I spent this past weekend toiling on a “simple” petticoat for my first Robe a la Francaise ensemble, inspired by this gorgeous sacque in LACMA:
I thought it would be a quick throw-together. I’ve made lots of petticoats before, and based on the patterns in Janet Arnold’s Patterns of Fashion 1
and Costume Close-Up
, I anticipated a nice, easy, weekend 18th century fix.
|Patterns of Fashion 1 – petticoat diagram, for a Robe a la Francaise, 1770-75, a bit later than my inspiration dress
I wrestled with it, added bits, took away bits, pleated this way, pleated that way. In hindsight, I know that the problem was that my panier was just too big. WAY too big.
To make a stupidly long story short, I shrunk my panier down to something far more 1760s, and stuck to the diagrams in the books.
|From Costume Close-Up : petticoat diagram showing the top curves and the straight hem
…but then I decided I hated the color of this fabric. On the site I purchased it from, it looked far closer to the yummy steely blue the LACMA gown features. That blue is the reason I fell in love with the dress in the first place…but what I got in the mail wasn’t that blue….it was crazy mermaid turquoise 1980s neon explosion.
So I decided to dye it – one part being in flats, one part being the nearly complete petticoat. I gritted my teeth and went for it, using my water-efficient front-loading washer to do the deed (not the best, but the only option).
I used one package of royal blue RIT and one package of grey RIT – powders – dissolved prior in a bit of hot water. About a cup of vinegar went in there too. The fabric was wet before I tossed it in, and I put the cycle on the longest and hottest I could, with two rinse cycles.
Here are the results:
|Before and After: that is a BIG difference, and I love it!
I LOVE the color now! Love Love Love! And I’ve also learned that silk + washing machine = OK.
I still have a lot of work to do on the petticoat. I don’t like the bubble shape, and I’m not sure how to correct it – petticoats, ruffles, or is the panier still too big? Anyone have suggestions?
|Help me, hive mind! What can I do about this shape? I want it to flair more at the hem.