Next up, my interpretation of the c. 1780 redingote worn by Marie Antoinette:
Not an exact copy for sure, and I still need to add the random waist bow (is it a sash, do you think?) and various lace bits, plus I’d like to make a better cap more along the lines of the sketch. But I’m quite pleased with it!
The last bits to do were all the trimmy bits. For the zig-zaggy white taffeta bits, I measured the length of the skirt sides and drew out a template. The angle and spacing of the zig-zags really changes on the sketch. I’m not sure if that’s a perspective issue, or if the original really had such wonky trim, but I knew I couldn’t handle too much wonkiness! I did change the spacing a bit as it moves down towards the hem, but that’s it — all the different angles would have driven me crazy. I then cut lengths of pinked taffeta, which I gathered and sewed to the zig-zag edge, and then basted it all down. On top of that is some kind of textured/pleated black ribbon. I experimented with a number of different pleating techniques, all of which just didn’t read as anything, and finally ended up doing a zig-zagged gathering stitch on the ribbon and gathering it up. Luckily I spent 3 days helping my husband vend at WonderCon, so I was able to sit with this thing in my lap the whole time and hand sew! Finally, there were all those fabric covered buttons, which I made on the plane, on the train, and at the château… I used wooden button blanks from Burnley & Trowbridge, cut out all the circles of white taffeta while at home, and then sewed on various transports. Buttons are a great thing to make while travelling, as they’re small, quick, and easily portable!
I wanted to try something new for the underbodice effect, so knowing they did use stomachers with this style, that’s what I went with. It worked fine, especially since the fitted waist means that the robe doesn’t hang too much open. My initial plan was to straight-pin the robe down at the waist, but since the fabric is relatively heavy, this was annoying — every time I lifted the robe to get in to my pockets, I’d pull out the pin, which would get bent and wonky and I’d have to repin it. So for later wearings, I just gave up on pinning that point, and although the robe didn’t fit in quite as neatly at the waist, it wasn’t really a problem.
It was the perfect dress for traipsing about the grounds of the château — I felt very over-the-top with my train dragging in the dirt! I basted on a thick cotton facing as a train guard and I’m glad I did, as it got VERY dirty — it was satisfying to just rip it off when I got home!
I’m planning to wear this at Costume College — hopefully with Merja in her version? I was thinking about wearing it for the ice cream social, although I think the official redingote meet-up will be another day… I’m worried it’s too heavy to wear all day at CoCo in the heat and that I’ll quickly hit the wall!