V225: Starting the 1790s “Robe Royaliste”

Before Costume College, I was making plans for a new 1790s gown in purple taffeta, called the “Robe Royaliste.”  I decided on a chemise style like the lovely green/gold gown in The Duchess:

I’ve never done a gown like this before, but I enjoy patterning and trying to figure stuff out, and was eager to use the knowledge gained in Jennifer R’s sleeve-fitting class I took at Costume College.

I was also eager to try out my first standardized body block I cobbled together after having so many fit issues with the Parisian Gown.  It was a combination of a stays pattern drafted from The Custom Corset Pattern Generator, and an old Simplicity Renaissance faire bodice that somehow magically fit me.  The paper block fit my dress form, at least…

I added an additional inch to the shoulder strap, to drop the waist and open the armscye a bit.

A quick muslin toile also fit, along with my first solo-drafted shaped sleeve (what a bitch to draft, honestly, but I learned a lot)…

The gown is a drop-front, with a smooth back, and a gathered front panel that buttons or pins at the neckline and also the waist.  Wary of slicing up an expensive silk, I’m testing out my patterning hubris with a cheap taffeta I found on sale for $1.99.

It actually looks how it’s supposed to look so far… I are pleased!

Most of this is pinned together here, but I’m surprised at how quickly this gown is moving along (famous last words?).  I’m beginning to hope/believe that perhaps there will be no horrible fit or pain-causing issues, and it may even be possible to have range of motion through the shoulders (zomg!?).

Skirt and sleeve just pinned on to give an idea.

So here’s hoping for luck through the rest of this project. 🙂


  • Katy Rose

    August 12, 2012 at 11:16 PM

    One of the things that I have noticed is that The Gaulle is the fitted back with the gathered front, which is a pretext to the regency gowns and the Chemise a la Reine is gathered both front and back (all around)with a gathered and poofed sleeve. Sometimes the Chemise has a collar as well. That taffeta is gorgeous even though its poly. The sleeve looks wonderful! I keep hoping to see a blog post on what you have learned about sleeves….I know how to draft modern sleeves and wonder if there is a difference between the modern version and the Historical version… Great job!

    • Lauren Stowell

      August 12, 2012 at 11:22 PM

      Thanks miss Katy. I agree about the definitions, though read this article by Jen recently, kindof mussed up my ideas of things: http://www.festiveattyre.com/2012/06/costume-mythbusters-case-of-gaulle.html . Very interesting. Also about the collar – yes! I noticed on this gown (http://americanduchess.blogspot.com/2010/12/costume-analytics-emilie-seriziats.html) there is this weird little collar thing, like a smoosh-up of a redingote and chemise. Weird, and scary, lol, but maybe at some point easy to add?

      I will share what I've learned about sleeves as soon as I feel a little more confident about things. I don't want to put out incorrect information, so I have to test things out first. As far as I can tell, drafting a modern sleeves and a historical sleeve are about the same, except where the seams are, for instance, if it's a two-piece sleeve, or a Victorian sleeve. One major difference I learned from Jennifer R. is the size of the historical armscyes – much tighter than modern ones, but they "isolate the arm," and result in broader range of motion, oddly enough.

  • Anonymous

    August 19, 2012 at 5:14 AM

    Hi Lauren,
    I have always wanted to see The Duchess especially b/c her gowns are so pretty. It is so cool that you are making a repro of it. It looks absolutely stunning.


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