June 26, 2013

Robe a l'anglaise Redo

I turned 16 the summer of 2007 after obsessing for a year over Sophia Coppola's Marie Antoinette and ended up having an 18th century themed 16th birthday party. I even got my friends to all come in costume and it was so much fun! I never had a non-costumed party again! (I should note that I love to entertain, I did even when I was younger, so there is nothing I love more than hosting a party!) So for the party my mom made me an 18th century costume gown.

I loved the dress at the time and still do but it was made from a simplicity costume pattern, not so accurate! I still love the brocade the outer dress is made of, though it is actually a home decor fabric! The pattern in a subtle diamond in floral tendrils in taupe and pink on a light champagne ground. I'm not sure the fabric content though I think its probably polyester.

The plan is to take the dress apart and use the brocade in a new more accurate robe a l'anglaise. The original dress is a costume and not designed to wear over stays and therefore is quite loose when worn. I have drawn up a new design and hope I will be able to squeeze it out of the old dress and a few scraps I have of the brocade.
The new design is based off of several extant examples of brocade gowns from the 18th century.

Robe a la Francaise; 1765-1770; French; Metropolitan Museum of Art
Robe a la Francaise; 1765-1770; French; Metropolitan Museum of Art
Robe a la Francaise; 1765; European; Metropolitan Museum of Art
Robe a la Francaise; 1775-1780; French; Metropolitan Museum of Art
Robe a l'anglaise; 1780; France; Museo de la Mode
The plan is to supplement the brocade with a moire ('watered silk') pattern taffeta, which is unfortunately acetate not silk but matches perfectly and has a good 'silk' look. I am really excited about this dress but I have to finish the new stays first and seeing as I have decided to hand sew them that could take a while! I am almost done sewing the boning channels on the center front panel. One down, 6 to go!

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