Then it arrived -- most definitely silk! And a really lovely orangey-bronze color!
I was so excited I instantly bought several other earth-colors from the seller, and now have a rich chocolate brown in the stash for a 1790s drawstring gown some day (probably trimmed with gold sequins and embroidery) and a medium brown shot with black for a 'best middlin' 1750s gown eventually as well.
To date, I would say the "Bronze Sacque" is the most time-consuming thing I've made, because of the tiny fly-like trim I added to the edges of the self-fabric trim.
At first I just sewed the absolute bare minimum for a basic sacque from the excellent J.P. Ryan pattern, because I was under a time crunch to get things done to attend Costume College this past summer. As the Gala theme was "Streets of Venice" or some such, I knew I wanted to do an 18th century masquerade painting, so I chose "The Fair Nun Unmask'd" by Henry Robert Morland, which is one of my favorites. So mysterious!
There were a lot of details I knew I wouldn't have time to replicate before Costume College, so I just went with the most identifiable bits, especially the mask:
After the fun and exhaustion of Costume College, I looked at the gown again and had to decide how to finish the whole thing up. Having gotten quite a bit of yardage for "oops" purposes, I figured self-trim would be the way to go. I had extremely small trim to go along the edges of everything, a twisted silky twine with tiny fringe bits spaced out every so often, and it looked enough like fly trim that why the heck not. It doesn't show up well in photographs but I think it's a lovely little textural detail in person. No regrets.
Oh, the drama.
Here you can just see the little bits of silky fringed trim on the edge of everything.
This gown is now an easy go-to for 18th century formal events, and I think turned out really beautifully. Time well-spent! On to the next gown!