Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Robe à la Française - the first wearing at Christmas ball 2013

I had my doubts, but the robe à la Française got finished just in time for the Christmas ball trip, and with surprisingly little stress about it. Ok, to tell you the truth, I did panic a little on Tuesday (three days before the trip) when I had a problem with the front trim but I forced myself to stay calm and take care of the issue right away. And so the dress was finished a few hours before we had to leave home for the flight. I honestly thought I had a looser schedule than having to finish on the last minute!


So, this post is mainly about the dress and I will write another post about the event itself to avoid having a ridiculously long post on the blog.


Anyhow, as you can tell from the photos, I accessorized the dress with red, white and black to give this outfit some colour so it wouldn't be just plain white. I didn't have time to add the bows I was telling you about in the last post but it doesn't matter because it will be fun to add a little something new to the dress for the next wearing.




There are two pairs of tapes and loops on the inside of the dress so the train can be caught up for outdoors and dancing. 


Unfortunately my muff didn't fit in our bags so I had to leave it at home but I took a photo of it afterwards...


And since you're obviously moving when you're dancing, I also took photos of the hem pulled up later when I was at home.



The trim on the front of the gown was hugely influenced by the MET gown that I already linked to one of the earlier posts about this gown. I'm also considering adding some kind of garlands of flowers - similarly to the original - to the dress before the next wearing. I'm just not that sure if it will be too much decoration...


A little repetition here, in case you missed it earlier:  The bodice is based on a pattern in The Cut of Women's Clothes (1600-1930) by Norah Waugh. (See diagram XX on page 90) As usual, I enlarged the pattern on the computer as and altered it after printing it out. The bodice and the sleeves had to be shortened because I'm quite short and high-waisted (I'm pretty sure all my active readers are tired of hearing that all the time). I also had to add around 2 centimeters on the sides to the bust. Otherwise, it's basically the same. That is, if I remember correctly anymore. It's been a while since the pattern was drafted and fitted.


 Here you can see the lovely stripes.



And the dress seen completely from the front. I'm starting to think I actually prefer the way it looks when it's pulled up because it isn't so boxy like that.


The silk organza trim got officially approved by Leo... I really fell in love with this material. Actually, I liked it so much I'm thinking about using it for the robe à la Polonaise as well. It was so easy to cut and to work with. I barely needed to iron it because it folds easily with your fingers and nails. Leo also loved the box in which the fabric was mailed to us. He keeps sleeping in it so I haven't thrown it away just yet...


A couple of photos of the dress at the ball in the evening...


Special thanks to Ida for taking the photos and PS actions credits go to Bokhelie on DeviantArt.


PS. A few people have asked me if my hem got really dirty during the evening. Well, here's a photo that shows how dirty it got. I spent two days after the trip taking care of the clothes and cleaning the hem took the longest. First, I started by rubbing it with a wet piece of cloth and it worked ok but then it would have taken so much time to clean the whole hem with this technique so I continued the cleaning process by washing the hem in the sink with water and a little laundry detergent. I hang it for a while and after it had dried I noticed there still was some dirt on it so I rubbed the hem again with another wet piece of cloth. Finally after that it was clean enough so you can barely tell it had been dirty at all. It's never going to be completely clean again but I don't care because you kind of have to be mentally prepared for it if you decide to make a white dress with a long train. I could have, of course, lined the hem with another fabric, which would have made washing it much easier but the fabric is already quite thick so I didn't want to do that. 


Stay tuned for more photos of the Christmas ball and other events of the day... Oh, and if you like, I can take more photos of the construction details from the inside of the dress later on, once the batteries of my camera have been fully recharged...


39 comments:

  1. This is absolutely beautiful and it suits you so well! I love how the ivory silk glows and your trim is wonderful. And high five for being short and high waisted ;) I love, love, love it and I think this must be one of my favorite 18c outfits I've ever seen anyone make.

