As stated in a previous post, I attended a 18th century reenactment event in September and had to sew a proper court dress. I already had some beautiful pink satin in my stash so I just had to decide which kind of dress I wanted to wear; I couldn't get decided between the classic sack dress and the more comfortable (in my own opinion...) robe à l'anglaise, and in the end I went for the first one which looked better in pink.
I used the pattern provided by The Cut of Women's Clothes by Norah Waugh and I can say it surprised me: the pattern needed just some basic alterations and the dress came together really quickly. The Watteau pleats took a while to be done and aren't still perfect but I'll work on them later.
Now, my pattern:
I took the measurements wearing full undergarments but - however - the sides ended to be longer than I expected, giving the bodice a clumsy look. The back of the bodice has eyelets for accuracy and it's all flat lined in cotton to add more support; on the other hand, the sleeves and the skirts fit perfectly.
The stomacher is fully boned and it's a separate piece pinned to the stays; at the beginning of the day I pinned it to the dress but the weight of my satin stressed it a lot so we stitched it to the robings. The petticoat is made of the same ivory brocade of the stomacher but just at the front; the rest of the petticoat is made of cotton. The whole dress is trimmed with white cotton ruffles, all pinked by hand and hand sewn over the robings and skirt openings.
For those who asked...no it's not a wig :) I also wore a cheap straw hat with paper flowers since I didn't manage to sew a lace cap.
To be honest this dress is not a masterpiece but it's ok to be the first sack dress and to have finished it the night before the event. There are several issues to fix but we're all here to learn =) I dislike the lower sleeeves too, they're too big and cover the engageantes completely.
It was a very sunny day and my delicate eyes couldn't stand the light enough to take some decent outdoor shots so excuse for my bad expressions!
- I learned to drape Watteau pleats better- Proper colour and fabric choice
- Easy pattern to work with
- Not too wide panniers
- Bodice sides too long
- Engageantes not visible as I wanted
Some references I used, dating from 1750 to 1770: