Long lasting Robe a La Franchaise – Photoshoot

Once the Robe a la Francaise finally was finished, I couldn’t wait to get it photographed. So I asked my sister to help me take some pic (on one of the windiest day no doubt).

I’m wearing the newly finished Robe Francaise, over matching petticoat, regular petticoat, Panniers, Stays, chemise, stockings, “Kensington” American Duchess shoes, a masquerade wig, pearl bracelet and a lace fan.

Inspiration Me and Madame Pompadour
Pictures by: Elin Evaldsdotter 

A video of the dress in motion (viwes best without sound)

And a bonus one where I’m “Bounching” and busting a pin in the stomacher

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Long lasting Robe a La Francaise – Construction

When I started this project back in 2014 I never thought it would take this long to get it done, (then, a bit later I thought I would never finish) But here it finally is, My long awaited Robe a la Francaise.

As mentioned this project took it’s sweet time to get finished, and it all started with this:
A pink/flower/striped polyester satin found in the bargain bin at my local fabric store.
I immediately though it would be perfect for a Francaise, and bought the while bolt (8-9m)

Then it rested a while in my stash while I finished some other projects and gathered the courage to actually get on with it.

The intention was to make something like these

The project then started in 2014 when I made my 18th century long stays, and then cut into the fabric to make the skirt/petticoat for the dress.The first version of this petticoat paired with my (then) newly made stays.

In jan 2015 I continued the project by making my “Panniers of pain” (and getting started on the actual robe)

Along the way the petticoat have evolved a bit and here is the final result after some additional tweaking of the hip-pleats, hem and adding of some decoration.

In January 2015 I started on the robe by drafting the pattern, making the mock-up and cutting the fabric.

I spent so manny hours hand-stitching the pieces, draping the pleats, adding the lining, and making the lacing holes, that I eventually tried of the whole thing.
(the curse of the creative – always got to move on to new exiting things).

Then, in Jan 2017 I picked them up again, and continued by adding the sleeves, and making (and adding) all the trimmings.
 The firs try on after 2 years (and 1 baby) – and it fits like a glove :-D.

But then I got stuck on how to best solve the tapering of the sleeve flounce, and since I no longer felt the excitement over neither the fabric nor the gown itself the project once more went back in the closet.

Unfortunately all y pictures from the construction (from 3 years past) got lost in a computer crash in mars, (It wasn’t even the damn computer that crashed – but the extern memory/safety backup where I kept all the old pictures:-( – how is that even possible) and all I got left are these who happened to be on my phone.

In June, however, my interest returned when I found this picture:

“Portrait of a lady” (thought to be Madame de Pompadour) by François-Hubert Drouais

Whoa!
So close!

And once more the excitement came rushing back.

So I spent a few more hours finishing the lace flounces and decorating the stomacher, and that was that.

The Finished Francaise:

Just the facts:

Challenge: nr 8/2017 – Ridiculous
 – Fashion is sometimes a little silly, and historical fashions can look particularly odd. Make something that was considered outrageous in its own time, or is just utterly ridiculous to modern eyes.

What: A 1760s Robe a la Francaise

How it fit the challenge: The special shape of the Robe Francaise, with its wide hips/panniers and full back pleats makes it instantly recognizable for the modern viewer as a piece from one of the most exaggerated part of history. Both the shape and the “fru fru” trimmings are cause for ridicule and head-scratching in our time, even if it was a more common and sought after sight back in the 18th century.

Pattern: I draped my own based on drawings from Waughs “Cut of Womens Clothes” and Arnolds “Pattern of Fashion”

Fabric: 6-7 m of a thick flowery/striped polyester satin, 0,5 m cotton twill for interlining and 0,5m white cotton for lining.

Notion: Thread, 2 m cotton cord for lacing, 3 m plastic bones for back opening and stomacher, about 20m of thin cotton lace for the trimming, 5 m of 15 cm whide cotton lace fro the sleeve ruffles and 5 buttons for decoration on the stomacher.

How historical accurate: So so. The fabric are polyester (should have been silk), the pattern and construction method are ok since its draped for my (corseted) body and entirely hand sewn. The print on the fabric is a bit to modern, but as shown in the above portrait not to far of. The business of the design/print are totally accurate even though it may seem a bit over the top for our modern sensibilities. I’ll give it a 7/10

Time: Waaay to long… I started this project in the autumn 2014, the again winter 2014/2015, and again winter 2016/2017 and only now (summer 2017) got around to finish it. I spend somewhere between 100-150 hours on the dress.

Cost: Not sure but I’ll guesstimate about 600 Sek (75Usd).

First worn: For photos in late July

Final thoughts: I’m so happy that it is finished! And even though there is some things I liked to have made differently I think it is spectacular, and it’s so fun to wear.

***

For this project I alos made a Masquerade wig to match my gown.

It’s made from a re-styled and powdered halloween wig.

The finished wig:
pic from before the photoshoot

Shirts for a Gentleman

Last fall, right before I hit the wall sewing wise I’d taken on one of my rare commissions (I don’t usually sew for others unless its totally on my terms).
But when my wonderful dancing master Sievert asked me if I could help him update his historical shirts I couldn’t say no.

