Friday, April 20, 2018

The Robe a la Francaise That Took Forever

Somewhere way back in my blogging, I apprehensively started draping my first sacque. I'll readily admit that it's made from thrift store fabric that seems to be some sort of silk blend but because I'm not sure what, I can't claim it's an accurate fabric (and probably that's for the best considering some of the minor mistakes I made). The construction itself, however, was as accurate as I could make it, as it is entirely hand-sewn, and I spent a lot of time looking at museum extants and the sacques in Janet Arnold. 

I preferred to have this be a long organic process so that I could be thinking about why these gowns were constructed the way they were, while enjoying the hand-sewing. I wasn't counting on it being a THREE YEAR long process, but having unwisely started it before my wedding, and then adjusting to moving in with my husband and shuffling all our things around in a small house for a couple of years, it took me a while to finally get back to this large project to finish it! 

Last Saturday, with a newly formed group of costuming & reenacting friends, I was able to get out to the botanical gardens to take a few photos. Rain threatened for a good part of the late morning and those of us who stuck around to take our own photos got sprinkled on (so again, good thing this gown isn't 100% silk!). I made my poor friends take about a million pictures of the back of the gown, because obviously that's the best part of a robe a la francaise, right? On to the snapshots!

 The staff at the historic house in the middle of the gardens hunted up their cardboard cutout of the gardens' founder, Henry Shaw, and made us take a picture with him. We had a good spread of eras represented!

 The Shoe Shot. My pretty American Duchess Georgies with their Fleur buckles. They've taken a beating over the years but are still fairly comfortable!

 Lunch in the garden cafe! We were kind of celebrities all day...I had a random child thrust into my arms for a photo and we were stopped by tourists and photographers alike. 

 One of my favorite photos of the day. 

 Windy and wet and kind of romantic.

 These two photos below were taken by the talented Genevieve Nadeau, who is the daughter of one of the ladies in our group and who came along to photograph during the first half of the day. I'm eager to see the rest of her pictures but here's our lovely group shot and a cropped one below that.

 It was a delightful outing, weather notwithstanding (this has been the longest dreariest winter and spring is very slow to make progress), and the sacque now needs a careful bath, but after languishing in the unfinished pile for some time, I'm sure even it was glad to see some daylight!

Likely next week I'll be done with a gold striped silk Regency gown that I'm eager to show as well.

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