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27 March 2014 @ 04:54 pm
Wreath Robe a la Francaise: Underskirt Done!  

I have completed the underskirt for the robe a la Francaise I'm building over that pink lacy monster pannier I made a few weeks ago.  The photos really don't convey how enormous this thing is!  It is so gloriously ginormously gigantic, my client will feel like she should be roaming the rooms of Versailles. Well, that is, if she is able to exit her dressing room. The door is likely too small to allow this awesomeness to pass.


I have always loved this extant dress, and I'm so pleased that this gown I'm making lends itself to doing this style of furbelows on the skirts! I won't be copying the whole gown style, just the skirt furbelows.  There's not a lot of info on this gown out there, I think it's in The Royal Ontario Museum, but seriously, I have no idea. I couldn't find it except repeated ad nauseam on Pinterest.


...and again, I am working with an iridescent fabric that is impossible to photograph. So, you will see pics here with flash, and without.  The fabric was sent to me by my client to use, it is an embroidered poly taffeta with a turquoise weft and an apricot warp. Although taking its picture is a bitch, the fabric was lovely to work with and didn't give me any trouble at all. I freaking LOVE fabric that doesn't give me hassle! I think fabric that hassles you should be outlawed. I also used MOAR STASH! Goodbye thin gold lace! Goodbye gold mesh! I just love kicking my stash out the door.


I was going to make the underskirt the same way I've always done, but I decided to do something totally different this time... I used the pannier pattern to make the skirt. I really did! It used way less fabric-- always a good thing-- and it just fit over the pannier so darn perfectly.  I may do this again, as it was super simple. These gown are so fussy and take forever to make-- any shortcut I can find I'm going to take!


I took the front panel and added a layer of fusible interfacing to the back, to support all the furbelows that were going to be on the other side.


These gowns always take miles and miles of furbelows, and that sucks up the fabric really fast... this time I thought I was mightly clever to shear off the edges by the selvedges, where there wasn't any embroidery-- I managed to procure 26 yards worth of strips without actually using any of the embroidered fabric! Woohoo!


Then I used my serger to ruche it all up, thinking I would snake it around the gown and then edge with the gold lace...


Uh, NO.  It looked totally completely WRONG.  I just hate it when my grandiose ideas just don't pan out. Darn it! It looked so amazing in my head. Back to the ol' drawing board!


Luckily I have about 50 yards of this little gold lace, so I trimmed the strips down, and sewed it to the edges.


I used a reverse blanket stitch to attach it, it was the best way to control the raw edge so the stringy-dingies weren't shedding all over the place making me crazy. It also saved me the hassle of finishing the edges somehow-- narrow hem or fray check or overlocking-- none of which would have looked good at all.


Looks pretty! But it sure uses loads and loads of trim. These gowns are not kind to the wallet, for sure.


Using my gathering foot to ruffle it all up. Gads that took a long time!


Ready to rock the skirt!


I used paper cut-outs to help me visualize the design, and guage the correct size needed.


Then used a compass and chalk to draw out perfect circles.


The ruffly bits all sewn on:


...and the rest ready to adorn the main gown! Looks like she got lei'd!


For the remaining furbelows, I didn't have enough of the gold lace to edge the puffs, so I spent way too many hours figuring that out-- finally decided to narrow hem with a metallic gold topstitch, which worked out perefctly. Can you imagine having 50 yards of lace and it not being enough? LOL!


Now on to the other half of the furbelows, the puffs. Oof. This took me three days to get right. I was trying to make it like the extant gown, but I just couldn't get it done. It looked stupid every which way I tried. They were just little stuffed rolls, I have no idea why I couldn't get the job done!

Whatever, I finally said Fuck It and did the same ol' puffs I always do. I did pleat them a different way, so there is that, but seriously,  I could not keep wasting my time trying to get something different to look as fabulous as the puffs I always make.


Yep, fabulous!


Then it was time to add the gold mesh strips to the inside of the wreaths.


I really love the way that looks!


After I got all those on, I finished assembling the skirt by adding the yoke and drawstring casing to the waist.


But then I was TOTALLY STUCK.  I had planned to punctuate the wreaths with rosettes made from gold lace... but that just looked like ass. Really. I played with it and played with it and I could not make the lace look how I envisioned it in my head. Finally I gave up and headed to the fabric store to see if I could find something-- silk flowers, ribbon, anything!-- that I could make a pretty little whoopdidoo.  I found a nice rose gold organza ribbon that matched the embroidery fairly well. But then, playing with it at home-- NOPE. It was all kinds of wrong. Into the ribbon bin it went, for some unknown future project.


Almost totally defeated, facepalming at my inability to make that damn lace look good, the answer suddenly popped in my head like a lightbulb:


Bows! The ubiquitous bows. So simple, and yet so perfect. THIS is the right thing for the wreaths.  I am so relieved! This looks way better than the stupid lace rosettes I was trying to make.


And, for good measure, I threw some pearls on there, too. Pearl tassels! Because PEARLS!


