|Image courtesy Hannah.|
Thank you so much!
As always, please click on the images to view larger versions.
I was fairly pleased with the overall effect of the ensemble. As an experiment, it rates maybe a 7. Overall things to improve:
- The robe still was a bit loose on me, no matter how tightly the front might be pinned. Must see if alterations needed. I understand that robes were meant to accommodate for changes in weight and bulk: let us experiment some more on what pins can do.
- The goldworked petticoat lacks enough shine. I spaced the motifs on the sparing side. Easy enough to correct: add more!
- Feather headdress needed more securing. I will talk more about that later.
Plus, the robe's edge-to-edge front closing and conservative cut -- which take their cue from earlier decades -- are from several 1790s dresses in Nancy Bradfield's Costume in Detail. I used this design because I liked the cut and it seemed to suit my age well.
The petticoat is inspired by two Gallery of Fashion plates and the motifs embroidered on it come from elements of actual 18th century goldwork embroidery in 18th Century Embroidery Techniques.
Figure XLII, the rightmost figure in the February 1795 plate above, wears a gold sprigged and fringed petticoat. Whenever the text refers to "gold", I take it to mean goldwork and "silver" I take to mean goldwork done in silver, which was also very popular. The text, so far as I can tell from unscientific reading, usually calls other embroidery colored or gives specific colors, such as black. It is possible that the term gold means gold-colored silks or cotton, but I suspect that, given how prevalent goldwork was among the bon ton, real gold is meant. For more information, see 18th Century Embroidery Techniques and Napoleon, The Empire of Fashion.
Here below is the other plate, from December 1794; figure 35 is my inspiration.
The Headdress Inspiration
The headdress is taken from a specific figure, no. 37 from January 1795, shown above. It is described thus: "Chiffonet of white satin, two white ostrich feathers, and a large diamond pin placed on the left side."
The robe is hand sewn except for the hem, on which I used a chainstitch Willcox and Gibbs treadle with hemmer attachment, having run out of time last year.
It's made of, yes, that same cream silk dupioni, and employs the traditional construction methods described so well in Costume Close Up and in other posts on this blog, to wit:
The front and lining of each bodice piece treated separately: basted together, the edges turning in.
- Each piece sandwiched with the next to create a lapped seam and backstitch of combination stitched down.
- All edges finished by combination stitching the turned-in seams (but one of seveal ways to do it).
- The sleeves backstitched at the bottom half, then set on a manniquin (which should have been a live person), the shoulder straps laid atop, and stitched down. The insides left unfinished for easier renovation.
- The skirt top turned under, and carefully whipped to the extreme bottom edge of the bodice.
- The skirt hems turned to a small hem and combination stitched, except the bottom hem, which was machined.
For detailed instructions on how to sew in this manner, please refer to the Costuming Research and Documentation page on this blog, where I have links to tutorials.
Above, the lace on the dress.
The dress opened up to show the interior. Note the modesty panels that are sewn to the side seams. When donning the robe, first one panel is wrapped over the stays and pinned there securely, then the other ditto.
Then the robe front pieces are lapped tightly to fit as smoothly as possible. The drawstrings at the top are pulled tight and tied.
Then small pins are inserted horizontally into the edge -- between the fashion fabric and the lining -- of the overlapping piece, and then caught in the underlapped piece. I insert a pin almost every inch. This holds the gown securely closed, invisibly.
Above, how the lace is tacked on. It is easily removable.
How the skirts are attached to the bodice. You can also see the two seams attaching the vee-shaped back piece to the two side back pieces.
The armscye, showing the stitching as well as the basting.
That's it for the robe. Next time, the pettioat, embroidered in gold purl and spangles and pastes!