Tag: French

French 18th Century court dress – Part 2

What I love about the 18th century fashions is all the little details that make up the whole garment. This means trims and for this dress, lot and lots of box pleats.

This tutorial was very helpful in working out the box pleats. In the end all I needed was a ruler, a pencil, a hot iron and a lot of pins. To get the right amount of fabric for the pleats I went from a ration from 1:3. This meant I had to cut, baste and overlock about six metres of fabric all up so there would be enough for the pleats.

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This first set of pleats were 5cm wide. They were, mostly, to cover the stitches of the extra panel I had added to the hem. But when I attached them I liked how they looked so much that I decided to add some more smaller ones for the very bottom of the skirt.

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This next set of pleats I made smaller. Only 2cm wide. A bit more difficult to make them smaller, but it was good practice as I do plan to make some more of the same size for the overskirt.

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Attaching the pleated trim to the skirt gave it a weight and drape that I really liked. It also made it clear that the skirt needed more support than it had from the fairly lightweight petticoat. More petticoats was the answer, probably.versaillles_dress8versaillles_dress9

Next up, some metallic trim to hide those ugly overlocking edges!

French 18th Century court dress – part 1

My first big project may be a bit more than I can take, but I have been learning things on the way so that may make it worthwhile.

To start this my inspiration was this 18th century dress from the Met collection. Fortunately the website also does high-quality images to get right down to fine details.

The pattern I am basing this on is Simplicity 4092, it does have a zipper to close at the back which isn’t very accurate (zippers being invented around the 1940s), but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. The dress pattern also comes with a pattern for the pocket hoop panniers, but I decided to start a bit simpler with these colonial hip pillows I purchased from Ebay.

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For fabric, I went to the furnishing section of Spotlight and purchased some tapestry Jacquard. Six metres all up (initially I purchased only three metres then had to go back the other day to get another three metres as I ran out that night).versailles_materialI used the instructions from American Duchess to make a petticoat to fit over the panniers. For fabric I used an old pair of curtains that had never been used. They had the necessary length and width to fit over the panniers and still have plenty of fabric left to be full.

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I was making the skirt on a bit of a time limit and I followed the instructions to just make the underskirt which secured at the back. This did make it rather heavy to wear and did come down when I wore it at our costumed event. The hem was also very short and curled up.

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So I used the same method for the underskirt as I used for the petticoat. Two ties securing the waist rather than just one. This made the skirt sit a lot better and looked more authentic. I also added a panel to the front to give it length and weight.

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That done, it was onto trimming and decorating!