1787ish round gown, 18th century, projects

Getting Sidetracked: 1787ish Round Gown

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.

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6 Comments

  • Reply Trystan June 3, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    Yay! I really loved that fabric on you, so I’m glad to see the gown getting done over.

  • Reply Sarah Lorraine June 3, 2011 at 6:45 pm

    Yay! Trystan and I were just talking about that dress a few weeks ago and how we were hoping you would revamp it and wear it again! :)

  • Reply lindseyerin37 June 3, 2011 at 7:21 pm

    Oooo I love it as a round gown! Very elegant indeed!

  • Reply Jenny-Rosw June 4, 2011 at 3:53 am

    Yay for remaking pretty fabric! I liked it before but I’m loving it as a round gown – yummy! And clearly “Jefferson in Paris” is in the air or something – I started on a new Robe à l’Anglaise yesterday inspired by one in JIP. How crazy is that for coincidence?!

  • Reply Aubry June 4, 2011 at 11:51 am

    Waste not, want not! I’m glad that gorgeous fabric isn’t languishing in your closet unloved. Its too pretty not to reuse.

  • Reply Katie June 6, 2011 at 6:47 pm

    Yay for restyling! And how period! :) It’s really pretty as a roundgown. I’ll bet it will be all shimmery in candlelight.

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