V194: More Robe a l’Anglaise Problem Solving

Just getting any idea of final look, with one panel of skirt pinned on, and some trim pinned to the CF – the trim will go around the neckline and down the front edges of the skirt, too.

Here is some more progress on the Robe a l’Anglaise I’ve been working on (or battling).

I started over from the last post.  There were just too many problems, the main one being the entirely too-short waist.  After re-measuring and adjusting the waist length on FrankenLilly (again), I dropped the waist on all the pattern pieces, and even then still had to add a shoulder strap extension.

Things pinned into place – the waist hasn’t been finished yet, but will pull all the rumples out of the bodice once stretched and smoothed into the waist seam, and weight down by the skirt.

I learned that the reason version 1 of this bodice didn’t close in front is because I did not factor any ease into my pattern, which when all made up with the medium-weight lining and outer fabric (never mind future boning additions), “shrunk” the bodice overall, making it too small.  Letting out the side and side-back seams only helped with the waist, and unfortunately wouldn’t let the bust out.  Special thanks goes to Jennifer Rosbrugh for this article about “historical ease.

New back, with shoulder straps set way in.  No boning, or waste finishing yet.

So now the new bodice fits, but then it was on to the sleeves, another adventure in wasted fabric and obsessive 3 am basting.  I have learned SO much about sleeves and armscyes, and now there are indeed two sleeves on the bodice, and they do go on over my arms, but are still constricting.  I have much to learn about sleeves yet.

It’s a sleeve, albeit a little tight over the front of the shoulder still.

So now it is on to getting the hooks and bars placed correctly (nope, no pinning fronts for me: not only do I not care for effect, but this fabric is very difficult to pin through), adding in some bodice stiffeners, including boning, and beginning the fun process of stretching and turning the waist under to get that perfect, smooth, tight fit.


  • Anna

    July 13, 2012 at 4:57 AM

    As far as I was aware, hooks and bars also were period correct so you're not sacrificing much in the way of effect…unless Janet Arnold lied to me in Patterns of Fashion and in which case excuse me while I go sneakily re-do my anglaise. I just feel like pinning a closed-front like this never looks nice, there are always so many ugly wrinkles and puckers. Totally different matter on gowns with stomachers because the pins can be hidden by the robing, but ugh I think I would be reluctant to keep having to stab the fabric of a pretty gown like this over and over again! It is looking very lovely even with all your struggles!

  • Costume Diva

    July 13, 2012 at 2:14 PM

    I adore your sheer apron with the white embroidery. Did you make it yourself? If not, I'm dying for any hints as to where I might find something similar. I just don't have the patience for the hand embroidery.

  • Anonymous

    July 13, 2012 at 7:25 PM

    Love the back, love the front, love the whole darn thing. Doesn't it feel GOOD when you finally get a difficult piece knocked into working order– and it looks great!

    The miniature sacque of Doom and Hell has also reached that stage. The gown is finished, aside from putting in the customary arrangements to polonaise it. I need to re-do the trim on the petticoat, having made the mistake of thinking I could eyeball a straight line.

    Pictures will be posted when son is armtwisted into taking them. He's got the only camera I can use locked up in an underwater housing.

    • Lauren Stowell

      July 14, 2012 at 9:07 AM

      Well, I'm still struggling, certainly. It was kindof a slap in the face putting on the red Anglaise and being super comfy through the shoulders, and realizing that my sleeves are still so tight and binding on the new striped one. :- Not sure what to do about it, though.

      Hooray for forging ahead on your sacque! yes, please, photos when it's all said and done 🙂

  • karen

    July 14, 2012 at 11:04 AM

    Hi Lauren, I love it too – especially the long point at the back – beautiful. I have had the 'shoulders falling off' problem too and think its something to do with the stays – they pushed the bosom out – so the shoulders were held back a bit. I added an inch or so to the shoulder straps at the armscye only – not at the neck because it makes it gape. This changes the set of the body a bit but it works.

    • Lauren Stowell

      July 17, 2012 at 9:48 AM

      That makes PERFECT sense. I will try the trick to add to the armscye and not the rest of the neckline. I think that is part of my trouble in this, certainly.

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