When looking at it now, I can see two things that would have made it look much better: a petticoat and some trim. A petticoat would have hidden the rings of the stiffening in the farthingale, that is now very visible through the skirt. A simple petticoat between fathingale and skirt would probably have improved the look a lot with only a small sewing effort. The second thing, trimming, would probably have been slightly more time consuming. However, a noblewoman's gown without trim is just not looking right.
That can be seen from the fact that the two parts I still do like with this gown is the sleeves and the hat. These two are the parts where I made an extra effort with the details. The sleeves have embroidered cuffs, and the hat is beaded and made from a proper pattern. (The rest of the gown was drafted by me from some instructions on internet, since the only pattern I knew of then was the Margo Anderson pattern package, and I thought that was too much money.)
In summary, I learned four things, and afterwards some of them feel quite obvious:
- While a historical costume might (and probably will) be impractical, you need to be able to move your arms in it
- Never try to save time by skipping the petticoat
- Some types of gown just needs trimming
- A good hat or hairdo can increase the overall impression a lot (something I also learned later on, when I wore the same regency gown to a ball two years in row, the first time with almost no hairdo, the second time with the proper curls.)