Friday, May 6, 2016


I have been making serious francaise progress! Or rather, I have made so much progress on everything I need to go under my francaise that I can actually start the dress itself. Exciting and terrifying!

As I've mentioned previously, I'm mixing period hand sewing techniques and machine sewing to accomplish a decently accurate ensemble in a short amount of time. I'm learning a lot, and I look forward to making more 18th century garments in the future!

First, my stays can now go onto my body and be worn, which is awesome because it means I can start making the things that need to be fit over my stays. I'm reasonably happy with the fit, and as this is my first foray into stay-making I will accept that as a win. This week I went to my friend's house so she could lace me in and help with fitting my dress lining. She also kindly took a bunch of pictures of my making ridiculous faces in my various layers, so that I could post. Pardon the grainy cell phone quality!
stays! I haven't fully cut my tabs yet, but otherwise these are in good shape (I'm also wearing the new 18th century chemise that you haven't seen yet)
Since my last stays post, I've set the lining into the stays and added eyelets. All that's left is to bind them, which I will start this weekend and continue as a handwork project whenever I'm not home and can't sew big things.

my biggest concession to modernity was to use grommets instead of hand-sewing eyelets. so much faster, which was a necessity here!

and from the back. these can probably be laced slightly tighter, but I'd just eaten my weight in mozzarella sticks so we went a little easy :)
I used The Dreamstress's excellent pannier tutorial for my pocket hoops. They were super easy and I quite like the shape! I ran out of twill tape, so these need a couple more ties (including a waistband--at the moment there's a temporary polka-dotted hairband in there that needs to come out...), but are otherwise done. I again used heavy-duty plastic zip ties for boning. I had them on hand, but also they are very lightweight which will help in packing for the flight.

I did say silly faces...
While I do really like the shape of these panniers, they are a little too practical for Versailles. So I made double under petticoats!

Both are constructed in the same manner, based on Katherine's tutorial. I was sneaky and used the selvage edge of the cotton for the bottom of each petticoat, so that I didn't have to hem anything. The white petticoat is a little narrower (about 55 inches across), while the rust-colored one is fuller.

I think I was explaining to my friend that there are pockets
This helps with the fluffiness of my silhouette in general, but is also because I plan to wear the colored petticoat as a visible/outer layer with a someday printed gown. I've had the fabric in my stash for years, but the hurdle of starting a new century kept me from every breaking it out. Now that I've jumped on board, this will actually get made!

my petticoat fabric with the stash printed cotton for a robe a l'anglaise (someday...)
So far, I'm pretty happy with everything. I've also cut and assembled my visible silk petticoat, but am waiting to pleat it onto a waistband until I attach the trim. I used a slightly different assembly method for that one, and I'm waiting with somewhat baited breath to try it on and see if that was a good idea or not.

I've also done a mockup of the dress lining, adjusted the pattern, and cut it out. Hopefully this weekend I can assemble the lining for real, and be ready to start the dress next week.

from the back
It feels like I'm both making tons of progress and none at all, ha.

under petticoats

Still To Do:
visible petticoat
francaise gown
paint shoes


  1. Definitely progress! Your pocket hoops and petticoats look great! I think the silhouette will be sufficiently grand once you're all done up with hair and trim and everything. :)


  2. Everything is looking fantastic! Great work on the stays. And those pocket hoops! How are you liking the JP Ryan stays pattern?

    1. Thank you! I like the JP Ryan stays pattern. It went together really easily, and fit pretty well (I made a couple of minor adjustments in the side front area on the mockup). I should also note, though, that I have entirely disregarded the pattern instructions, which called for sewing all the pieces together before sewing boning channels. I sewed each piece with boning channels individually before attaching them (with bones inserted).