Bodice mockup! I dug out some really random Joann's red tag cotton I have several yards of for reasons unknown, and cut pieces on whichever grainline they fit, which is why the sleeves aren't cut cross. The bodice fits perfectly! I tied my petticoats a little loose by accident, which is why there's a little bit of gaping at the waistline.
The sleeves, on the other hand, are a little too tight, and managed to be too long as well. To double check the length I just opened part of the seam to get the sleeve on, which is why it looks baggy here. The point of the dart wound up sitting well below my elbow. So I will redraft the sleeve with about 3/4" of an inch extra in width, and about two inches shorter above the elbow. The sleeve cap and below the elbow are fine, so I'll just make the angle down to the elbow a little less extreme.
Next I'm going to do the petticoat and gown skirts before bouncing back up to the bodice. The pleats will be the last step. The Denmark piemontaise appears to show the pleats are sewn at the shoulder. One of the piemontaises in the Imatex collection, on the other hand, clearly shows hooks and eyes where the pleats attach at the shoulder. I'm actually leaning more towards this kind of construction, because when I'm not wearing the robe, as will be the case 99.9% of the time, being able to detach the pleats from the shoulder will keep them from pulling the skirt and lower bodice up while being stored. And lends more weight to my belief that the pleats are sewn to the skirt below the waist. Why else would the top need to be detachable like this, if it was only a cape-like piece? Also, if you look at the outer pleats in the second picture, you can see where the edge rolls in, where to me it appears to connect back to the skirt below the waist.
Click on these for very lovely hi-res shots, with the hooks and eyes clearly visible at the top of the pleats!
For this pair I wanted that 1780s "prow" front shape, and put a long gusset in the middle. On the side shot you can see the forward curve of the stays. Making these was quite an adventure, as I used, quite literally, every single kind of boning I had in my house in these stays. The problem of working a) on a deadline, and b) while snowed in repeatedly. The center front and center back bones are 1/2" German plastic whalebone. The rest of it is a mix of 1/4" steel bones, cable ties, and for the longest channels where I didn't have anything else, the same cane I used in my other stays. I hadn't turned down the edges before trying them on, just to make sure everything would work and fit right, but after taking them off I've done the top edge. I'll get to the bottom at some point. I don't think I'll bind or line them before the dinner unless I have extra time at the end.
I also made myself a new rump yesterday to go under everything. I went by the article demode wrote for Foundations Revealed, about late 18th century skirt supports. It gives me both hip oomph as well as rear shape, so I'm happy with it.
(my mirror looks so dirty! Eek!)
The reason I'm going for the rounder look with this, rather than just using pocket hoops as the Denmark piemontaise appears to show, is because I really like the shape of this francaise in the Met's collection, and because having the back shape makes the pleats stand out even further, being further away from the body.
I'm trying to decide if I should press the pleats down to where they'll attach to the skirts. All of the existing piemontaises show flat pleats, but is that how they were originally made, or is that from storage? I'm not sure.
And to round out this post, yesterday I also draped the bodice pattern, based on the Denmark PDF. Either later today or tomorrow I will cut out a full bodice and sleeve in scrap to make sure it fits, then onto the silk!
(Yes, that was indeed worthy of sparkly text. Just because.)
According to "Dress in France in the Eighteenth Century" by Madeleine Delpierre,
The robe à la piémontaise, made fashionable at the time of the marriage of Princess Clotilde of France, sister of Louis XVI, to the Prince of Piedmont, was a variation on the robe à la française: the loose, flowing pleats at the back were added later to form a kind of cape attached behind. [source]
This indicates that the back pleats were attached only at the shoulder and left completely loose the rest of the way down. I'm working primarily from the extant robe à la piémontaise held in the collections of the National Museum in Denmark, which includes a pattern taken from their robe. Their pattern clearly shows where the back pleats rejoin the skirt, and there is a noted and marked seam in the skirt. See look, I drew on the diagram as proof. And to add to that, from the few others I've seen photographs of, if the back hem is visible, there doesn't seem to be a break in the hem in any of them that would indicate there is a separate piece where the pleat 'cape' overlaps the skirt back. More picture analysis and doodles to possibly come at a future date?
But anyway, my goal is to do as faithful a recreation of that dress as possible. I pinned a width of the silk (that will actually be the petticoat when I get to sewing) into the pleat configuration to get an idea of the look, just because, and here it is.
The Danish robe is very simple. with trim only along the center front of the bodice, and because my fabric is so bold on it's own, I don't intend to trim it more than that. The only thing I'm a bit unsure of is the sleeve cuffs. Should it have ruffles? I feel like there should be something there, even if it's a narrow lace frill. But that will be decided when I get closer to the end point, I think.
For now I need to focus on the under bits. The 1780s is more of a rounder silhouette than earlier, without the hoops, and more emphasis to the rear, which will make the gap between back and pleats stand out more, so I think I'll make a rump for this, one that adds some width to my hips as well, instead of the solely rear-heavy one I made for my linen round gown last year.
Stay tuned for more robe à la piémontaise progress! Since this is such a rare style, I intend to document as much of my process as possible.
