Friday, August 28, 2009

The Quintessential Robe

Nothing says the 18th Century more to me than this little gown. As much I look at more spectacular gowns elsewhere this is the one I always come back to. I love it for several reasons. The shape and proportions are just perfect, it's polonaised, hello! it's got bows on the front and I just love the deep yellow plain fabric which is a nice relief to the fussy patterned gowns of the same period.

This is most definately the robe I will be modelling my own one on. Most striking to me about this robe is all the self-trim. It just goes on and on and on. Yep a lot of handsewing in this one. I doubt though I will make it in yellow as it's just a no-go with my skin tone. Perhaps a madder pink or gorgeous stripe.

If you're into patterns then there is none lovelier than these deep pink roses on a duck-egg blue ground. A silk brocade, half your luck to finding anything remotely similar these days. I also think the stomacher decoration below is brilliant, 18th century without miles of fuss. Definately is a lovely way to go.

But then again if fuss is your thing, and why would you be into the 18th century if you didn't like fuss?, then perhaps the treatment on this 1780's robe a la turque is more your style.

The only problem with my own robe project is that I haven't found a fabric I absolutely adore yet, and I can't settle on the level of fuss I want. I am also torn between a robe a la anglaise (with fitted back) over the robe a la francaise (the sacque back). I like the anglaise better I will honestly say but part of me thinks I will always feel incomplete if I don't make a francaise.


  1. *Drool* I can't say I am a fan of the bows on the first one, but everything else is to-die-for.

    Please provide dates and where the heck you got the gorgeous piccies from as I don't recognise them and I thought I knew what every museum everywhere had in their collections! Wait...are they from NGV or the Powerhouse?

  2. They are from the Kent State University Museum, I'd post a link but I still haven't found out how to do that. When I use the link button in the post editor all it does is hide the text and there is no link...aaarrrgh! Yeah I know bows aren't for everyone probably because they've been done to death. And to be honest I will probably be over them the very first time I attach one to a garment. The yellow and blue ones are 1760's while the cream one is very late 1780s, the skirt has hardly any fullness at all.

    Google "Bissonnette on costume" and you should get the page with all the piccies. They also have a huge page with extant stays with a pair almost identical to the ones you made. Nice collection of Edwardian hats too. I have no idea how to find that section from their homepage however.

  3. BTW I'm not aware of Australia having any 18th century costume collections, it's a little early for our time and plus we just suck at collecting clothes. We only get that kind on thing on special tours.

  4. Australia does have 18 century stuff - but not as much as NZ because we got the rich immigrants who hauled all their crap over with them! ;->

    To post a link, select the writing you want to be the link, click the url link thingee, and then paste your link. Hope it works!

  5. Thanks for the instructions but nope that doesn't work. It just shows up as a blank spot in the text with no link there. At first I thought it was just making the link the same colour as my background but nope there's definately just nothing there.

  6. Well I just had to drag myself up off the floor after swooning from the loveliness of that brocade! That is so gorgeous. I do love all the trim on that yellow dress, too, such lovely shapes. I have the same problem with yellow - why is it such a hard colour to wear?! V annoying. Thanks a lot for the tip on the Kent State Uni collection... I think I know what the rest of my day is going to be spent doing...

  7. Enjoy Clare. I've spent half my holidays just 18th C window shopping.

  8. Why choose? Make both an anglaise and a francaise! It's the only sensible thing to do, and yes, I am an enabler.

  9. I agree with Comtesse Olympe - make both! I've made the fran├žaise from Arnold's book, and it's a dream to wear. It is SO comfortable, and not to mention the lovely feeling when the breeze catches in the back and gently pouffs it up. *lurve*
    I really like the turque-style robe, but I'm a big fan of the French style as well. I recently found some delightful bluish-mossy cotton chintz fabric with an Indian-inspired floral pattern on it in burgundy, gold and moss colours. SO EXCITED TO USE IT!!!