adjective: old fashioned, out of style, unfashionable [from French, the past participle of démoder "to go out of fashion," from mode "fashion"].


historical research

the gowns:

the presentation


The Princesse d'Essling - Created & Modeled by Maegen Hensley

Princesse dEssling
Princesse dEssling
Princesse dEssling
The Princesse d'Essling
Maegen as the Princesse


The dress in the painting appears to be made out of silk taffeta, trimmed with a combination of lace, fringe, and self-fabric bows.  The sleeves and tucker appear to be some sort of sheer fabric, possibly silk organza. 

As a reproduction, Maegen used silk taffeta with a slightly golden sheen trying to match the effect of the fabric in the painting.  The lace was a challenge, and though not a perfect match, complements the dress perfectly.  Synthetic fringe and lace was used. 

fabric fabric


The pattern was created out of a friend’s bodice pattern (that originated in some form a Simplicity Pattern), but changed so much as to make it Maegen's own.  Standard 1850s bodice with princess seams and back eyelet opening.  It is adorned with a pleated bertha and bows at the center front and shoulders. The sides and front are boned as history has shown was done.

The sleeves and tucker are out of silk organza.  These were a bigger challenge, as it is not apparent what type of sleeves these are.  After studying the layout of the fringe as a trim to the sleeve, it was concluded that the lower organza sleeves are pagoda or horn shaped (example in the fashion plate below).  It was the only way the fringe could reach back behind the body as the painting indicates.  

The bertha was draped with a base lining of stiff netting, as originals have shown to be made on.  The pleats are bias cut strips attached carefully and mathematically.  This particular bertha has no opening and is attached at the side seams and front.  It is adorned with the same lace and fringe as the skirt and finished with front and side bows out of self-fabric.  The tucker is a strip of silk organza finished with three drawstrings to create the smooth flat look.

bodice bodice


One of the most impressive elements to this dress is the scalloped finished edges on the three flounces.  The process included a template, scallop sheers, gently applying fray block to avoid fraying, and hours of scratching off the access fray block to appear not to have been applied it at all but still having it do its job. 

Each flounce is adorned with lace and fringe, and gathered into the base skirt of pink cotton.  The original probably would have had a base skirt of the same fabric, but due to financial constraints, this was not possible.  A band of pink silk taffeta was added to the bottom of the reproduction for protection and to give the appearance of having a silk taffeta underskirt.

There appears in the painting another element to the dress, just behind the arm on the skirt itself.  After much investigation, it was discovered that some dresses had a peplum-like addition or trim added to their skirt or attached at the bodice.  For each of construction and in order to create this odd effect, a layer of organza trimmed in fringe was added to the waistband of the skirt.  This was added after the pleating and draped to ensure that it lay correctly.  The effect turned out exactly like the painting.

skirt Princesse dEssling


Chemise is cotton and patterned from the Elizabeth Stewart Clark sample on her web page.  Corset is meant for later period garments but still creates the shape of the period.  Flounced petticoat made out of cotton.


Only two pieces of accessories are shown in the painting:  a golden bracelet, and a three stranded pearl necklace.  Special faux-pearls were purchased in the exact size and shade of ivory for this dress, then stranded to be an exact replica. 



Hair was dyed especially to match, and hair pieces helped create the necessary style of the period.  The painting does not show any hair embellishments, but since it is was rare for a lady to dress up without putting anything in her hair, Maegen added a bow out of the pink silk taffeta to complete the picture.

hair bodice
© démodé, contact.
Please see my copyright/common sense page before using this webpage or images for anything other than personal or educational use.
Last revised June 20, 2008.
This page is http://www.demodecouture.com/projects/eugenie/essling.html.