LACMA Sacque-ma: Beginning the Robe

I’ve finally started in earnest on the LACMA Sacque-ma. For a reminder, because it’s been too long since I posted about this, here’s the original dress:

LACMA, 1765

I don’t have any experience with Robes a la Francaise.  They scare the nickels out of me, honestly, but with the help of Patterns of Fashion 1 ,The Cut of Women’s Clothes: 1600-1930 ,Period Costume for Stage & Screen, and Katherine’s very very helpful sacque-draping tutorial, I think I may be getting somewhere.

Pinning and fiddling with the back pleats.

After I dyed the silk fabric, I starched and ironed it like a crazy person.  This resulted in a rather springy fabric that didn’t want to fold into pleats easily, but with a bucketload of pins, and the brutal savagery of my steamer, I got the Watteau back to this point:

The back pleats aren’t perfection, but they look pretty okay.  Now I’m messing with the front skirt pieces, which I believe is premature, as I should construct the front of the bodice first.  Here I have them pinned on.  I was struggling with the fall of the front edges, but in studying Janet Arnold’s Francaise pattern, I found that it’s *really* important to slant the front edges, otherwise, if done on the straight, the skirt will fall too flat over the petticoat, and not in that nice A line.

The left side is folded back so the piece angles; the right side is on the straight.

That’s my progress for now. I’m a little nervous about running out of fabric for all the trims I’d like to do. It looks like this is going to be a use-every-scrap kind of project (which I find quite satisfying, really).  More later!


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