All done. Well, there was miles of blind hemming to do, but then all done.





On to the main gown!

the_thread_ladythe_thread_lady on March 28th, 2014 12:58 am (UTC)
Because PEARLS!

Those bows were an inspiration, I can't wait for the next installment.
starlightmasquestarlightmasque on March 28th, 2014 03:25 am (UTC)
Ha ha that will be my ephitet one day!

(...and did you notice my beeswax? It's a little mangled because I've used it so heavily the past few years!)
countess_ecountess_e on March 28th, 2014 01:12 am (UTC)
Wow, there are more sewing machine feet out there than I thought! The bow and pearl decision was really spot on, the wreaths look fantastic. What a cool project.
starlightmasquestarlightmasque on March 28th, 2014 03:27 am (UTC)
Thank you! The more gowns I make, the crazier the details get. I look at the first few I've made and want to send out a recall!

I think I have every machine foot known to man. When I get to use an odd one I feel so satisfied!
Katyrose_bertin on March 28th, 2014 02:46 am (UTC)
Your work is always so meticulous and beautiful!
starlightmasquestarlightmasque on March 28th, 2014 03:28 am (UTC)
Aw, thank you Madame Bertin! That means a lot coming from one who really knows what's what.
(Deleted comment)
starlightmasquestarlightmasque on March 28th, 2014 03:30 am (UTC)
Thank you! I love the iridescent fabrics so much, but they give me headaches trying to photograph them looking as pretty as they do in person! Your gown sounds divine-- we need a Throwback Thursday around here!
ghost_ofa_roseghost_ofa_rose on March 28th, 2014 10:57 am (UTC)
There are just a few things I want to say:

1. Gorgeous!!!
2. You are fast!
3. Brilliant idea of using the pannier pattern for the underskirt. I was thinking about how to tackle the underkirt for my Queen of the night gown. I usually make a petticoat which you close by two drawstrings around your waist, but I didn't want a pleated petticoat for this gown. So I was searching for other ways to make a petticoat. I believe this is the easiest option.
4. I WANT YOUR STASH! Seriously, you have so many trims, laces and pearls it makes me jealous. I would love to have so much of it, however I need to pay offs my debts first before I can indulge in major shopping again.
starlightmasquestarlightmasque on March 28th, 2014 02:09 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much!

lol-- *you* think I'm fast? That's crazytalk, sister! I'm envious of how zippy you are in the sewing room!

I usually make my underskirts like this: http://starlightmasque.livejournal.com/43856.html
(hopefully you can see what I did there) but there was too much fabric around the sides and that made the front sag in at times. Making it more fitted to the pannier eliminated this problem for sure! Of course, you have to make the skirt slightly bigger (like using a slightly smaller seam allowance) and you have to lengthen the pattern, and eliminate the front center seam, but that wasn't hard to do at all. So far I am pleased with the results!

oof, my stash. I have honed it down over the last few years to only be "the good stuff." I ruthlessly eliminated anything that couldn't be used for what my current aims are! Most of this stuff was picked up either through clearance sales (only 25 cents a yard? GIMME ALL!!) or purchased wholesale for a previous project that didn't pan out. The pearls I have so many because I buy them wholesale an they have minimum purchasing requirements! (Yeah, that's a real hardship, all those glorious pearls, ha!)

stinkymonkey41stinkymonkey41 on March 28th, 2014 03:16 pm (UTC)
Really pretty, the ribbons and the pearls were such a good idea, I love your work
starlightmasquestarlightmasque on March 28th, 2014 04:43 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much!
Kendrademode on March 28th, 2014 10:44 pm (UTC)
The bows & pearls totally take it from Fabulous to OTT Fabulous!
starlightmasquestarlightmasque on March 29th, 2014 05:02 am (UTC)
Thank you! I looooove OTT Fabulous!
TudorLadytudorlady on March 29th, 2014 07:57 pm (UTC)

I have been watching you do this now for months, and I have to wonder - what do your clients use these for?

Thing the second: I would just about die to have something like this.
starlightmasquestarlightmasque on March 29th, 2014 09:15 pm (UTC)
LOL, TudorLady! Thank you!

The last five gowns like this I made were used for:
1) an actress in a play, Singing in the Rain (the blue and gold gown)
2) Historical dance/event coordinators (In Italy, they do Carnivale type stuff)(The violet gown)
3) Same Italian lady (the taupe gown)
4)A lady who does Historical Teas, this one she portrayed Catherine the Great (the velvet flowers one)
and 5) the one I'm working on now, she's a friend of the Historical Tea lady and enjoys going to costumed events.

You would look super beautiful in this style gown! I wish there were 18th century events we could wear them to-- they don't really fit in at the Pirate Festival, and it would be fun to have a Francaise Dinner like other costume groups have!
Fortuitous Destinydragonfly_sidhe on March 31st, 2014 02:40 pm (UTC)
SO much love!
starlightmasquestarlightmasque on March 31st, 2014 03:40 pm (UTC)
Thank you! <3 !