Because the francaise dinner is only two weeks away and I really do need something better than a chemise gown to wear. >_>
I actually bought this fabric to make this mantua two years ago, but I kept putting off because hey, cutting into expensive silk brocade is a bit scary. Plus to get the mantua length right I wouldn't have enough for a matching petticoat, but after looking at a LOT of 1680s and 1690s plates and etchings, most of them didn't have a matching petticoat.
So today I finally started working on it. I'm mostly following the diagram in The Cut of Women's Clothes for the late 17th century mantua in the Met (it's labelled as 1700 in the book, the Met has it a little earlier). The diagram shows it with a stomacher and belt, which is how I have it draped at the moment, but I might change that. I do know I'm going to do shorter sleeves than what the diagram shows.
Tomorrow I'm going to baste the side body seams together so I can try it on and check the fit and lay of it, and see if I want to have a closed or open front. The only reason I hesitate to do a close front is I'm much wider than the original, and I'm not sure it'd be flattering on me. We'll see~~
I basted the center back seam to make it easier to do the rest of the tucks. The pins are just to keep the fabric underneath from wiggling around before I topstitch it, and the center neckline needs to be trimmed down still.