18th Century, Historical Sew Fortnightly

A skirt for Mariana Victoria

Remember this?

Alexis Simon Belle (1674–1734) , Portrait of Louis XV as a child pointing to a portrait of his fiancée the Infanta Mariana Victoria of Spain, circa 1723

Alexis Simon Belle (1674–1734) , Portrait of Louis XV as a child pointing to a portrait of his fiancée the Infanta Mariana Victoria of Spain, circa 1723

And this?

Dyeing fabric for the Mariana Victoria dress thedreamstress.com

The damask for my Mariana Victoria frock

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.

A 1720s petticoat for Mariana Victoria thedreamstress.com

I sewed the side seams (running back-stitch) in meetings:

A 1720s petticoat for Mariana Victoria thedreamstress.com

Set in a linen hem facing in between teaching students:

A 1720s petticoat for Mariana Victoria thedreamstress.com

Hemmed it while playing Scrabble with Mr D in Vanuatu:

A 1720s petticoat for Mariana Victoria thedreamstress.com

And painstakingly pleated and re-pleated to get the pleats just right while waiting to speak at events.

A 1720s petticoat for Mariana Victoria thedreamstress.com

And finally, finally, FINALLY it’s done!

A 1720s petticoat for Mariana Victoria thedreamstress.com
(only I might have to re-pleat it once I try it over the right hoops – but shhhhhh!)

A 1720s petticoat for Mariana Victoria thedreamstress.com

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 & Mendmade 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 & PHDssince I started it in January, I’m pretty sure this counts!)
          #10 Artbased 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:

Felicity and a 1720s petticoat for Mariana Victoria thedreamstress.com
Felicity and a 1720s petticoat for Mariana Victoria thedreamstress.com

Felicity and a 1720s petticoat for Mariana Victoria thedreamstress.com

Felicity and a 1720s petticoat for Mariana Victoria thedreamstress.comYes I do!

10 Comments

  1. Finally. And it’s gorgeous. Well, both the frock and Miss Fizz playing with the lace are…. 🙂 Now to see whether I can finish my own “Re-Do” in time. Even though you took a while, you have still overtaken me. 😉

  2. Marilyn J. Hollman says

    It does have an etherial spirit. I never think of pleats before Pendleton — but, of course! I can imagine how those linen facings feel in my fingers.

  3. Lynne says

    Oh, well done! This is going to be wonderful. I love the colour!

    And of course it is very right and proper that Miss Fiss approves. 🙂

  4. I can’t tell you how much I love this skirt, or how badly I want to see the dress finished. It’s such a gorgeous colour and pattern.

  5. Tdnalof says

    That fabric is simply wonderful! Wonderful hand-sewing to be greatly admired, as it is ever my bane.

  6. Looks great! And the cat pictures–I have to hide my 18th century clothes from my cats because tape ties are their favorite! What’s so exciting, guys? I give you a ribbon to play with, you ignore it. If it’s attached to my clothes, ZOMGmustkill.

    • Hehe. This will be Felicity’s only fun time with those tape ties! She got one go, and after that they will be hidden away!

  7. Tegan says

    I looked up that fairy tale you mention, and it turns out it’s an old fave of mine — I just know it as Donkey Skin! 😛

    I can’t wait to see how this turns out. Also, how it behaves on a body! A hanger leaves much of a fabric’s behavior to be guessed at.

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