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

the concept

1770s robe à la polonaise

the fabric

the pattern

draped by me

the deadline

Costume Con - April 28, 2009

the result

useful links


Galerie des Modes.

Ribeiro, Aileen. Dress in Eighteenth-Century Europe, 1715-1789. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2002.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Finished... but I'm not happy with it. The bodice fit ended up giving me problems (gappy neckline which I solved by taking a big tuck on each side) and I STILL had to yank to pin it shut. So whenever I can stomach it, I will recut and remake the bodice fronts. Hey, I like the back! So for now, here's where it is:


posted by démodé 12:33 PM 9 comments

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Life has been busy, and altho I've been finding time to sew, it's been slower going than I'd like. But the end is in sight, so that's a good thing.

First I worked on the petticoat -- it's THREE (count 'em) panels of 54" wide fabric, trimmed with a self-fabric flounce. For some reason I caught Teh Dumb and could NOT get the pleats on the flounce to work out mathematically -- I quartered and quartered again, and then suddenly I'd end up with way more fabric in a particular section. I don't know. It took me most of a day just to pin the frickin' flounce. Sigh. So it's been hemmed and the flounce attached, but I haven't yet pleated the skirt/attached to a waistband, so here's how it's looking right now:


I needed to switch gears after too much swearing at that petticoat flounce, so I've been working on the trim. It's all cut from the petticoat fabric, which frays like there is NO TOMORROW. I tested out some fray block (on the petticoat top edge, which gets folded under so no one sees it) and unfortunately it shows (which makes it a no-go in my eyes). I went ahead with the pinked edges, ending up with ten million little threads on me as I sewed (it took me about 4 yards of masking tape it get it off my pants). SO... I may just ignore it - the plan is to stitch the faux-fly-fringe braid down on top of where the fabric is sewn down, but I COULD sew the fly fring right on the edge and hope that finishes it a bit? But it probably won't. So I think I'll just have to live with fray.

It's all done, except for the other skirt front edge. I also want to experiment with using trim to create a zone effect, but I want to actually try the sucker on for that (oh the laziness!), as it's not exactly the most slimming effect and since I have to have it with the turque, I don't want to add it here if it's not flattering. Then it's on to fly fringe, and ribbons, and lace, and maybe figuring out how I'm going to polonaise this sucker would be good too...

posted by démodé 10:36 AM 7 comments

Monday, March 23, 2009

Getting there! I fixed the fitting problems on this one by letting out the center back a touch, and then letting out the CF edges (ie smaller seam allowances). Then it was just a matter of finishing up the various bits & pieces (straps, lots of handsewing because I am crazy). As with my turque, I bag lined the sleeve and attached it by machine - I figured, I'm never going to enter these dresses in ANY sort of competition, why do I care? I need to get OVER this handsewing thing (or at least save it for when it I've got the time and energy).

Here's a front shot, over what will NOT be its petticoat (I was too lazy to take off my turque's petticoat just for pics). I've since marked the hem but I haven't yet figured out exactly how the polonaise-ing will work, so no back shots just yet.


Now, this sucker will be trimmed to high heaven... it's all about the FROOF, baby! Here's a shot of the petticoat fabric, which will also be ruches on the gown itself (note the color isn't great - the green is less olive-y in real life). Haven't yet figured out exactly what those ruches will look like - need to look through my image files for inspiration. I also found some ribbon in my stash that will work well for a CF neckline bow, and enough fly fringe (that I got in a workshop with Sally Queen at Costume College!) to do something fancy around the neckline (but not enough to do anything else - anyone seen this stuff for sale anywhere?). And then lace for the neckline -- I'm either going to use this antique lace (left) or modern lace I found in the garment district (right). I know, you immediately think, "Use the antique, dork!" But is THIS the project that gets the antique lace? I always try to pick up antique lace because finding GOOD, non-cheesy modern lace is so hard to do... but I still have to hoard it. So I need to ponder that a while. So picture lots of ruches, ribbons, fly fringe, and lace, and you'll get an idea of what's going to happen here!


posted by démodé 11:13 AM 6 comments

Friday, March 13, 2009

So this is my other Williamsburg/Costume Con project -- a 1770s robe à la polonaise with en fourreau back. I've wanted to make an en forreau-back gown for a long time now, but just haven't had the opportunity.

This is yet another amazingly-nice-people story. About a year or two ago, a reader of this site contacted me saying she had some beautiful printed green silk taffeta that she was never going to use, and did I want it? Wow! Sure, I said, send it along... and imagine how happy I was when I saw it! I thought it was close enough to the painted silks of the late 18th century -- specifically this 1775-80 polonaise at the V&A -- that it would be perfect for an anglaise or polonaise (altho it also read 1899-1901 to me for some reason too -- but as you know, it's all 18th century around here these days). Sadly, I lost her name and contact information when my computer hard drive failed and I lost all my email about a year ago -- so if you are the fairy godmother in question and you're reading this, please contact me so I can thank you properly!

I'm making this dress using the same pattern and outline as I'm using for my robe à la turque, although without the overgown element in the bodice, of course. And they'll have different sleeves and trimmings.

So while my turque will be relatively plain as is in keeping with that style, this dress is going to be froofy to the maximum! In general, I'm inspired by the V&A polonaise:


What I do specifically will be dictated by what I find this weekend in the LA Garment District. I'm thinking a solid, slightly darker green petticoat -- need to pick up the taffeta for that. In terms of trimming, the solid green trimmings/bows on the V&A gown were added in the 19th century (and probably the dress was altered in other ways), but I do like the look. Alternatively, I might do the covered-in-white-gauze look that you see in a lot of the fashion plates, like this 1780 polonaise from Galerie des Modes:


So I've been working on this at the same time as my turque, with the same issues in terms of trying to do things fast but obviously needing therapy given the amount of hand sewing I'm doing. It's coming together well:
Putting the bodice togetherBodice back, with lining only at the center backDraping the en fourreau center back
The skirt attached, and en fourreau pleats stitched down

All would be lovely, except that last night I decided to try on both dresses... I'm used to my dress form being slightly larger than me so didn't worry about the fact that I couldn't pin the gown closed on the form (see pic above). Except when I put them both on, neither fits. ARGH! I'm so irritated! I used the pattern from my indienne gown, which is too big on me these days. So I tried that on, figured I needed to take out 2" total, adjusted the pattern, and yes, MADE A MOCKUP. Which fit. And now the dresses don't. razzarazaradasdnfkadsnlfkasdnfklasdnfk. Luckily I can let out the center back seams and adjust the en fourreau pleats, to let out the dress the required amount... But I'm really irritated at having to rework things, especially when I ALWAYS make sure things fit (I'm not one of those crazy "Oh I'll just cinch my corset extra tight and be miserable!" types -- I'm all about things fitting well, without pulling, and being comfortable). Le sigh!

Oh well, at least I'll be distracted for a day or two while I'm off picking up taffeta for the skirt, trimmings, and supplies for hat-making and can forget about fitting/rework irritation...

posted by démodé 12:41 PM 5 comments

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