V205: Nearing Completion for the Parisian Gown

I’ve been working holes into my fingers over the past week, trying to complete shiny new costumes for Costume College, the first weekend in August.

I have her on my non-historical dress form, so please excuse the wrinkles in the bodice.  The skirt is just pinned in the poufs, but will be drawn up with cords, underneath.

The striped robe a l’Anglaise, now named “The Parisian Gown,” has given me trouble, but I’m slowly working my way through it.  The sleeve issues aside, this fabric is just stupidly hard to sew through by hand – I mean, the needle literally squeaks when you pull it through (with pliers, of course).  I’ll be happy to see this one done.

The skirt down – the serpentine trim makes attaching the skirt at front a challenge, because those panels have to be straight at the top, not pleated.  This type of trim works much better on a wide silhouette, with panniers, than a rounder silhouette.

Issues though it may have had, I’m really happy with how she’s turning out.  I plan to make a matching petticoat, though probably not in time for CoCo.  I think it will look elegant with the skirt worn down, or a la polonaise, either way.  I’m really happy with the volume in the gown skirt, and the way it poufs when hitched up.  I have yet to tame the pleats and secure them on the interior, but that’s next on the checklist.

Details – the sabot cuff, which also serves as an extension for the sleeves, that turned out shorter than I like.  The trim on the bodice and skirt is made from super long lines of cross-cut self fabric, ruched and pressed.  Again, please excuse the wrinkles in the bodice, as this is not my historical dress form.

I added a tiny gusset at the underarm seam of the sleeve, giving the sleeve head more ease.  Thanks to all you wonderful ladies who helped me with sleeve advice! They fit much better now!

I have just the finishing of the pleats at the waist, the hem of the skirt (oh goody), the second sabot cuff, and one more little line of trim at the waist to do, then…then it’s done! Yay!


  • Anonymous

    July 23, 2012 at 5:44 PM

    I think this type of stripe looks far better with a "normal skirt" than 'polonaised up'. The stripes do not lend themselves to a graceful polonaise-just a suggestion. The front of your petticoat should not be seamed and the panel in the center front is far too wide.

  • Stephanie Lynn

    July 23, 2012 at 5:46 PM

    Wow! Hand sewing with pliers sounds so not fun. This gown is turning out quite lovely though. I too have been sewing furiously for Costume College.

  • Maggie

    July 23, 2012 at 7:20 PM

    I think it looks gorgeous. Ignore the people who like to criticize anonymously. I don't get people like this – it's like they can't wait to jump on anything they can find to critique. This is the reason I feel like I have to make 600 disclaimers every time I post a picture of something I've made. :-/

    • Lauren R

      July 23, 2012 at 9:25 PM

      I turned off anonymous commenting this morning. Hate to do it, but it is being abused here – way to many snarky comments! Ah well. It's all just for fun, in the end, and I'm not going to stop!

    • MrsC (Maryanne)

      July 23, 2012 at 10:57 PM

      It's frickin' awesome, Lauren. I think your patience is astonishing, given how hard it is to sew. And I personally love striped polonaises, I love how the stripes get all broken up in different directions, so much energy, like a pouffy fire cracker! Most of my favourite EXTANT dresses are like that. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Musings of a Couturiere

    July 23, 2012 at 11:19 PM

    how did you get the front to lay flat? I'm working on a similar style dress and my bodice has a slight wrinkle. if I take any more in on the waist it will be too small to put my closures. I was trying to finish it for my first CoCo but alas it seems like it's not to be…..:(

    • Lauren Stowell

      July 24, 2012 at 11:14 PM

      Hi Kristen – I put a panel of canvas on each side, not for the whole piece, but just, like, a little bit of canvas right where the front point likes to bend and misshape. The pattern in Janet Arnold has two lines of boning running down into the point. I haven't added those piece yet, though may omit them if they're not needed.

    • Lauren Stowell

      July 24, 2012 at 11:15 PM

      Hi Gwenyver – I use a pair of scalloped pinking sheers. These lines of trim were just cut straight with the shears, but you can also cut your own scallops, which will then have smaller scallops inside. They're handy – I got them for Christmas, but I believe you can order them online.

