As happens with all big costume events or trips, it gets to be about a week out and I decide I *NEED* such-and-such new gown, and that surely it will be quick and easy to put together.
Which it never is.
Except this one might really be.
|1780s Countess of Derby – via
|The Princess de Lamballe, by Elisabeth Vigee-Lebrun, 1782 – via
|Emilie Seriziat, Jacques Louis David, 1795
The idea for a Chemise a la Reine came when considering the weather in Williamsburg next week – warm and rainy. Steamy. When considering my 18th century gowns, I found myself at a disadvantage with my silk gowns AND my faux silk gowns, leaving me with precious few options.
And that just won’t do.
So what will withstand both heat and moisture? Cotton voile! I happened to have just enough for a full and fluffy Chemise a la Reine, so I studied the diagrams in The Cut of Women’s Clothes: 1600-1930
, and on Fresh Frippery’s blog, and set to it at 10:30 pm last night.
|Here’s what it looked like before the waistline was gathered – a huge tent!
It really is easy. I used one huge width of cotton 165″ wide (in hindsight, this is more circumference than you need, but makes for a very full and fluffy gown. The Cut of Women’s Clothes: 1600-1930
pattern has about a 138″ width. If you’re using anything heavier than voile, reduce your overall width, otherwise your bodice will be too bulky), made three gathering channels along the top according to Fresh Frip’s diagram, and gathered it all up on my dress form. Initially I stitched in a channel 9 inches below the top edge, but found it too short in the back when I gathered it, so had to rip out most of that and re-stitch it according to my markings at the waist while on the dress form.
|Now it’s starting to look like a dress
|The back pinned to the underbodice structure.
- Cut and stitch in the sleeves – the trickiest part. I will be using slim, two piece sleeves.
- Sew the straps – I made a quick cotton foundation bodice that pins closed at front, under the gathers. The straps are part of it, so I just need to do the finishing “cover” with the voile on the outside.
- Level the hem – it’s longer in front than back.
- Possibly add a neck ruffle – many gowns had them, so I may add one depending on time.
And that will be it! YAY!