Robe a l’anglaise in dusty pink silk


  This was my first proper l’anglaise and a bit of experiment ( which project isn’t?).  It was originally intended as a show piece for the bridal branch of the business, Prior Engagement, and serve as an example of an 18th century frock for a historically minded bride….

 The styling was loosely based on one of the gowns from the Kyoto  Costume Institute , particularly this one. the petticoat and the robe were made form the same fabric and since i had quite a lot of dusty rose silk, the idea of making everything in it suited me to a T.

  The stays were first –  half boned, with coutil/canvas strength layer, boned with reeds, bound in silk.


getting started….


all pieces ready….


all pieces whipped together, ready for binding


tedious binding process…..




was so excited i popped them straight over my top… love the silhouette! worn on a random shift below…Image

The petticoat was next in line… – an easy rectangular shape, and nice and easy pleating did the job


front pleated


insides – the extra fabric is folded down and pleated, i secured the edges with piking later.

Then only a waistband and it was ready!


waistband pinned in


just needs pressing….

Then it was time for the robe itself…. Mock up first. I used a pattern based on the Janet Arnold polonaise ( used for my very very first polonaise years ago!)


My very first 18th century gown, all handstitched.


experimenting with the mock up


lining is made first and seams boned


for boning I used think but strong reed


then silk was mounted over the lining


Piece by piece, handstitched.  Sleeves were next…Image


lining the sleeve


setting in the top part of the sleeve


and the shoulder strap is covered with silk, hiding the sleeve attachment

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the neck and sleeves were decorated with Valencia lace and silk ribbon.

 Once the bodice part of the gown was done, it was time to start pleating the skirts….

Bedford Borough-20120115-02117

pleats pinned

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and sewn in:-)

 and it was ready!

It was first worn for the wedding photoshoot at Harrowden Hall – alas on a model that was 3 sizes too small 😦


at the Bridal shoot photo by Mockford Photography

 Also, I wasn’t convinced about the petticoat in the same colour – looked a bit boring.  However, it looked much better with ivory taffeta petticoat ( part of another outfit….). a bright shawl, worn on beter support, with a wig and a hat, it looked much better! -Here worn at a Georgian picnic at Grassenholm Farm, photography by Pitcheresque Imagery


and with another hat….



  As you can see this bridal project turned out to be a re-enactment item in the end – and love it too much to sell on….  a couple of things i would change, and probably will as still have bits and pieces of that silk – the sleeves are just a tad too tight, so will need to amend that inconvenience!

 Altogether I must say that I love the simple style much better than the ornate grandeur of the robe a la francaise – simple lines, minimum decoration somehow work well for me:-)


5 thoughts on “Robe a l’anglaise in dusty pink silk

  1. Hello. Avid reader of your blog here – everything is so interesting and pretty and inspiring 😀

    Anyway, I have a question that you may or may not be able to answer, but I thought I’d ask it, because, you know, maybe.

    So here’s the thing. When i look at pictures of women’s clothing from pretty much any time between the 15th and 19th century – and replicas of said clothing – it seems to me that there has been a quite unwavering no-boobs policy. I mean, sure, we have dainty empire dresses from the 1800s with an accentuated bust – but it’s mostly suited for a rather tiny bust.

    Now, I don’t have a tiny bust by any means, but I also have a large desire for pretty dresses. And, you know, there must have been busty women too, who, like me, can’t wear a anything that flattens out the front, because, seriously, boob-chin. So what did they do? Would it be possible to make historically accurate – or, at least, historically probable – dress patterns for busty women? Or am I just doomed to “historically inspired” “fantasy” Disney-esque” dresses forever? I am just about ready to wail at the injustice of it all.

    Sorry if this got a bit long. As you can probably guess, it’s a big and important frustration in my life. 😉

    • Hello there – oh dear, there are loads of fashions all the time for curvy women! it all boils down to correct foundation garments. I myself am size 12, with a 34F chest – so definitely neither dainty nor flat. Most of the garments from 16th to 19th century required stays – and they do flatten you up a bit, and cleavage is usually covered up – do check the post Looking the part 1, where we covered things like what looks were en vogue and how much cleavage was commonly shown ( or not). IN fact, with stays, the fashions actually are very flattering to curves, and stays make them comfortable to wear – much more than modern bras… Ther is also quite a lot pictorial evidence that women of all sizes were catered for – just like today. so don’t despair, simply invest in good foundation garments for the periods you are interested in and get sewing! hope it helped a bit!

      • Thank you! I did. I’ll definitely look at the post you mentioned, too. I missed it, somehow. I’ve only seen the later parts 🙂

  2. Pingback: Robe a la Polonaise en Fourreau | A Damsel in This Dress

  3. Pingback: Georgian Ball in Bath, March 2015 | A Damsel in This Dress

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