    • Musings of a Couturiere

      July 25, 2012 at 7:14 AM

      btw I was able to contact green man forge who used to have the website that made the reproduction pinking tool seen in a couple other blogs. he made and shipped me gorgeous little pinker….I will post pictures on my blog later. but if you want to order the pinker you just have to call the number listed on the Internet search and he will make and ship you a tool…he has 3 different sizes two different shapes, mine was about $50 plus shipping.

  • Lizzardtears

    July 24, 2012 at 3:33 AM

    so lovely! and very inspiring not to give up on frustrating projects. I love the stripes, it looks very elegant drawn up, I think you have done a lovely job.

  • Thread-Head

    July 24, 2012 at 4:12 AM

    This is epic-gorgeous. I love the way you pillaged the pattern in the material for different trim variations! That makes me want stripes in a bad way.

  • Isis

    July 24, 2012 at 10:32 AM

    I think it's very pretty and my first reaction was just how fun it looked to polonaise stripes.

    I think you did right to turn off the anonymous option! Why open the strata for nastiness in ones own blog?

    • Lauren Stowell

      July 24, 2012 at 11:17 PM

      Thank you. I like the stripes drawn up too. I'm a little bummed that I had to remove the anon option because I know some people have trouble commenting here, and I didn't want to hinder commenting…but then it just got out of hand.

  • Cynthia Griffith

    July 24, 2012 at 2:26 PM

    How pretty! I can't wait to see photos of you wearing it ๐Ÿ˜€ And blue and yellow are a favorite pairing of mine, so I really like that! Also, glad to hear of someone else who has to resort to pliers to help pull needles through. Not fun, but you do what you gotta do! LOL!

    • Lauren Stowell

      July 24, 2012 at 11:19 PM

      I keep swearing to myself I will never sew with fabric like this again, and yet, I know the next time I see some pretty silk stripe in the store I'll get all starry-eyed and forget the plier yanking!

  • Steph

    July 24, 2012 at 2:50 PM

    Wow! The overall effect is gorgeous, and the trim specifically is so creative! I've never been much attracted to 18th century styles (except those just pre-Regency), but all of yours are so lovely, my mind is changing.

    • Lauren Stowell

      July 24, 2012 at 11:21 PM

      Thanks! We all have our periods of love, and some of "meh," but within the "meh," there's usually one dress or two that are inspiring. ๐Ÿ˜€ You mentioned you love the period just before Regency – me too! One of my favorites. Be warned, though – the 1790s are a gateway drug to the 1780s and prior ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Zach

    July 24, 2012 at 6:05 PM

    Pliers? Yikes! I hate to say that I've been there, but I've been there. That and teeth (sometimes you really don't feel like getting up and running across the house in search of pliers). That dress looks gorgeous, though. I mean REALLY gorgeous. Like I want to rob you kind of gorgeous! I'm so proud of you Lauren!

  • Cation Designs

    July 24, 2012 at 6:14 PM

    Oh dear, pliers required? Props to you for powering through on that!! I love the fabric you chose and think the poofy polonaised look is just lovely…seriously, anonymous commenters need to just get over themselves!

    • Lauren Stowell

      July 24, 2012 at 11:22 PM

      Thank you! I'm looking forward to sewing something in cotton…but opaque cotton, where I don't have to fell all the seams to death, lol. Somewhere there is a happy medium!

  • Anna

    July 24, 2012 at 9:24 PM

    100% disagree with the snarky "don't polonaise stripes" commenter. Heck, 18th century people LOVED stripes going every which way. Like plaid sacques were any less visually messy?! I think your gown is looking faaabulous, love it! I definitely feel your pain on the pliers + needle combo, had to resort to that for some fabrics before.

  • Unknown

    October 17, 2013 at 10:36 PM

    How do you the Sabot cuff? I have seen a lot of pictures of them and I can't tell if they are made with a running stitch or pleated.

    The gown is so lovely! The colors are a very spring fashion! Keep of the amazing work! ๐Ÿ˜€

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