There comes a time in every costumer’s life when you just cannot put it off any longer – you need to have a go at the sack back, or robe a la francaise. I have been meaning to play around with it for quite some time, but was waiting for the opportunity to arise – and for the right fabric to turn up. And then, in 2011, I snatched a bolt of silk brocade in bright yellow, with lovely 18th century pattern in white. Not my favourite colour, but the pattern was simply too good to miss.
And so, the French adventure started…
I already had stays, in linen, fully boned, based on the ones in KCI, but I needed structural support…
I used the pattern for pocket hoops from the Corset’s and Crinolines, and it it was easy to run a pair of them in no time at all – the instructions were simple and easy to follow.
Now for the frock itself. I followed the pattern from Janet Arnold, Patterns of fashion 1 ; the one with comperes front, ( buttoned up)
the petticoat was first: the construction was pretty straightforward, though the flounces were a pain – the fabric frayed like mad….
Then it was time to address the main article – the robe itself. Again, the pattern is simple, as is the principle – the difficult part was lack of an assistant who would be able to pleat and pin the thing on me… had to improvise with a dummy.
And there it is! 🙂 my first attempt- a few things i can improve upon, but happy with the first go result.
and worn on me – here on the set of Horrible HIstories
We also used the frock for an 18th century themed bridal photoshoot in Harrowden Hall- a mix of 18th century frocks and modern styles – alas models turned up to be 3 sizes smaller than requested, so the frocks are not displayed at their best – but still Mockford Photography and Pitcheresque Imagery managed to get a few good shots!
The Yellow francaise ended up, very appropriately, in Paris – and is now living a rich and meaningful life, mostly being used for side saddle riding – shown below as a masquerade attire, on the day when we delivered int to Paris, on its new owner – Anne-Beatrice:-)
Now, I still have some more of that fabric – am tempted to make a caraco jacket in it…. 🙂