Francaise Dinner Gown – Part 2

This should probably be parts 2,3,4, and 5 due to all the sewing that’s been happening but, as usual, my blogging hasn’t kept up! I have had more needle time lately and it’s been surprisingly nice doing so much hand-sewing. No machines to set up, no ironing boards, no noise.

Why I’ve ended up sewing the whole thing by hand is beyond me… I think it might be muscle memory! I’ve almost always sewn and trimmed 18th century gowns by hand so it just sort of happened this time too.

Anyway, the petticoat is more or less down – just a few more tacking stitches are needed on the trim but I’m thinking I’ll leave those for some evening sewing once I get to the Inn on Friday night.

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Those pocket hoops really create such a flattering skinny shape, eh?

The next step was assembling and pleating the sleeves. They ended up pretty snug around my arms but the fit perfectly over my shoulder. Guess I’ll just have to be extra ladylike and not flex my muscles too much while wearing the gown!

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Pretty sleeves! They're based on ones in Janet Arnold's Patterns of Fashion

It hasn’t shown much in the photos but linen has been used for the lining – an apple green for the bodice, and a tighter weave natural for the sleeves. Everything from the stash! I was especially lucky after taking a close-up look at the Kyoto gown sleeves and realizing that they were originally trimmed with pleated and ruched gauze. Flashback ten years to making a gauze-trimmed 18th century wedding gown. I must have bought 10-15 yards at the time…. and sure enough, I still had some tucked away in the silk box!
(Admittedly I might not get to adding that trim before the dinner but I’m ready when I do have time!)

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Not so interesting... The left bodice front and back pleats.

Last weekend was spent sewing the back pleats down and finishing all the front bodice edges. Boring (and slightly painful) sewing but it had to get done. Ten straight hours of sewing through 4-10 layers… My fingers were so sore the next day!

That’s all the updates for now as the midnight hour is striking again. Up next… Details on the pocket hoops and stomacher!

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