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    1. Thank you so much! :) Being short has its benefits, definitely, because you don't have to order so much fabric for your dresses! ;)

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  2. Perfection itself! But then again, I always knew it was going to be fabulous! You've done such a careful job with the entire gown, down to the last bit of trimming, I admire your patience. And I love the trimmings! And the whole ensemble, too! I hope I get to see the dress at some other event since I couldn't come to the Christmas shindig. Can't wait to see the photos of the event :)

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    1. Thank you, Nora! I don't know about perfection, though! You always know your own faults... But I really think this is probably the most successful dress I've made so far! I'm so happy I took the time to fix all the problems I had, unlike with the striped anglaise that keeps bothering me because I wasn't patient enough with it... Even if it's painful to try to be patient at times and redo all the stuff you've already made, it really pays off in the end...

      I'm checking the photos from the ball right now and I really hope I can get them up on the blog by the end of the week. If not here, at least on facebook. I really missed your company at the ball and hopefully it won't be too long until we get to meet again! I will be definitely bringing this dress to other events, too, especially because it will be a little altered for the future so it doesn't feel dull to wear the same thing all over again. Although, this dress is my new favorite from my own wardrobe so I doubt I would feel dull wearing it the same way again either :)

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  3. O_O
    You're my new GODDESS! Wah. Nothing more to say, it's perfect. Congrats, really.

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    1. Aaw, thank you so much, that's a huge compliment! ;)

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  4. Beautiful! The trim is absolutely stunning. I'd love to see pictures of the construction of the gown. :) How did you close center front?

    Best,
    Quinn

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    1. Thank you, Quinn! :) I can post some photos from the inside of the gown later on next week or maybe earlier. :) I'm still trying to get things done here at home because I was away for three days and things have been piling up ever since the couple of weeks before the ball when I worked on the gown like crazy and did pretty much nothing else. The front closes with hooks and eyes, as usual. My favorite closure option, because it's quick and easy to get closed.

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  5. Amazing gown! You're so talented :) And you look stunning wearing it!

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    1. Thank you so much! :) I was a bit worried about how I'd look wearing all white because I've never done it before so I'm glad to hear it looks ok. :)

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  6. Your gown is absolutely beautiful! Wonderful pictures too. I love your pleated trim with the striped silk organza. I made a similar ivory silk taffeta gown with box pleated trim. I used pinking shears to cut the taffeta thinking I could save a bit of time by not having to hand finishing the million plus yards I needed for the pleated trim. It frayed like crazy the first time I wore the gown. :( So annoying!
    -Emily

    Emily's Vintage Visions

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    1. Thank you for your kind words! :) I remember your ivory gown very well, it's pretty! :) But I guess you can't avoid fraying when you cut the edges with pinking shears and it happened to my early robe à la Polonaise, too. But the extant gowns have frayed edges as well so it's ok. Although, if you don't want the edges to fray, you could use fray-check, something that I learned from Starlight Masquerade: http://starlightmasquerade.com/violet-rose-underskirt-for-robe-a-la-francaise/

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    2. Thanks for the tip. Another person suggested fray-check as well. I think I will test it on a piece of silk scrap before attacking the trim on my gown just in case it leaves any kind of stain.
      -Emily

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  7. OMG that is absolutely glorious! It's seriously one of the prettiest dresses that I've EVER seen!

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    1. Thank you so much, that's a huge compliment for me, especially because it's coming from you! :)

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  8. Your new gown is just gorgeous! I especially love the the trimming and the fit is perfect!

