Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Pattern

Step number 2 on my road to a robe a la francaise - the pattern.

Okay…in the spirit of trying to be historically accurate, I’m planning on using a scaled pattern from Janet Arnold’s Patterns of Fashion 1680-1880. There’s one in there for a robe a la française around the right time. What’s great about that pattern is that there is a detailed description of the same dress in Costume in Detail by Nancy Bradfield. And a photo of it on the National Trust web site.

So I’ll have lots of good info on the pattern. (I'll just be trimming it a little differently.)
The stripes on the sleeves are wrong, so I’ll fix that. Both books specifically mention how unusual it is for a dress of this period to have the stripes running vertically on the sleeves. So I'll do it the usual way - with the stripes running horizontal around the arm.

For the construction details, I’m going to try to make them historically accurate also. There’s a great book called Costume Close-Up by Linda Baumgarten that contains very good instructions in how people in the 18th century sewed and constructed garments. There’s also some good tips in Fitting and Proper by Sharon Ann Burnston.

Plus I found this really great blog by a grad student who was studying 18th century construction and decided to make some items for an exhibition. Check it out at Rockin’ the Rococo (http://brocadegoddess.wordpress.com).

And Koshka (Catherine) over at The Fashionable Past has lots and lots of pics of how she draped hers. (http://koshka-the-cat.blogspot.com/search/label/chocolate%20francaise).
I like pictures!!
Hers is a little earlier period than mine, so mine will have a seam at the waist. But it definitely gives some good tips.

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