The American Duchess Guide: Behind the Scenes With The 1760s Sacque Gown {Video}

Our c. 1768 sacque gown created for The American Duchess Guide to 18th Century Dressmaking, made for and modeled by Abby Cox. You can create this or your own creative design with the instructions in the book!

Hi lovelies! We recently did a Facebook Livecast all about the 1760s sacque gown (robe a la Francaise) and its various accessories that we made for The American Duchess Guide to 18th Century Dressmaking.

In this video, we give a little preview of the elements of the gown, petticoat, trimmings, cap, hoops, and more, with a peek at the patterns, diagrams, and how-to parts in the book. We also share some behind-the-scenes stories, tidbits, and challenges.

Of all the projects in the book, the sacque is the most “spectacular,” but actually wasn’t the hardest to make! Even though robes a la Francaise seem intimidating, we try to break it down in tutorials for everyone.

The back pleats of the sacque, or robe a la Francaise, are iconic and so flattering. Learn how to easily pleat this style with the hidden 3rd pleat for perfectly crisp pleats.

Additionally, we have two new Simplicity patterns coming out this winter for this gown and the underpinnings to go with it. Those two pattern packs include shift, stays, side hoops, the gown (comperes front stomacher), and the petticoat. We encourage everyone to use the Simplicity patterns in partnership with the book to create your own hand-sewn ensemble.

Special Preview! Here’s a look at the shift, stays, and side hoops in our next Simplicity pattern release. This packet is designed to be used with the sacque gown, also being released.

The Simplicity patterns are coming in December, just after our book is released. We’ll post everywhere, don’t worry!

If you’d like to pre-order The American Duchess Guide, you can get it here. We will also have signed copies available on on November 21st. <3


  • Unknown

    November 5, 2017 at 11:37 PM

    Can you advise on what silks can be used? Tafetta does not seem easy to get hold of here in the UK – well, unless you want to spend a fortune – I am assuming you need quite a few yards for this lovely ensemble.

    • Lauren Stowell

      November 6, 2017 at 12:49 AM

      Taffeta is a particular favorite. Silk brocade is also lovely. Machine-made dupioni with minimal slubbing can also work. You want the silk to be lightweight and crisp. A tight weave is advisable, especially if you want to do pinked trim. Avoid home decor fabrics like jacquard or choose very carefully. You'll use around 10 yards for a gown like this, so the weight is important.

      Try online resources like Renaissance Fabrics, Burnley & Trowbridge, Silk Baron, and – taffeta should be around $20/yard (USD)

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