He needed both a new medieval and a new regency shirt to use on our dance recitals.

So I got some nice cotton (I know linnen would be more accurate but I was to make them on machine anyway. And they needed to be easy to wash and care for), made some quick pattern calculations and cut the rectangles needed for both the shirts.

Then I stopped, put my head in the sand and closed my eyes to everything sewing/historical (because pregnancy can do that to you)

More then 10 months later (after the birth of my son, and then some), I was once more ready to tackle the shamefully late commission.

So after one intense week of sewing in between feedings, I managed to sew and deliver both shirts.img_0882

The process went pretty fast and straight forward except one little hiccup –
While putting the last hand on and pressing the Medievals shirt I noticed the seam allowance on the outside on one of the sleeves.

Meaning i’ve put it in inside out.

Crap!

So it was on to un-picking the french felled seam (with hand finishing:-( )
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I then turned the sleeve outside- in and re-attached it, pressed and once more used tiny hand stitches to fell the seam.

There done!

Or, wait a second…

NOOOOoooo!!!

I done the exact same mistake AGAIN!

Some of you might remember that I’ve done this before (on my Borgia chemise les then a month before).

How is it even possible that I didn’t learn?
By now I tossed the damned thing into the corner and went to sleep, debating with myself if I could leave it like that.
Of course I couldn’t – It was  a commission piece after all.

So bring back the seam ripper.

The only trouble was that these folded french seams needs really small seam allowance to look good, and the only way to achieve that is by trimming it after you stitched the first seam. This practice, and the fact I’ve done it wrong not one, but twice, meant that I cut of about 1,5 cm on the left shoulder compared to the right. Making the whole garment a bit of.

Once the sleeve was re-set, a third time, I quickly finished and packed the shirt away, out of sight.

The finished medieval shirt:img_0420

img_0388The final result after all the re-stitching.

img_0428Sleeve with ties

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Then it was time to get cracking on the Regency shirt.

This time I didn’t do the same mistake (Hurray!), and the shirt was finished in a few days.

The finished Regency shirt: img_0873

img_0878Metal buttons on a standing collar.

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The two shirts now at their new home.img_0884Lets hope he gets a lot of wear out of them.

2016 in Review

2016 is one of those years we will always remember for it’s tragic events, raising lack of humanity/ compassion for the most vulnerable in our society (and world).

But for me, 2016 will always be one of the mot important years in my life – it’s the year my son was born.

Thus a big change in my priority’s (and time/energy) leaving my sewing somewhat on the backwater.
And taking into account that I had a 6 months hiatus from sewing last winter(Oct 2015 – April 2016) there is a miracle I managed anything at all. But I did actually finish a few items both before and after my delivery in June.

And here they are:

1790s printed Roundgown:
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Viscose 1790s Roundgown (both with and without baby-bump)IMG_9669

Regency Petticoat IMG_9661

Babyclothes:
Modern:
Jackets, bodys, pants, hats and rompers several of each.IMG_9732 IMG_9915

Historical:
A hat and shirt for a newborn IMG_0282

Halloween:
Henry VIII Costumeimg_1718

Menswear:
(not yet posted about)

Medieval shirt:img_0416

Regency Shirt:img_0861

1950s turquoise viscose dress:IMG_0842

1450s Italian Gown:img_0524

1400s Chemise IMG_0334

1450s Italian Court Gown img_0442

1550s Elizabethan gown:img_1581

Brocade gown img_1480

  Quilted petticoatimg_1033

I’ve also finished a few minor projects like, hemming skirts/pants, sewing curtains/pillows, adjusting dresses etc.

And as always I have a few things on their way which I didn’t manged to finish before the new year (but which hopefully will be completed in he following months).

Al in all I think I did pretty well with my 3 mayor project, which all has been on my wishlist for quite some time.

Qvilted Purple Petticoat

Once my Elizabeth I dress was finished, it was time to get some good photos of the outfit.

The night before the photoshoot I pulled out all the things needed (stockings, shoes, hairpins, and so on) when I noticed my green quilted petticoat was no where to be found.
After some searching I suddenly realized – It (amongst lots of other stuff) was currently on loan to Ekenäs castle as part of an exhibition.

Crap!

And I didn’t own anything to get even close to the bounciness it provided to my skirts.
And the Elizabethan gown REALLY needed some serious bounce…

Dubble crap!

So what’s a girl to do?

Make another one of course!

Thankfully they are not that hard to make, and since I actually had planned to make a second one a while back, so the needed material was already waiting in my “to make” pile.

A pre-quilted bedspread bought cheep at a big dollar store.
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The facts:

What: A Quilted petticoat aprox 1500-1900
used in the past for warmt and skirt support (to get the fashionable shape)

Pattern: None – It’s basically a rectangle pleated to a waistband.

Fabric & Notions: One pre-quilted Bedspread, thread, 0.3m cotton scraps, hooks and eyes.

Time & Costs: About 3 hours and 100 sek (12 Usd)

Final thoughts: This is such a nice and fast piece to make, and even though it’s not as sturdy as my green petticoat I really like the shape it gives. Plus it will aslo work as a skirt worn with a 18th century jacket or Anglaise.

