Sunday, January 26, 2014

HSF #24: Re-Do: A pink robe a la anglaise en forreau

The theme of the 24th challenge of the Historical Sew Fortnightly was "Re-do" - re-do a previous theme. I chose to repeat a VERY recent one (of the ones I've completed so far, anyway), mostly because I absolutely could not have done this without the internet holding my hand through it.

I chose to "re-do" the Gratitude challenge.


When I decided to commit to a Georgian, I had intended to use a length of lovely green linen to make a robe a la anglaise with an en forreau back. When I finally dug it out of a box (ahhh moving), there wasn't nearly as much of it as I remembered. I had made a little note with the measurements but it got lost in the move. Not that it mattered - there simply wasn't enough. I recall it being an odd width, but even if it was 60" wide, it's only 2.5m long. Not enough for a full gown. Nuts! I'd so had my heart set on it.

Just prior to finding this out, I'd gone to the annual New Year's Day sale at Fabricland where I scored 6m of pink linen/cotton blend for around $4.50/m (regular $14). I was quite pleased! I know it's not strictly period, but I had intended to make undergarments with it - pocket hoops and a petticoat at the very least. But after I rediscovered that the green linen was insufficient, my plans changed.

So now I'd decided on making a pink linen/cotton robe a la anglaise en forreau - phew, what a mouthful. I was utterly terrified to start. What if I made a mistake somewhere? What if I ruined my gown and/or fabric? Aiiieee!!

Take a deep breath, self. You can do this. While I still have a hundred and one things to learn, I'm moving up towards "advanced" seamstressing. I can do this.


But I really could not have done it without Katherine's wonderful and extremely detailed tutorial. I started with a pattern (Reconstructing History #822) to give me basic shapes to start with and made a muslin first. I had to grade the seams out a bit to accommodate my shape and trim away a lot of the neckline and shorten it a bit at the waist, but despite that, I really only had to make minor changes. I transferred my changes to the paper, accounted for seams, and moved onto a lining. A bit more fitting to fiddle with (mostly opening the neckline more, front and back). Finally, I was satisfied with the fit and it was time to move onto the fabric.

DEEP BREATH, SELF. REMEMBER, YOU CAN DO THIS.

I did make one mistake in cutting the back, which was easily fixed and I amazingly did not full-on panic about considering how scared I was to start. You can see the fix I made in these progress pics on my LiveJournal. I also ended up with the neckline a bit too wide, but as I won't be wearing this without some sort of neckline filler and I'm planning on trimming it anyway, it should be OK.



The Challenge: #24: Re-do. I redid #23 Gratitude, with huge huge thanks to Katherine's tutorials on anglaise, sleeves and francaise (binding).
Fabric: 55% Linen/45% cotton, white linen/cotton for the bodice lining and what I believe is cotton for sleeve lining.
Pattern: RH #822 with modifications, sleeve drafted from Costume Close-up.
Year: 1775-ish
Notions: cotton thread, poly twill tape for petticoat ties.
How historically accurate is it? Pretty darn close; perhaps around 80%. I ended up handsewing nearly the entire thing except for skirt and bodice lining seams. Everything else (hems, any visible stitching, and the sleeves) are hand-done.
Hours to complete: around 15-20 hours, I think, not including mock-up time. I wasn't keeping super-close track.
First worn: Just for pictures.
Total cost: $30 for pink fabric, linings were leftovers from other projects, thread randomly appeared in my stash, tape was perhaps $2. Max $40.


Sleeves set in by hand even though the strap is cut as one with the bodice.


The left back shoulder ended up being a little too short so I patched it. Probably could have covered it with the facing, but oh well.


My "oops" with the skirt is nearly completely hidden :)

5 comments:

  1. Your hand-sewing skills are quite impressive. And loved how you dealt with the little skirt slip-up. ;) I can only learn from you.:)

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    1. Aw thanks :) I've always admired people who hand-sew their garments and while I didn't set out to do it that way, I found the process rather relaxing and more than a little satisfying!

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  2. You're welcome. I've hand-sewn my last three dresses and the chemise I'm making for HSF #4. It takes a while but is very satisfying in the end, like you said. In about 2 weeks I can finally post a pic of it. But yours is still prettier. :)

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  3. You know, I have been reenacting 1770s for several years now, and I've been terrified of making stays and a gown (even though I know it's the best look). You are an inspiration for me to blow the dust of my fabric and patterns and hop to it!

    thank you!

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    Replies
    1. You're welcome! If you need someone to cheer you on, let me know! You can do it :)

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