starlightmasque (starlightmasque) wrote,

Wreath Robe a la Francaise: How it was made


This dress was made for Pam, a lovely lady back east.  She sent me the fabric she wanted her gown to be made from-- and I think it turned out so terrific!  It was an embroidered poly taffeta, and it was very pleasant to work with. The best part was she sent 13 yards, which was juuuuuust  enough! Any less and this gown would have looked very different.  I used up nearly every inch of fabric available!

To see how I made the underskirt, click here for the LiveJournal write-up, or here for the dress diary.  This main gown write-up is going to be fairly sparse, life got really complicated in the middle of making this, so I really didn't take any time to photo anything-- it was all Sew! Sew! Go! Go!  And even then it took me way too long to complete-- my appologies, Pam! Hopefully the blue toile pockets and the pretty pearl chandelier earrings I sent along with the gown will make up for my tardiness!

To begin the main gown, I had to draft a new bodice pattern, which is always a stressful chore. I worry about fit every moment! It is a boned bodice, so there is no need for any stays with the gown. It's a theatrical style build, so she can easily dress herself.



I start with paper, and then when I think that is okay, I move on to a mock up fabric, and when I think that is okay I trace it out to paper again for the formal pattern.


Then, it's finally time to cut out the fancy fabric.


all the layers cut out and ready for assembly.


The under-stomacher, fully boned with 1/4 inch steel bones, eyelets for lacing and snap tape to hold the pretty stomacher in place. (Nah, the snaps aren't backward, I sewed along the right side and then flipped them inward to keep them from catching in the seam allowance, in an effort to keep the whiteness of the tape from peeking out from behind the pretty over-stomacher.)


The bodice fronts fully assembled, checking the drape of the skirt fronts before attaching them to the bodice.


The back fully assembled.


Marking off where the ruched furbelows will be placed.


Sewing down the furbelows.


Making the pretty puff pleats to create the opposite side of the "wreaths."


After adding the strips of gold netting.


Snippety snip snip-- never ending snipping of thread tails. There were thousands of them by the time I was done!


Skirts attatched, front sewn to back at the sides and shoudlers.


The side pleats didn't give me a lick of trouble. They ususaly do, so I wondered why it was so easy this time... and I came to realise that the side seam  was cut on the straight grain, not the bias. This also made another nice thing happen to the front edge of the skirt--- no warping! When the skirts are cut the other way-- bias at the side and straight at the front, the side pleats give me headaches and the front edge warps. MUST REMEMBER FOR NEXT TIME! Those front edges lay nice and flat, and it's lovely.


Sleeves attached, and more ruffly furbelows attached along all the front edges. It's really REALLY busy looking. I love it!



The stomacher-- I totally ran out of the thin gold lace, and had to sub another in its place... still looks damn fine, if I do say so myself! I didn't take any photos of the sleeves or the stomacher being made-- real life was moving too fast to sync with blog life!



...and, finally, ready for pretty website photos, which you can see here at the dress diary, or here on LiveJournal.  (Oh, and I forgot to mention adding the bows and pearl tassels all over the place. This gown had one million procedures, and I only documented about 10. Ah well.)

Tags: robe a la francaise, rococo
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