Ikea LJUSÖGA robe à l'anglaise (1770-1780s)
I joined the club, at last! I made my own Ikea Ljusoga robe à l'anglaise! Squeeeee! I waited this moment for almost two years. I purchased the fabric when I joined my group Le Vie del Tempo in 2016 and it laid in its envelope since then. I never had the time to work on this dress before, even if I started to make a mock up last year. Then things happened and I have been forced (read: forced) to make an elegant 18th century dress for an event at Venaria court. I also lost weight in the last 6 months and I literally had no costumes to wear for our day. Any. My working class jacket now runs too large and same for my floral caraco I wore earlier this spring (le sigh...) so I only could sew something for myself. Three days before the event. Yes, three days.
I made several italian gowns in the past for my customers but never had the chance to make one for me. I have been extremely lucky to met a buyer that is almost my doppelganger so I recycled the pattern I made for her with just fewer alterations.
Since my waist is now sensibly smaller I also had to finish my new pair of stays, all made in linen. I now wear a size XS, that's almost incredible for me! So after finishing to bind the corset in a rush I started to work on the lining; the only alteration I made was to shorten the shoulder straps. The bodice length, the sleeves, the back were already perfect. So glad I never throw my patterns away ...
The dress is made of cotton for lining and fashion fabric both, worn over 2 cotton petticoats. The petticoat were made last year and worn only once since then. Of course I made all inner seams by machine and outer finishing by hand, including skirt facing, hem and skirt seam. I didn't bother about the lack of trimmings for now, I can always add them in a second moment. The neckline was filled with a cotton voile fichu.
Bodice fronts are closed with pins instead of hooks.
I didn't take photos during the construction because the process was really straightforward.
The skirt pattern is based onto the 1770-1775 dress featured in Janet Arnold book "Patterns of Fashion 1" without alterations; it seems this lady was tall like me! It is pleated towards the back on both sides and since I'm a perfectionist, I measured every pleat with my seam gauge to be 2 cm wide. Yes, I do these things when I'm late...stupid me. The skirts and the bodice are then joined together using a pick stitch and not sewing them in the "normal way" (so putting the two pieces right sides together); I laid the skirt under the bodice, pinned it in place 1,5 cm approx from bodice edge and then hand sewn all in place. This took a while but the result was worthy and without bulk at the waist.
The skirt is trained and it's polonaised up using cotton cords inside the dress that form a loop. This loop goes over two fabric buttons sewn at the side seams outside the bodice. Please note: a robe à l'anglaise is not a polonaise dress. Polonaise dress were totally different and did not have a waist seam as an italian gown.
Now the fun part, the photos!!
The Ikea fabric is not bleached. You can see how the two different shades of white look in sunlight. I finished the look with this straw hat I purchased from Atelier Pietro Longhi.
And you? Did you make an italian gown as well? What pattern did you use?