Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A Little Bit Rococo

For the past couple weeks I've been pouring over the internet looking at 18th century portraits and photos of the costumes from the 2006 Marie Antoinette movie. In the end I simply could not prevent myself from adding a frothy 18th century delight to my summer costume list. I'm a historic fashion enthusiast after all and I definitely don't have nearly enough historic costumes under my belt.

So I decided I'm making a chemise a la reine. The dress made famous - or perhaps infamous - by Marie Antoinette.

Of course, if you look at a chemise a la reine you will notice it is a chemise, obviously, and thus made out of very light and quite sheer white fabrics. That means first I need to make a corset and a petticoat.

The corset:
I have been planning to make a pair of 18th century stays for awhile. In fact, I bought the fabric to make my stays about this time last year, but then chickened out a little. But I think I'm ready now. I'm mostly I did, however, change the pattern I was planning to use for the project. I used a pattern from Period Costume for Stage & Screen: Patterns for Women's Dress 1500-1800 by Jean Hunnisett, though I only basically followed the boning layout given. I'm making it out of a pale blue toile de jouy, which I know is not a historically accurate fabric for clothing, but I adote the fabric far too much to care. Oh, and no one really sees the stays anyway. There are two inside layers, comprising many mismatched mystery fabrics. It is boned with cable ties. There are 49 boning channels, which is not quite fully boned, but good enough for my purposes. At the moment I'm working through making the tabs, which is even more difficult than I thought it would be.

The petticoat: I picked up two meters of pale blue pre-quilted fabric for the petticoat. I'm planning on hemming the bottom with blue ribbon for a little extra je ne sais quoi. I chose the light blue so that it will hopefully show through the chemise a little, and also match the pale blue pattern on the corset. I haven't started putting it together yet, although I do have a plan in my head. My cats like sitting it on though, very cushy.

Chemise a la reine: I picked up some voile (french for veil), which I seems to be a common fabric choice. I plan on following the general pattern from Norah Waugh's The Cut of Women's Clothes. I'm thinking about changing the sleeves, however, to something a little more fitted.

Afterwards I'll work on getting a sash (pale blue, obviously) and a pretty little hat together. I do have a potential hat that I could use, but I might try to find something better at some point.