, where I did a lot of research on the styles of the period. Many original court trains were often longer than my train, and I just didn't want to waste my super narrow 30" width fabric on TOO long of a train, since I wanted to use less fabric and use the remaining yardage for a spencer, muff, reticule and bonnet (if I'm lucky!). So I made it the length of the pattern, which still used 9 total yards of bee fabric!
The finished outfit - I love the way the
sun glistens off the open robe train!
A tiara from Ali Express (found by my
friend Kat), and gold bee pins gifted 
from my friend Angela in my hair!

The open robe court train from the back!
Having a bit of fun during photo time - I
loved the belt that went with the open robe
Close up of the front belt and bee pin
(pin gifted by my friend Angela)
So this court outfit had its first wearing at Costume College 2016 last Saturday: it was super fun to wear and move around in. I felt very regal with my long train, tiara and luxurious fabric. This is my first ensemble that included any silk brocade, and wow, did I love this fabric. I truly felt as if I could have graced the royal courts of the day in this outfit (er, I 'felt' I could, but in reality, I'm too much of an independent modern woman to have pulled that off, LOL): I'm looking forward to wearing again sometime in future!
A Regency court ensemble by TheLadyDetalle

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