Clothing Suggestions for the Victoria and Albert Ball 2019





Suggested Patterns To Make Your Own Ballroom Clothes 1840-1861

This information is provided to help you create your own garments from scratch; however, garments that approximate the correct silhouette and modern formal evening garments are also welcome.

Pattern Companies

Past Patterns (These are meticulously researched and have clear sewing directions.)

Laughing Moon Mercantile Patterns (An excellent pattern company)

Truly Victorian Patterns (Another excellent good pattern company)

Ageless Patterns (These contain minimal instructions and are best for experienced sewers.)

Redthreaded (corset patterns and kits)

Specific Patterns

These patterns would make excellent additions to the ballroom.

Men’s undergarments:

Past Patterns #006 1860s-1900s Men’s Drawers

Laughing Moon Pattern #107 Men’s Victorian and Edwardian Shirts

Past Patterns #010 Traditional Square Cut Gentleman’s Shirt with Detachable Collar 1850-1870

Past Patterns #011 Gentleman’s Fitted Shirt with Attached Collar and Set-In Sleeves Circa 1840-1870

Men’s trousers/vests/jackets:

Past Patterns #016 Men’s Winter Trousers with or without Foot Straps: Circa 1843-1856

Laughing Moon Pattern #119 Men’s Mid Victorian To Edwardian Trousers 1850-1910

Past Patterns #018 A Single-Breasted Shawl Collar Summer Waistcoat for Plain or Formal Dress: Fashionable Circa 1845 to 1858

Past Patterns #019 A Double-Breasted Shawl Collar Summer Waistcoat for Plain or Formal Dress: Fashionable Circa 1845 to 1858

Folkwear #222 Vintage Vests

Ageless Patterns: 1860’s & 1890’s Men’s Vests

Ageless Patterns: 1860’s Men’s Tailcoat, Waistcoat & Trousers

Women’s undergarments and support structures:

Truly Victorian #106 1865 Chemise and Drawers

Past Patterns #707 A Yoked Chemise with Embroidery and Short Sleeves circa 1850-1870

Past Patterns #706 1850s-1870s Petticoat and Drawers

Past Patterns #708 1840’s – 1880’s Corset

Past Patterns #703: 1863 Dayton’s Skirt Supporting Corset

Redthreaded 1860’s Gored Corset

Past Patterns #712 1860s Hoop Skirt

Truly Victorian Free Hoop Petticoat Diagram

Women’s skirts, bodices, dresses for the ballroom:

Truly Victorian #246 1851 Petal Ballgown Skirt

Truly Victorian #241 1854 Flounced Skirt

Truly Victorian #244 1859 Double Skirt

Truly Victorian #240 1860’s Ball Gown Skirt

Truly Victorian #442 1860s Ballgown Bodice

Truly Victorian #453 1861 Raphael Evening Dress

Laughing Moon Pattern #117 Ladies’ 1840-1863 Ball Gown

Past Patterns # #704: 1863 Ball Gown Bodice.

Fabric Sources

As you browse the following local and online stores, remember that silk, cotton, and other natural fibers are the best choice for historical sewing. Silk taffeta is the ideal fabric for ballgowns. Silk dupioni should be avoided because it has a rough texture. Polyester that looks like silk can be very pretty, but don’t buy polyester until you have a lot of experience with how silk looks and behaves. As a general rule, avoid printed fabric. Prints are very rare in ballgowns and it is too easy to pick the wrong print. If you are making gentlemen’s clothing, the best choices are white cotton for shirts, white or black silk or cotton for vests, and fine black wool for tailcoats and trousers.

Local fabric stores:

Joann Fabrics, Saugus, Burlington, MA and other locations.

Sewfisticated Fabrics Framingham, Somerville, Dorchester, MA

Fabric Place Basement Natick, MA

Freddy Farkel’s Watertown, MA (clearance area in the back that sometimes has dress weight silks)

Zimman’s Lynn, MA (has some dress weight silks)

Osgood’s Fabrics West Springfield, MA

Online fabric stores:

To get you started, here are a few we know that stock good historical fabrics.

Burnley & Trowbridge (Specialize in 18th century but may have nice options for 19th)

Farmhouse Fabrics

Renaissance Fabrics

Pure Silks

Silk Baron

Fabric Mart Fabrics

Mood Fabrics

Decorative International Silk, Inc.

