V190: Progress on the 1770s l’Anglaise

Oooo, fits niiice… LIES!

I spent all day yesterday working on this new robe a l’Anglaise, draping, then cutting and stitching.

Then correcting.

Correcting more.


More correcting.

Ah, if only that waist were in the same place my actual waist is…

I had the bodice fitting Franken-Lilly perfectly, but it turns out that I *still* didn’t have the right measurements on my dress form!  I measured the length of the hollow of my neck to my waist – 13 inches – but when I did so, I was looking down, not standing up straight, which resulted in that measurement being a whole inch off…and, of course, the dress being short in the waist by, you guessed it, 1 inch.


The bodice ended up meeting at the waist, in front, but not over the bust, so after letting seams out, and more cursing, I added an overlap to the CF.  This will be covered in trim, and at least now the bodice will close!

Not my ideal, but at least it is working now.

Here it is with half the skirt roughly pinned on, and a sleeve stuck up there to see how it will look.  Though all night was spent battling, and my fingers are raw, the thing appears to be working, yay!

Some day I will figure out what the heck I’m doing, and maybe actually get good at it, right about the time I’m too old and decrepit and arthritic to sew. /sigh.


  • Anonymous

    July 8, 2012 at 9:57 PM

    I find I can easily critique other's endeavors, but I must tell you my breath stops when I look at the fit and design of your robe l'Anglaise. It's STUNNING!

  • Lauren

    July 8, 2012 at 10:02 PM

    It's going to be gorgeous! I can understand the frustrations. I'm having a fit of the sleeves from hell!!! I don't know how many times I have redrafted them and I just can't get them to work right :/

  • Sakina

    July 8, 2012 at 10:12 PM

    Even as a work in progress I think it looks amazing! Thank you for sharing the difficulty along with the success. It gives me hope and energy in undertaking my own sewing projects. Love your fabric choices.

    • Lauren Stowell

      July 9, 2012 at 8:22 PM

      Thank you. It has been an unexpected challenge – I thought this gown would go together easily – but I'm learning lots by making mistakes.

  • looloolooweez

    July 8, 2012 at 11:45 PM

    This is beautiful, fitting issues aside (I'm glad you figured out a work-around). Can't wait to see the finished product!

    As as aside — images aren't showing up in your RSS feed. Just thought you'd want to know, if it isn't intentional. 🙂

    • Lauren Stowell

      July 9, 2012 at 8:23 PM

      Thank you – I've ended up starting over, but to the same effect, just actually fits now, lol.

      RSS feed – thanks for the heads up, I will look into it

  • lorienadamant

    July 9, 2012 at 2:00 AM

    Really, Anon? your comment, if intended as constructive criticism, missed the mark and came off quite haughty. if you meant to make yourself sounds smart at the expense if someone who continually puts her goals, successes, and failures in the public eye, perhaps you would like to put a name and some credentials to your snarky little comment. Shame on you.

  • Wildschrat

    July 9, 2012 at 2:22 AM

    LOL to your last sentence, Lauren – the one about the arthritis – that's what I always think, too, about myself and my botchwork. Nevertheless, your gown looks gorgeous! Keep it up, can't wait to see it finished! 🙂

  • Elegant Obasan

    July 9, 2012 at 2:26 AM

    I can only admire you sewing these fit-to-a-'T' dresses for yourself. Having yet to find a dress form that even remotely resembles my figure (and not having managed to carve out the time to file and pad my existing dress form) doing anything like this is still in my future rather than my present. I learn a lot watching you, though!

    • Lauren Stowell

      July 9, 2012 at 8:25 PM

      Well, it fit my dress form to a T, but not me! I started over and got it fitting me now, at least. It's important to remember (and this is me telling myself, lol) that the form is just an aid.

  • The Laced Angel

    July 9, 2012 at 9:39 AM

    Fitting issues aside, it looks fabulous and I'm diggin' the stripes!

    As for errant waistline measurements, now you know why I have a habit of flicking people under the chin when they look down while I'm measuring 😛 I am a little evil, but it works.

  • Hallie Larkin

    July 9, 2012 at 1:04 PM

    wide uneven stripes are not friendly to this type of gown. It is not your draping job it is the fabric choice that is making this a difficult project. For future ref you can set the center back panel slightly off grain, it will not only fit better but make the stripe less vertical and create the 18th c aesthetic of the trumpet shape traveling down the center back.

