The Green Satin Fitted Back Gown

 

 

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Of all the costumes I made to wear at Chateau de Pys, perhaps this was the most finicky.  Sometimes your planning, scheming, researching, and fitting don’t line up to get you the costume you envisioned!

I bought this green silk satin for a song a few months ago, a random lucky find in the garment district.  I had grown a little tired of making solid-colored silk taffeta gowns and wanted to try a different weave.  The satin is a little to stiff to work well for the fluffier styles of the end of the 18th century, but it could work really well for a fitted-back gown.  The shininess of the fabric would be smashing for an evening dress, and I wanted a silhouette other than an evening francaise to mix things up a bit.  Because I had successfully made an en forreau in the past, I decided it would look really pretty with the silvery smooth fabric.  And it did!

But you’ll have to take my word for it.  Looks like I didn’t get any shots of the back of the gown!

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That may be for the best, however…there were fitting issues galore with this costume.  Because I was in a mad rush to finish sewing between the end of spring semester and flying off to France, I never actually tried on this dress before wearing it.  When I put it on at the chateau, the waist was too big by a whopping three inches!  I ended up doing an emergency alteration and just pulling the front robings a little tighter in towards center front.  And that was Good Enough for the First Wearing.

I made this using Katherine’s excellent tutorial on draping a fitted back gown on a mannequin that is not you-sized.  Although I had horrible fit issues with this project, those were because I’m generally pretty bad at draping and possibly also because of my holiday calorie bonanza (I did the fitting back in January).  I would definitely use Katherine’s tutorial again and hopefully improve my draping (lack of) skills.

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The original design idea for this gown was to emulate a Laduree box with soft gold accents.  But when I saw a pink rococo trim I could get at discount, I changed things up and made it a spring masquerade dress instead.  The satin curls pretty heavily, so in order to have self-fabric trim I had to choose something I could tack down on both sides, so I just used strips of gathered fabric held down by the trim.  The separate stomacher has small, non-functioning buttons.

I’ll go back and do a little bit of editing to this piece before I wear it again.  Of course, I need to start with re-fitting the bodice and getting the bulk out.  I will also remove the flounce at the petticoat front and replace it with more gathered satin.  I think it would improve the cohesiveness of the trim design.

Sadly, I don’t seem to have any more photos of myself in this gown–bummer!  Hopefully more images will surface from the chateau-mates soon.  More photos will come when I edit the dress, anyhow.

I made a Pinterest inspiration board of robes a l’anglaise with separate stomachers here.

Up next, a VERY special dress!

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This entry was posted in Chateau de Pys 2013 and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to The Green Satin Fitted Back Gown

  1. madam spencer says:

    Thanks so much for this post. I am so thrilled for all of you. What great and fun adventures! Your gown is stunning—really. You should be so proud, Madam! You look amazing! Go have more wonderful 18thc. times in it!
    Best,
    Mary
    http://anhistoricallady.blogspot.com

  2. madam spencer says:

    Thanks so much for this post. I am so thrilled for all of you. What great and fun adventures! Your gown is stunning—really. You should be so proud, Madam! You look amazing! Go have more wonderful 18thc. times in it!
    Best,
    Mary
    http://anhistoricallady.blogspot.com

    PS Congratulations!! We had an 18thc. wedding 6 years ago, and celebrate every anniversary in 18thc. clothing at a high tea or the like. I wish you much happiness~

  3. Maggie says:

    What a gorgeous gown! You look great in it!

  4. Just had to comment again since hubby and I saw ALL of the photos on Kendra’s flickr site. WOW! What an absolutely dream vacation! We loved every picture, and felt as if we too were there! We have the clothes, but alas, an actual trip to such a magnificent place is far out of our reach. GREAT photos!

    • J. Leia Lima says:

      Isn’t Kendra’s Glam Cam amazing? 🙂 I feel so blessed to have had the chance to go on this trip, and am so glad that you enjoyed looking at the photos. I know it’s not France, but what you and your husband do in your own New Hampshire backyard is quite stunning!

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