Wm. Booth, Draper

Dorr Mill Store 

Period Fabric

Sources To Buy Ready Made Garments

These are some suggested sources for buying ready made ballroom clothes for 1840 to 1861.

For Men & Women:

White Cotton Wrist Length Gloves

Men‘s tailcoats, trousers, vests, shirts, neckwear :

Keezer’s Classic Clothing, 1740 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA (Ask for “white tie and tails”. The pieces should include a black tailcoat, matching black trousers, a white wing-collar shirt with a stiff front, a low-fronted white evening vest, preferably of pique, and a white bow tie, preferably of pique. Black bow ties and vests in the same style are also acceptable. Cummerbunds are not appropriate. The formal shirt should use studs and cufflinks. Note:These are not quite perfectly historical in shape but will give you the best easy approximation.)

Historical Emporium Victorian Formal Tailcoat – Black Wool

Historical Emporium Callahan Dress Trousers – Black

Historical Emporium Heathcliff Vest – Black Tapestry

Historical Emporium Thornton Vest – Black Velvet

Historical Emporium Viceroy Dress Shirt – High Collar

Historical Emporium Excelsior Dress Shirt – High Collar 

Historical Emporium Regal Cravat – Black

Women’s Undergarments:

Redthreaded 1830’s Stays

Redthreaded 1860’s Gored Corset

Historical Designs Mid-Victorian Corset

Abraham’s Lady Civil War Chemise

Abraham’s Lady Civil War Drawers

Amazon Drygoods Round Civil War Victorian Steel Cage Crinoline Hoops 128 inches

KAIYANG Hoop Skirt for Women Crinoline Petticoat Skirt Underskirt for Bridal Wedding Dress (There are many sellers on Amazon with 6 hoop crinolines for a low price. These are a good start, but are often a little oversized for the 19th century. We suggest shortening the individual hoops to create a bell shaped silhouette with a 120 to 130 inch circumferece.)

Women’s dresses for the ballroom:

Note: Ready-made dresses from this period can be hard to obtain. Customized gowns are easier to find but often require a larger investment of time and money. You might also wish to check out CVD’s other clothing resources for getting close to the correct silhouette and for acceptable modern clothing.

Facebook group ‘Historical Costumes Buy/Sell/Trade/Order Custom Items(This is a public group worth keeping an eye on. Modern recreations of historical dresses from the V & A Ball’s period of the 1830s-1860s pop up for sale here. They are often lightly used but are in good condition. A search of eBay and Etsy will sometimes turn up similar lightly-used recreation dresses for sale.)

Originals By Kay

Recollections: Victorian Gown (Hook and eye closures are preferred instead of zippers for the back opening.)

Recollections: Victorian Ball Gown  (Hook and eye closures are preferred instead of zippers for the back opening.)

Recollections: Victorian Southern Belle Ball Gown (Hook and eye closures are preferred instead of zippers for the back opening.)

Recollections: Peony Civil War Styled Gown (Hook and eye closures are preferred instead of zippers for the back opening.)

Recollections: Anna Belle Civil War Styled Gown (Hook and eye closures are preferred instead of zippers for the back opening.)

Recollections: Arabella Silk Victorian Ball Gown (Hook and eye closures are preferred instead of zippers for the back opening.)

Recollections: Priscilla Victorian Gown (Hook and eye closures are preferred instead of zippers for the back opening.)

Women’s daywear dresses that could be worn to the ball:

Abraham’s Lady Civil War Dress

Originals By Kay

Recollections: Romantic Era Early Victorian Dress

Recollections: Harper Victorian Pioneer Dress

Recollections: Victorian Blouse and Skirt

Recollections: Victorian Cotton Dress

Recollections: Charity Victorian Dress

Recollections: Miss Kate Victorian Style Dress

Recollections: Eliza Victorian Dress

Recollections: Trinity Victorian Dress

Recollections: Carrie Victorian Dress

Recollections: Civil War Era Dress

Recollections: Civil War Victorian Style Dress

Recollections: Civil War Victorian Dress

Recollections: Civil War Style Cotton Dress

Recollections: Josephine Victorian Style Dress

Recollections: Penelope Victorian Style Dress

Recollections: Prudence Civil War Styled Dress

Recollections: Anya Civil War Styled Dress

Recollections: Piper Ensemble

Recollections: Margaret Civil War Victorian Styled Gown

Recollections: Print Cotton Prairie Dress