Exhibition of costumes at Ekenäs Castle

Back in April a friend of mine (who just happens to be the tenant at a 17th century castle close by) asked if I would like to put some of my costumes on display.

Would I?
Of course 🙂

We discussed back and forth for a while which ones to choose.
Then the planes got put on hold both due to our massive workload and due to the upcoming birth of my child.

In end of June we resumed the planing, and decided a date for her to come and collect the outfits.

So the day before, I went down in the basement and located all the bits and pieces for the 4 chosen costumes.
Then I got to work mending and ironing everything to get them all to look their best.

IMG_9953It’s hard work ironing 4 m of train.

IMG_9956Collected outfits – sorted, ironed and ready to ship.

IMG_9955I also lend her my dress-forms.

The castle Ekenäs is a museum with several different styles of interior decoration (from 17th century until early 20th century), and we wanted the costumes to represent a wide variety of times/people. Or at least as much of a variety you can get with only 4-5 shown pieces.

Here are the ones we choose:

1880s evening gownIMG_5660

Displayed in the dining hall next to the old piano and beautiful set dining room table.IMG_9990

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1780s Flower Robe AnglaiseIMG_3585

Displayed in the living-roomIMG_0009

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1790s Gentlemans wool outfitIMG_1115-ok

Also displayed in the living-roomIMG_0010

1913s Walking-dressIMG_0614

Displayed in one of the bedroomsIMG_0015

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And 1880s underwearIMG_5851

Displayed in one of the master bedroomsIMG_0024

I went to visit the Castle the other day, and got to look at my costumes the way the other visitors did. It was quite fun to watch old ladies and children alike photograph and point at my dresses.
And I must say, they really added something to the room and their exhibitions.

18th century/Regency Dance recital

In the end of April my dance team attended a the local event called “dance week”, where teams and dancers from all genres in dance.

The theme was 18th century/regency and we all dressed in our favorite costumes. I wore my new regency Round Gown (which I only just finished that same morning…)

We had a short recital and then invited the on-lockers to participate for a few dances.

The whole event was pretty low key, with only a few on-lockers, but it felt good to once more dress up and move my ever growing body.

(Sorry for the poor photos)IMG_5966

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IMG_6027Together with some of the interested public.

IMG_6118The whole team gathered.

Regency Round Gown – Construction

Long time no seen.
I´ve been living in my bubble for the past couple of months, but I have been creating some small tings while taking a break from blogging.

In the beginning of April, I got into my head that maybe I should join the dance team for one last performance before my time was due.
The recital was a 18th century/Regency themed one, set to April 24 (two weeks from then) – and I had nothing to wear.

You would think I’d be able to use one of my regency dresses (with lots of space for my growing belly), but unfortunately some other parts of me had grown as well (yes I´m talking to you, boobs), and there was no way I could close any of my old dresses.

So, a new one it is…

I’ve long been planing to make a regency/transitional round gown, and this was my chance.
Not only would it be perfect for accommodating my growing belly, but later it would also work as an “easy to access” nursing gown. Perfect!rd10

round-gowns-heideloff-gallery-of-fashion-1794-1802

I used the pattern from “Cut of Womens clothes” as a guide for the draping and seam placement, and the “Laughing Moon” wrap front spencer pattern for the front bodice foundation.
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As usual I drafted the pattern and made a mock-up.
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Due to my growing belly, I could not use my regency stays, but trusted a modern sports bra to do the work – after all for this project comfort was a priority.

Once happy with the fit, I when’t through my stash and soon found exactly hat I was after – a beautiful flower viscose in different shades of blue. And the almost 2 m of it would be exactly enough to make the dress.
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I cut the lining in a lavender blue satin (also from stash) and began the assembly.IMG_9601

All the seams in the back melts together from the print, but I do like the structure it gives to the bodice non the les.
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Once the back pieces was ready, it was time to get working on the front.IMG_9615Draping the front pattern

Using two gathering treads, I collected and arranged the fabric at the shoulder and under bust seamIMG_9622

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Before and after gathering the width.

Once the basic shape was done I tweaked it a bit by raising the under bust seam and removing a few cm from the neckline.IMG_9630

I stitched the lining using darts for bust shaping, IMG_9609

and basted the lining to the outer fabric.
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Then I added the sleeves and skirt.IMG_9640 The first look at how it might look once done (skirt just basted at this point).

I tried the dress on, and it fitted like a (very soft and unbelievable comfortable) glove.
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IMG_9655Tiny belly showing…
All that remained was to add ties and buttonhole for clouser and to hem the dress.

But before I could take the dress out for a spin (literally) I needed to make myself a skirt to match, to prevent any mishaps in the “underwear showing through the front opening” category.

Said and done.
I cut two widths of the same lavender fabric and stitched them together.
I pleated the top to a waistband, added shoulder straps, clouser and finished it by hemming.

The finished skirt/petticoat:IMG_9661

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The finished dress:IMG_9669

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IMG_9682Back shoulder

IMG_9683Ties in the back

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Sneak a peak from the photoshoot;IMG_6187