“She was a remarkable, stunning beauty. Admired by Bernadotte, despised by Bonaparte. And no one could touch her”. Mme. Flamel


I am preparing to embark upon a five day journey to the beautiful country of Malta for the Valleta Grand Ball. I am working on keeping my clothing very light and airy. In a coup de foudre, I have been struck with a love for another aspect of the early 19th century and I want to make sure my clothing reflects that. This gown is loosely inspired by Juliette Récamier, if not one of the most famous then certainly one of the most beautiful women in the art world.

I only have a few works in progress photos as this gown came together in a little under two days but at least this time I did remember to take photos for you!. Keeping with the period it is entirely hand stitched.

I came across this photo from the Madame Récamier collection displayed at the Musée Des Beaux-Arts De Lyon:


The gown is described as being: ” . . . dress-shirt white cotton muslin, Train, short sleeves and square neckline. It dates from 1805: It’s called a half-set. This is the perfect outfit that Juliette Recamier to wear in the evening to sparkle in society (thank you Maryline!), or go to the ball, but this is not a Court gown. ” It was then followed by the closeup of the sleeves:


The first thing I did was to use the techniques I learnt from my internship in Colonial Williamsburg to stitch up the side seams and to cartridge pleat the back.  Once that was complete I set about creating the basic bodice shape.

photo 1

I have been collecting entredeux for years as I am very fond of Heirloom sewing and I was so pleased to be able to put some of my collection to good use.

Screen shot 2013-03-16 at 1.54.18 PM

The bodice went through various stages but I finally choose the second photo as my design.

photo 4

I prick stitched the pleats down so that they wouldn’t be completely flat.

photo 2

Here is the completed bodice!  The next step was the most tedious part of the entire gown. I timed myself to see how fast I could go and I was able to finish one entire sleeve in about 45 minutes.

photo 4

The last step was to remove the fabric from behind the insertion so it ends up looking a little like this:

photo 5

I’m currently inserting the sleeves but once that is complete I will share with you the final gown!

*Please note the title of this blog post has been taken from Mme. Flamel whose blog can be found here.


13 thoughts on ““She was a remarkable, stunning beauty. Admired by Bernadotte, despised by Bonaparte. And no one could touch her”. Mme. Flamel

  1. Kathie Wilson says:

    This is so beautiful. Julie Recamier is certainly someone to emulate when it comes to fashion. And congratulations on finding a gown that belonged to her. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it. I’m looking forward to the completed project. Can you tell us a little about the Valetta Grand Ball? Kathie

  2. Briller en société = sparkle in society 😉
    Beautiful work by the way !

  3. Mouse Borg says:

    Pretty sleeves! I used to think I didn’t like Regency, but your work has changed my mind. You always look fabulous, and I am looking forward to seeing the completed gown.

  4. Mme Flamel says:

    Thank you so much for quoting me. 🙂
    I am working on a 1814-project – on Bernadotte and local history in the shadow of Napoleon. Your blog is so much an inspiration for the extreme, beautiful, violent and important empire-epoque.
    Have a nice evening.

  5. To every project which you begin, I am always amazed. They are of real leader of work!
    I looks forward to the continuation.

  6. Alicia Joy says:

    It’s simply stunning! Wonderful work. I always enjoy seeing your latest projects you come up with. They are always first-rate quality. I can’t wait to see the completed dress!

  7. Congrats, m’dear, I’ve awarded you the « Very Inspiring Blogger » award!

  8. It looks like I’m a little late to the party, but I also awarded you the Very Inspiring Blogger Award!


    That dress looks like it will be amazing! I hope you share pictures soon!


  9. Alicia says:

    Hi! This is Alicia Joy from ajoyworthhaving. I just wanted to let you know that I’ve nominated your lovely blog to receive the Most Inspiring Blogger Award! You can read all about it and pick up your award here:
    Thanks for the inspiration, and keep up the good work!

    Alicia Joy

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