Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Fun sewing: mock ups for re-sizing my 18th century Robe a l'Anglais

So, years and years ago I made this dress:

I got this to count as an independent study in college, so I got college credit for it. Sweet, right? Any who, it was snug back then. Now? Heh. I just can't get it to fit quite right. I am 99.9999999% sure I screwed up the front closures slightly (massively?) and now those problems are exaggerated with the two children later sizing problem.

I don't have a picture, but whenever I have worn it to parties (what would I give for a good re-enactment encampment!) I just pin a silk scarf over it to hide the fact that it can't close all the way.

I also decided that it could also do with some fun trim and I just scored some antique ribbons and lace from a junk shop. Also, the figure would look a lot better/fuller with a small pannier, so I improvised with pillows on my dress form until I make one.

Fun, right? Everything is crooked since it is just pinned in place. The pinkish color fabric in the middle of the bodice is called a stomacher. Right now it is just a piece of modern print scrap fabric. I think I want to make the real one with a burgundy silk, but I have a lot of other color ideas too.

 I like the ribbons, I think. I have found a lot of period dresses tied with ribbons. Obviously, when sewing in place they would be ironed and straight.

When the skirts are hiked up in the back, it is called a la Polonaise. This is the popular shepherdess style that you often see in movies.

As you can see, it is a lot wider in these new pictures compared to when I wore it a million years ago. That is because I added a mock pannier to the dress form.

I wish it wouldn't be socially awkward to wear this to the grocery store.


  1. I loved this post! what a neat dress! :) Did you get Fr. A's message saying 'hi' from me? It was so nice to meet him when he came to the monastery in MI with St. Anna! :)

  2. Um…I think you should totally wear it to the grocery store. What are they gonna do--look?! lol. If I was thin, & owned a dress like this (or could make my own!), I'd totally wear it to the store :-)
    …as a side note, I once wore a golden crown with fake jewels I made at a Library function (for kids, but, I don't care much about ages!) to Walmart after, & every child that saw me asked if I was either a Princess, or if it was my Birthday! :-)


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