Yep, back in Jan/Feb I started a 1720s Robe de Cour. It was meant to be done in July, but things have been so hectic with the new house that it didn’t happen. But I have been steadily plugging away at the skirt – all by hand.
I sewed the side seams (running back-stitch) in meetings:
Set in a linen hem facing in between teaching students:
Hemmed it while playing Scrabble with Mr D in Vanuatu:
And painstakingly pleated and re-pleated to get the pleats just right while waiting to speak at events.
And finally, finally, FINALLY it’s done!
Now I just need to do the bodice, make 1720s hoops, the train, the lace sleeves, and do all the metal lace trim and embroidery. That shouldn’t take me long.
Maybe a year or so? 😉
The Challenge: #21 Re-Do
Challenges I am Re-Doing:
#1 Make Do & Mend: made from old curtains, unpicked, dyed and re-made up as a skirt),
#6 Fairytale: the skirt was inspired by a dress as ‘golden as the sun’ for Allerleirauh
#8 UFOS & PHDs: since I started it in January, I’m pretty sure this counts!)
#10 Art: based on a portrait within a portrait of Mariana Victoria),
#11 The Politics of Fashion: The portrait the skirt is based on celebrates one of the most political engagements ever arranged – that of the 3 year old Mariana Victoria to the 11 year old Louis XV, meant to cement the reconciliation between France & Spain after the War of the Quadrupal Alliance. Mariana’s golden dress is a political nod to France, and Louis XV’s grandfather, the ‘Sun King’. Dressing Mariana as an adult woman, rather than a child, was also a political gesture, as her value was based on her marriageability.
#16: Terminology: the gorgeous patterning on the skirt is a damask weave.
#17: Yellow: obviously.
#18: Poetry in Motion: “…Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths / Enwrought with golden and silver light…”. If Yates had this skirt, he wouldn’t need any other light!
And… (drumroll here)
#20: Alternative Universe. While this skirt is very close to accurate for the 1720s, and the colour is spot on, there is something about this colour that is so surreal and fantastical that it feels like a fantasy garment. And since I intend to wear it both as the fairy-tale Allerleirauh, and the real-life (but not 3-7 years old!) Mariana Victoria, I’m definitely skipping between universes with it!
Fabric: 2 vintage silk-cotton blend curtain panels (free), white linen to face the hem (under $1)
Pattern: None – basic 18th century pleat-a-rectangle-in pattern based on squinting at the pleat patterns in portraits of Mariana Victoria and her contemporaries.
Year: Based on a portrait from between 1721-3.
Notions: silk thread, iDye dye in Aztec gold ($11), cotton tape for the waist.
How historically accurate is it?: The fabric isn’t quite right, as it is a silk-cotton blend (highly unusual, if not entirely unknown at the time), and the damask weave is achieved through a modern jacquard loom. However, the construction is probably quite accurate (all hand sewn, matches period examples), though I had to guess a bit, as there isn’t a lot of writing on petticoat construction for court gowns in the early 18th century.
Hours to complete: at least 15. It just dragged on, and on, and on…
First worn: I’ve modelled it for a couple of friends, but I can’t really say it’s been ‘worn’ yet.
Total cost: NZ$12 (which technically means it just qualifies for Challenge #13: Under $10, as we used the US$ as the standard).
Oh, and Felicity likes it: