The Frou Frou Française – Finished!

1760s Frou-Frou Française

Seven years after I started it, my 1760s Frou Frou Française is finally, finally done!*

1760s Frou Frou Francaise

I tweaked the bodice fit slightly, fixed the sleeve ruffles, and finished the trim, and here it is in all its floofy glory!

1760s Frou Frou Francaise

The occasion for finishing it? Self imposed deadlines 🤣

My friend Nina has been making a française out of the most gorgeous Burnley & Trowbridge silk and we wanted to do a photoshoot together. I wanted to take advantage of the spring rengarenga lily bloom.

We decided if we just set a date for the shoot, we’d have to be done in time.

1760s Frou-Frou Française

As it turned out, we hit the very beginnings of the bloom season, AND picked a day that was 12 degrees celcius, with a howling southerly wind taking it well into single digit temperatures for our shoot. So if I look pale and pinched it’s not just makeup, and there’s a decidedly purple tinge to our hands!

1760s Frou-Frou Française

The photographer was Nina’s friend Leon of @apped_as. We’re still waiting for his photos: these were all taken on my camera by his lovely wife with my camera settings – so a combined effort.

1760s Frou-Frou Française

There will be 18 gazillion more photos as they come in, and I talk through the trim and construction. But for now, prettiness! And a massive hooray for a seven year project finally wrapped up, and a major 2020 goal ticked off my list. And a huge thank you to Nina for pushing me to do it!

But wait, there’s more: I’ve made a page for the Française! I’ve neglected that part of my portfolio badly in the last few years. It’s good to do a little work tidying it up.

1760s Frou-Frou Française
1760s Frou-Frou Française
1760s Frou-Frou Française
1760s Frou-Frou Française

Did I mention wind?

1760s Frou-Frou Française

* Well, you know. Done-for-now. The sleeve bows need to be moved 5cm. The sleeve ruffles could be rotated 2cm. Or I might completely re-do the sleeves. The trim will probably continue to grow and change and get added to. And I’d like a second stomacher…


  1. Mark Ruisi says

    Wow…..Yay….Wow!!!!! I’ve followed the progress of this project since the beginning> What an amazing finally!!!!! Brava!!!!I would be interested to watch the dressing process,from the primary foundation garment to the finishing touches.So much effort for a beautiful garment!

    • Thank you! I’m so amazed and chuffed there are people out there who remember this project

      I’m weirdly uncomfortable with being on video, so a dressing process video is unlikely, but maybe 2021 will be the year of getting past that fear!

  2. Sandie says

    O heavenly. Really beautiful result. They look like fun to wear

  3. Tracy W says

    How lovely! And am inspiration to those of us who also have longstanding uncompleted projects, for one reason or another.

  4. Oh my, it’s gorgeous! The colour is so, so beautiful. I love saturated light colours–they’re harder to find than I want. The trim turned out so well. Congratulations on finishing a 2020 goal!

  5. MrsC (Maryanne) says

    Wow!! Both glorious and they look great together too! I made a “historically adjacent” yellow and white striped seersucker Robe a l’Anglaise wedding dress a million years ago and seeing a proper yellow and white striped gown makes me SO HAPPY!
    Your pretty blue one is so FROTHY!!! Wonderful!!

    • Thank you! I love Nina’s yellow & white gown so much! She knew what she wanted as soon as she saw the fabric!

      The wedding dress sounds fabulous.

    • Thank you! It was my fault for not realising how cold it really was outside when I suggested we go ahead with the shoot. And both our faults for not bringing muffs and mitts though we have lovely ones

  6. Just lovely. Really a delight to look at with all that fluff! I’m such a sucker for this style of gown.

    • Thank you! I love française gowns – I have to stop myself from buying fabric to make dozens of them (which will clearly never happen at the rate I sew, so I’d just own ridiculous amounts of fabric!)

  7. Charlotte says

    Congratulations! It can be so hard to finished the really old projects, I am really delighted for you! And of course the dress is absolutely beautiful. 🙂

    • Thank you! Agreed, really old ones are the hardest to do and the worst – they don’t quite fit, and your skills have moved on enough that completing something with poor making is depressing, and re-doing it all is daunting. This one made it because the fabric was worth sewing every seam multiple times.

  8. Elise says

    Congratulations! I bet that you felt wonderfully amazing at the end of the project. And what a wonderful confection!

    • Thank you! It feels so good to finally finish it – and a major accomplishment in a year when even minor ones are a big thing!

  9. nofixedstars says

    so pretty! as a rubbish seamstress, it always astonishes and enchants me to see what others can create. you and your friend looked so lovely, and should be rightfully proud of what you have made.

    • Thank you! For me the trick to getting better is just making myself make stuff, paying attention to what works and what doesn’t, and trying to do more of the stuff that works next time – an endless process

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