    • Lauren Stowell

      July 9, 2012 at 8:26 PM

      A little of both, Hallie – the pattern I draped was too small, and the stripes didn't help. I've started over and the whole thing is working better now, at least fitting! The stripes are about the same. Maybe if I just cover it with gobs of trim, it will all be okay in the end? lol!

  • Anonymous

    July 9, 2012 at 1:27 PM

    Just read that troll comment that was posted here. I'm mad for you! That person has obviously not looked at the body of your work, has not the spine needed to name themselves and prove their opinion has any merit, and has not bothered to read your post. If they had read it they would have noticed that you are challenging yourself and stretching beyond your comfort zone and you ACKNOWLEGDE what you see to be mistakes. I THINK IT IS DEVINE by the way!!! Hope that thread counting costuming Nazi is not out there teaching or mentoring. He/she will drive people to quitting. I'm also willing to bet they don't have a successful home business and thriving blog. I bet that person is as anonymous as he/she presented him/herself to you and I challenge that person to prove me wrong.

  • Anonymous

    July 9, 2012 at 4:12 PM

    Wow, you have been really busy! I don't know where you find the time to sew all this and run a blog. The gown looks great so far, I can't wait to see the finished product.

    Whoever the other anonymous commenter is, they are full of crap. The stripes look awesome!

    – The Mad Purple Chicken

  • Steph

    July 9, 2012 at 4:16 PM

    Oh, now now. Anonymous didn't come off as a thread-counting costuming Nazi. Just a cowardly ignoramous who didn't have anything better to say. A thread-counting costuming Nazi might actually have some knowledge to impart, however distastefully delivered.
    Your work constantly astounds me. You are clearly a master at what you do, as even masters make mistakes sometimes. The key is to learn from mistakes and strive to correct them where possible. Which you always do–and you share it with us, who can simply sit here and marvel at your level of skill.

  • Zach

    July 9, 2012 at 7:57 PM

    It's such a shame it doesn't fit you; it looks so perfect!!! I just love it so much! Hopefully it won't take too much stress and anger to get it just right–I know you'll get there soon. Best of luck!

    As for you, Mr/s. Anonymous: perhaps you should shut your trap and find more pleasant–and correct–things to say to other people. You may find more friends along the way. Besides, Karma isn't so polite about paybacks.

  • Anonymous

    July 9, 2012 at 9:11 PM

    Oh. Lauren, you are a constant inspiration to me as I try to finish the mini sacque gown of Doom and Hell. I just made a run to Tinsel Trading to pick up some extra trim to conceal a mistake. I cut the gown too short and needed to conceal the seam of the pieced hem. However, it has fairly decent back pleats, robings, a really great stomacher, and will soon have a lot of spiffy decoration.

    My mantra is "Rose Bertin pieced!"

  • The Dreamstress

    July 10, 2012 at 3:43 AM

    Hey, I say, no matter how good you get, you still make mistakes! You know what you are doing, sometimes your brain just needs a break! Good luck with getting this finished in time. I'm so envious that you get to go to CoCo!

  • KittyKatt

    July 10, 2012 at 3:37 PM

    Hey Lauren,

    Have you ever considered doing a master sloper for yourself? Have a friend do the measurements off of your body in foundation garments so you don't get any body distortion. You could do one for each period of underwear that you have, and that way, you will have a master pattern to work off of and track adjustments every time you start something new.

    BTW, stripes and plaids are notoriously hard to work with, so I feel your pain. Next time, you could have some fun with it and use an underlining under your face fabric, and then you would be free to play with various angles of the stripes, and wouldn't be married to the vertical-ness of the infamous stripe demon!

    I know that it will work out just fine in the end, and you said it correctly when you mentioned that loads of trim covers a multitude of sins!!!

    Good Luck,


    • Lauren Stowell

      July 10, 2012 at 9:35 PM

      Katherine, we are of the same mind, although I've never successfully made a proper body block. I tried it last night – some amalgamation of my stayed measurements + custom corset pattern generator (because the waist lengths always fit with those patterns, like magic), and an old Simplicity Elizabethan bodice standby from years ago (but that somehow fit me). I've learned a lot already, particularly about armscyes, but I still need to make a fabric mock up to see if my block/sloper is working.

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