Historic Costuming, History, Just for Fun

A Birthday Treat

So I recently just celebrated my birthday and treated myself with a brand new 18th century costume. I’ve been waiting a long time to make a dress with purple/pink floral material and finally found the perfect fabric.

The dress I decided to make is a Robe à la Française which was a popular style from about the 1730s to the 1770s. The style is most known for its sack-back, also called a watteau train, in which two sets of box pleats are layered onto each other and start at the shoudlers, falling into an open train. The style was named for Jean-Antoine Watteau who often painted women wearing these types of gown. The gowns usually had an open front in which a decorative stomacher would be pinned to the stays (18th century corset) beneath to “close” the gown.

Here are some historic examples

Robe à la Française from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, c. 1750 -1775

Sack from the Victoria and Albert Museum, c. 1770-1775

From the Victoria and Albert Museum, c. 1755-1765

And here’s mine:

And here’s some in production pictures:

I even made the wig using some polyster fiber fill and grey hair spray:

6 thoughts on “A Birthday Treat”

  1. Impressive dressmaking! I haven’t done much for a few years and this makes me want to get back to it, although I never did anything as impressive as this. Do you use patterns or figure the design out yourself?


  2. This is so cool! You have such talent! Broadway could be a great fit for you. Even some community theater groups if you’re not interested in the city. 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻


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