1795 Open Robe: It’s About Time For Some PROGRESS

Finally! *Actual* progress! The 1795 Robe is almost completely constructed, but still miles from being finished. This mockup in yellow linen is unlined, and I have an obsessive problem with the interiors of garments being as lovely as the exteriors. I originally wanted to avoid top-stitching the seams, but I made a mistake in cutting the seam allowances down too much and I would rather have a reinforcing stitch that a pulled and irreparable seam. It may still pull and cause me future grief.

Primarily tonight I finally patterned the underbust crosspieces that close the robe. I used my cutting mat’s grid and scaled the Janet Arnold pattern. Pinned in place on the form, I saw that the original pattern attaches to an interior lining with seams that are not visible on the outside (does that make sense?). To clarify, for this unlined robe I could not use the pattern piece as it was, so I just re-traced it and modified the piece to attach to the front edges of the robe. No biggy. The tiny little crosspieces are interfaced and lined in muslin, for strength and to hold the shape. I haven’t decided how I will close it yet – with hooks and bars, as shown on the original, but it might look a little plain – any suggestions for dressing up the closure?

I got one of the cap sleeves on before timing out and giving up for the night. The cap sleeves on the gown and robe are where I deviate the most from the period-accurate garments. I will freely admit that I did this because my sleeve-drafting skills are so horrible that it’s better just to a) leave them off completely or b) do a cap sleeve or something equally as safe. In general, it looks just peachy, and I will be cooler as well. For the final feather robe I have not decided if I will attempt to draft the original sleeve pattern and work with that, or if it shall remain cap-sleeved.

So what’s next? Attaching the other sleeve, and finishing this robe the best I can. There is quite a lot of hand sewing involved in tacking down the pleats (from the inside), and whipstitching seam allowances, etc. It will go faster now that I’ve broken down and top-stitched the back seams…but I still have a lot ironing ahead of me.

There has also been progress on the gown, but that is for a future update :-). The whole ensemble is to be worn this Sunday, June 14th, for Le Societe de Pique-Nique’s first picnic event, which leaves me, oh, less than a week!


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