Historic Costuming, History, Just for Fun

…To Spring: 18th Century 2 for 1 Costume Special

So in this post, we’re saying goodbye to winter and hello to spring. Here’s the second costume I promised you. Once again, the dress in this post can be worn two different ways. Below is the first version of the dress that I made when I was a teenager. I also separated the bodice and skirt in order to make the two different looks.

The first style of the dress I made when I was around thirteen.
The back of the bodice. Historically, bodices would be closed with pins or hooks and eyes, but teenage me used back ties on this one. Just don’t tell the ladies @FrockFlicks!

So I had extra material and decided to make a second look for this dress. This time I went with a Robe a la Polonaise style which translates to Polish dress. These dresses were popular from the 1770s to the mid 1780s and are thought to have been inspired by the outfits of milk maids. Now technically my dress is actually a Robe a l’Anglaise Retroussé (English dress pulled up). A real Polonaise dress has a different construction than my dress. Regardless, the distinctive feature of these dresses was the puffs on the back of the overskirt. These puffs were created using tapes on the inside of the skirt to pull up the fabric. You may remember this sketch I posted awhile back:

Well here’s the dress from the sketch:

The back of the skirt showing the puffs associated with the Polonaise style.
The cotton tapes used to create the puffs on the inside of the skirt.
Another DIY 18th century hairstyle.

This version of the dress has an en fourreau back which is when the back of the bodice and the over skirt are cut as one piece. The bodice is fitted to the body with back pleats.

This image shows how the skirt and bodice are cut as one piece in the en fourreau style.
Construction image of the knife pleats.
Close-up of the trim. Blue ribbon on top of strips of the fabric on top of blue lace.
The hat I decorated.
I did not make these shoes, but aren’t they pretty?
A fan I hand-painted years ago to match.

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