Other news: Apparently the Met's website and Chrome don't get along? Or is that just me? I have no problem browsing the Met in Safari, but in Chrome I get the 'down for maintenance' thing all the time. But anyway. I've already picked out what I'd like to make for the Titanic exhibit at the Franklin Institute in January, though I probably won't start working on it until December. I still like having a plan, though, and this way I can keep an eye out for fabric. This adorable little dress is what I have in mind. I'm trying to decide if I want to keep it black or go with a different, but still dark, color. It'd probably be easiest to find black taffeta and chiffon/gauze that aren't too far off from each other, and I have tons of black velvet ribbon that I can do the edging with. I also have four or five yards of some amazingly gorgeous azure blue silk velvet that I'd like to make a cocoon coat with, and black won't clash with that. But I've got time to make final decisions on that as well~
Isn't it cute?
I don't have pictures of Friday night and Saturday day for myself, but I did get the rest, so here's the quick list of what I wore:
( Saturday Night Titanic Dinner )
( Sunday Day: Let Them Eat Crepes & Mad Tea Party )
( Sunday Evening: Tiaras and Jampagne )
And that's Dress U for me!
It's big and over the top and at the same time simple. I love it. I might even attempt to do it in straw if I have enough narrow braid to do it.
I'll probably go for either a zone front like Hilary Swank is wearing with it, or perhaps some type of round gown. I'm still deciding. It depends on what the stash says to me.
Anyway, the first and most important thing: Poe pictures! Anyone who wants to is welcome to snag stuff. I can also supply high-res full size (3008x2000 pixels) for anyone that wants them.
I was also very productive yesterday and basically finished my capote. I sewed the straw brim over a month ago, and I finally dug out the silk for the crown. The lace is only pinned on, but I'm still deciding if that's how I want to do it. The first two are obviously pre-assembly, and the second two are how it currently looks.
The green is a bit brighter than the striped silk I'm using for the polonaise, but I'm choosing to ignore that fact. I also had originally planned to use silver trim for the outfit, but I pulled out a burnished gold and green trim that looks amazing with the stripe, so it's not quite a Slytherin polonaise now. Strange as it sounds, the gold is a little more subtle than the silver, and I like the little bit of warmth it pulls in.
I tore the panels for the skirt and overskirt the other day, and as soon as I unearth my pinking shears I'll start cutting the ruffles and working on them as well. With the stripe on the cross-grain planning it out takes a bit more fabric, so I ended up picking up the rest of the what the store had, bringing me up to 14.5 yards total, half of which is going to the ruffles. Because the ruffle on the skirt is so deep, I can only cut three out of the width, so the underskirt will need 3 yards just for the ruffles. I can cut five ruffles for the overskirt out of the width, so that'll take less fabric, luckily. And the neckline only needs a 1" ruffle, so that will just get pieced out of what's left over after I cut the bodice. I'll probably start the actual sewing next week.
I'm going to use the darted underbodice for the outside, rather than the shirred front. I'm also going to shir the top and bottom few inches of the sleeve to further the 1830s look.
I'm also going to use another Fashion Historian pattern for the base of her mantle. Since it'll be made out of wool, I'm not going to put the flounces on, but we haven't decided on an alternate trim or lining yet.
As for myself, I think I want to use Period Impressions' 1860s paletote pattern for my own coat, with a few modifications as well. The sleeves are huge, I plan to cut them shorter. Depending on how I can squeeze it on to my fabric, I might also cut the bottom even, rather than longer in the back.
Also, I sewed up the braid for the capote brim. Once I finish removing the paper backing I used as a guide, I'll wire the edge and then take pictures. I don't know what I'll use for the crown yet, but that can wait a bit.
(Please excuse the messy sewing room)
And here it is with a couple of petticoats on the left, and with the dress fabric draped over it on the left. The bonnet frame is for my mom. I've wired and put the flannel on it, but I still need to bind the edges and cover it, obviously.
And on a different note, I've decided to jump in on the polonaise bandwagon. I fell in love with this polonaise in the Kyoto Costume Institute the very first time I saw it. To keep up with the theme I'm doing with my green 1869 villainess gown, I'm going to use a green and black stiped dupioni I have, and trim it with silver. Along with self trim I want to use some silver, so it'll be my Slytherin polonaise.
I think I'm going to take a break from the Poe dress tonight and start working on the black straw capote to go with my polonaise. I won't start working on the polonaise itself until I finish everything for the Poe event.
Okay, this is an attempt to plan out what I want to do over the next three and a half months for Costume Con. Now, taking into account classes and a part-time job with my usual speed, I'm going to try for two outfits a month. Once I make a new pair of drawers and finish my fully boned stays, I won't need to factor in undies time. Anyway, here's a tentative schedule.
1660s Catherine-Charlotte de Gramont, Princess of Monaco for charlesii.
Secret Project for the Masq
Of course, if I finish stuff faster than I plan (which I probably will), things will get bumped up. Unfortunately, my budget won't allow for the duchesse satin for the 1660s gown until March, but if I can, the April dresses will get bumped up sooner because I already have the fabric for all of them, leaving more time for the March dresses.
ETA: wow that's a lot of tags. XD
ETA2: I've put up an ij mirror account, but I'm not worried about needing it. It's there just in case. Feel free to friend it.