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    1. Thank you very much! :) I guess both all the dull hours spent hemming the multiple yards of silk organza and the multiple fittings paid off, then! :)

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  9. You look truly amazing---like a Christmas angel!
    Mary
    http://anhistoricallady.blogspot.com

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind compliments on all of the posts about this gown! :)

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  10. Wow, you're pretty quick! Flawless! I love the way the trimming turned out. And I really can't decide whether I prefer the pulled up or normal version, but I think I like it best when the skirt is loose - looks more royal ;) I was wondering if you had issues with people stepping on the back hem of the dress? Because it might be rather peculiar feeling, thanks to Watteau pleats :D Also, how is the dress closed? Can't wait to read more about the Christmas ball :)

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    1. Thank you! It's hard for me to decide which way I like better, too, because as a fan of trains I love it when the hem is down but I really think the front looks better when the the trim on the front panels curve towards the sides so that the dress looks fluffier and less boxy. :)

      And yes, people will always keep stepping on my train, although this time not as many times as usual. That's why I had to use reinforcement stitches at the top of the back pleats under the trim so I could be sure it would take all the pulling when I move and someone steps on the train. And the dress is closed with hooks and eyes, like many of my earlier dresses. :)

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    2. I can imagine it feels weird, as if someone have grabbed your shoulders and pulled them back :D Still, it's amazing nothing got destroyed. I was having a lace train on a belle epoque ball once and that was a miserable choice. It ended up hanging sadly on my waist, with a 5 cm piece still attached, and the rest completely torn. And I was holding it high while dancing, it was just taking few steps to the bathroom and the train was already damaged. Duh. Seriously, no idea how the ladies did it back then (I guess people were more used to it, and so were the ladies - with this funny "kick" during the dances, so the train wouldn't disturb them).

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    3. I'm always afraid something like that could happen. But then again, the sack back pleats are striched to the dress with so many reinforcement stitches I doubt it would happen to this dress ever. First the back pleats were stitched on top to hold them together, then a little piece of binding was stiched on top of them to cover the raw edges (I can show you the details in a future post). After that, the pleats were stitched to the lining for the part that gets hidden by the trim and the last row of stitches you is visible on the outside of the dress, about 10 cm away from the top. I'm sorry to hear about your gown's train! :(

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  11. The gown is very nice and so accurately made! Astonishing.

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  12. It's beautiful! But you knew that already. :)

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    1. Thank you! It always means a lot to me to hear it from you :)

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  13. OMG really gorgeous, it seems absolutely perfect : wonderful trims, wonderful fabric, perfect fitting ! It's my new favorite of your gowns !

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    1. Thank you, Sarah! It's my new favorite from my own wardrobe, too! Considering all the hours I spent making it, it ought to be! :)

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  14. STUNNINGLY beautiful and SO inspiring! Thank you for the many many pictures from multiple angles!

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    1. Thank you, Lauren! I bet your robe à la Francaise will be so stunning as well! How are things going with it? I can't remember you posting about it for a while. Or then I just might have missed it out while I was furiously working with this dress to get it finished in time. I still have so much to catch up on the costuming blogosphere ;) I'm still looking forward to see more of your francaise! And I really think it's always good to have photos from as many angles as possible, even if your posts get longer and longer because of it! :) I guess most people check out only the photos anyway... :D

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  15. Gosh it turned out lovely. You look stunning, and you've done a marvellous job of inspiring me to get cracking on my next Georgian project.

    Perfection itself!

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    1. Thank you so much! And I'm glad to have inspired you, Georgian costumes are so lovely... :)

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  16. Amazing gown! It's seriously one of the prettiest dresses that I've EVER seen!

    Regards,
    Komatsu Parts

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  17. Oh, this is so lovely! Simple, elegant, yet detailed! I really love the effect of the striped trim, and your accessories are perfection. :-)

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    1. Thank you! :) I'm really happy I chose this fabric for the this project. I was so afraid it would be dull but luckily it's not. Actually, if this was any other color, it might look a bit too heavy and over-the-top... :)

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  18. Simply exquisite! I know the difficulty of keeping a gown like this clean. I love wearing white. It is so dramatic!

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    1. Thank you! :) This was my first time wearing a dress that's completely white and I really enjoyed it. I'm just relieved I was able to get it clean because at first it seemed like there's no hope of it, it was so dirty...

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