Nothing says a great holiday like creating . . .

Well, it is holidays 2018, and I headed off to visit my sister! My sister is an incredibly talented quilter,and she also excels at painting, drawing — well you get it, she is so talented. You can see her quilting here

Anyway, with the holiday there are often blocks of time perfect for creating. Before heading out to my sisters, I told her I was bringing projects and asked if I should bring my machine (by the way, always have a machine that is carry on size so you can take it with you), but my sister said I could borrow one. So, I packed some fabric and headed out.

Not only did I have a machine to borrow, but she set up a wonderful working space for me! How could one not create in this spot?

So, what did I have planned? Well, it now just under two months until Carnevale in Venice! I’m meeting freinds there and have lined up a few parties to attend, so time to get working. I have three costumes in mind, one of which is an 18th Century robe à la française, and that is the project I brought with me.

Here is a delicious description of this type of gown from the costume collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art:

“Women with coquettish airs were imposing in robes à la française and robes à l’anglaise throughout the period between 1720 and 1780. The robe à la française was derived from the loose negligee sacque dress of the earlier part of the century, which was pleated from the shoulders at the front at the back. The silhouette, composed of a funnel-shaped bust feeding into wide rectangular skirts, was inspired by Spanish designs of the previous century and allowed for expansive amounts of textiles with delicate Rococo curvilinear decoration. The wide skirts, which were often open at the front to expose a highly decorated underskirt, were supported by panniers created from padding and hoops of different materials such as cane, baleen or metal. The robes à la française are renowned for the beauty of their textiles, the cut of the back employing box pleats and skirt decorations, known as robings, which showed endless imagination and variety.”

I had scored some beautiful silk fabrics to make my creation on eBay. They were remnants, and I thought they would make up beautifully together. One is a beautiful embroidered silk – a tafetta but with a little more weight and shine – borderline a lightweight satin; the other a delicious woven silk stripe with a lot of body.

this photo shows both a bit darker than in real life!

After getting a sisterly consult, I made a decision on which direction was “up” on the fabric and got to cutting. Usually I sew at a rapid fire pace, just going from task to task as if I was sewing at a factory. I loved this fabric so much that I slowed down and enjoyed its beautiful hand and the way the pieces went together. It because a luxurious exercise — the sewing itself becoming a pleasure and not just the pursuit of the finished product.

I used linen as an interfacing for the bodice, but decided to piece together silk scraps to have a lining that would feel luxurious on the skin instead of just having the linen. It also will give the top more body so that it will hold up well for Venice.

I made the petticoat of stripes, and have enough stripes left to make some trim — but I haven’t gotten there yet. The main part of the dress is done, and the petticoat just needs a hem. Here are construction photos along the way

So, here it is so far. I”ll follow up later with the completed dress with all the trimmings. And since it is headed to Venice, well for Carnevale, more is more, I’ve got some glamming to do.

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