So on July 9, the GBACG is hosting the Evening at the Petit Trianon, which besides being my favorite era is going to be at the Bellevue Club in a really outstandingly amazing room (see Sarah’s post for a great pic).
I’m going to be playing the Duchesse de Polignac, and baby needs a new dress! Not because I don’t have a wardrobe full of 18th c., but besides my recently-worn-to-death peach francaise, I don’t have anything that seems perfect. Originally I was thinking I’d be wearing the Maja dress, but Trystan rightly pointed out that it’s not very Polignac-y. And I’m really feeling the mid- to late-1780s pull for this event/character. Trawling through my image morgue, what really appealed was an anglaise or roundgown with a big black sash with a big rhinestone buckle, and a big lace collar, like on this minor character in Jefferson in Paris.
If I weren’t broke right now I surely would have gone out and bought some new fabric, but in this case it’s a good thing I can’t, because it finally forced me to pull apart my ill-fitting 1780s robe a la polonaise to rescue the gorgeous fabric. I’ve been hanging on to the scraps I have left, assuming I would just piece in some pieces to the bodice. But as it never fit well to begin with, and as it definitely doesn’t fit over my new 1780s stays, I redrafted a new pattern and cut out new pieces.
Initially I was a little big leery of using this fabric, which works for me as a faux-painted Chinese silk worn in the 1760s, for a gown this late. I mean, I know they were all about reusing old fabrics/dresses, but I couldn’t find any examples of the painted silks being reused… but I went ahead and hoped it would work. Last night, I was happy to discover two painted Chinese silk dresses that were remade as 1780s styles in the new, revamped Kyoto Costume Institute digital gallery! Yay, my hunch was right!
I had to piece the hell out of it, particularly the bodice front and the sleeves, but hopefully it won’t detract! Because right now I am all about saving my hardcore handsewing energy for the Big Projects (like the Maja) and allowing myself to just bang out a Pretty Dress when that’s all I want, I bag lined and machine sewed this sucker — whee!
The contrast solid green doesn’t work for me anymore, so that’s all out the window. I want it to be somewhat simple and sophisticated, with a focus on the pretty fabric, a big lace collar, and the black velvet sash. I’d been thinking round gown, since I don’t have enough of the fabric to make a petticoat, but I really want a train and am worrying about putting a train on a round gown. So I decided to put what I had on the dress form to see if it would work for me with my white stripey cotton petticoat, but… nope! I like the roundgown best! The white petticoat is just too glare-y and detracts from the sophistication.