1690s Mantua fit for Versailles?(HSM 9/2017) – Construction part 2

Once the skirt was done (read about it here) it was time to cut the new fabric for the gown.

The only trouble was that not only did I not have enough fabric, The fabric also had the stripes running the wrong way to my cutting plan.
So I ended up spending an entire evening re-calculating and testing layouts until I finally cut the whole gown on the cross (to get the stripes running down the body) and pieced the heck out of the train in several places.

Then it was time to actually get on to the sewing.

I started by basting interfacing to the main pieces, but not after going through some decision-anxiety about which side of the fabric I was to use. The choice fell on the “wrong” side where the stripes was les pronounced.

I basted the pleats and stitching the front and back bodice together.

I basted the neck piece and did a first test drape of the skirt.Here you can clearly se the difference between the back bodice sober stripes and the horizontal “right side” stripes on the draping.

Then I put it on for a try.

The fit was pretty good, but a bit to snug.

So I stitched down the pleats and the front darts, forgetting to let it out a bit when sewing up the side seams.  Stitching the back seams.

Unfortuanly the fabric shows EVERY mistake, both puckering and letting out of seemsSo I decide to keep it as it where – better a tad to small then ugly markings at each seam.

The I added some boning to the back and side seams to help keep the shape on the fabric once worn.

Once the main bodice was done, I started on the front pieces/robbings(?)And as I didn’t had a pattern piece for them I’d just cut something along the right shape when i cut the fabric. And after some draping on the dressform (and myself) I ended up with a smaller shape which I then pinned and stitched down on top of the front hiding bot the darts and the strange seam that was the shoulder seamHere you can see the experimenting and draping of the front pieces on myself.

I also did some work on the sleeves and added a cuff and pleated the top to the armhole.  Trying out the sleeve before attaching the neck and front-piece.

Once the main gown was finished the only other thing that I needed to decide was what color would I trim it in?   Silver or gold?
Both have there merits – silver matches the gown fabric nicely, but the gold was more common in the time-period and brings out the copper in the petticoat.

After lots of back and forth (why is these decisions always so damn hard?) the golden trim won, and I hand basted and stitched 12 m of lace to the gown and stomacher.  I though for a while to ad eyelets to tie the gown on top the stomacher as seen in several pictures, but figured I’d just pin it in place for the time being.

The finished dress:

Just the facts:

Challenge: nr 9/2017 – Seen on screen – Be inspired by period fashions as shown onscreen (film or TV), and recreate your favourite historical costume as a historically accurate period piece.

What: a 1690s Mantua

How it fit the challenge: Gowns like this was worn during Louis VIX reign in France, and therefor fit perfectly with the TV-show Versailles.

Pattern: I drafted my own using the 1690-1770s Mantua pattern from Waughs “Cut of Womens clothes”.

Fabric: 5 m of striped polyester taffeta and 1 m of white cotton for lining for dress, and 2,5 m of copper polyester taffeta for the skirt.

Notions: Thread, boning for the stomacher and back/side seams, 1 m of bias tape for boning channels, 12 m of golden lace trim, and 1 m of dark blue velvet ribbon for belt. And 5 m of blue polyester fringe for the skirt.

How historical accurate: Not particularly I’m afraid. The fabric and construction techniques are all modern, even though the pattern and general shape is ok, and they did have a flair for stripes and fringes at the time. One thing I didn’t know until halfway done though, was the facts that this type of gowns usually closed center front omitting the stomacher of the later era completely. I’ll give it a 5/10.

Time: About 30 hours in total, but I’ll guess at 10-15 hours if I was to make another one right away.

Cost: Everything besides from the fringe (which I got from a thrift store) came from stash. But I’ll guess about 600 Sek (50 Usd) wen first bought.

First worn: Early October for photos

Final Thoughts: I’m feeling a bit mixed about this dress. I did feel fabulous wearing it (and most of the photos turned out great), but I’m not entirely happy about some of the constructions “mistakes”, like puckering seams in the back and the fact it’s not a closed front as it should be.

 Apparently it works as a driveway to 🙂

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6 thoughts on “1690s Mantua fit for Versailles?(HSM 9/2017) – Construction part 2

  1. Oh my gosh! I love this! You did an amazing job, all your work is so inspirational. Thank you also for all the construction steps, I love this style but really have no idea how to even start a dress like this.

  2. Your color combinations are just gorgeous and I think everything you make looks just great on you. The gold lace is very effective. Well done and baby looks so cute sitting on your train.

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