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Friday, 25 March 2016

1806 Soutache Gown

I'm pleased to say that I finished my elaborate soutache gown in time for the ball!

To recap:  I've been dreaming of this lovely portrait for ages.  It's elaborate and subtle at the same time.  The folds of the sleeves have me captivated.

1806, Hortense de Beauharnais with her son Napoleon Charles by Fraincois-Pascal-Simon Gerard
I'm not a particular fan of white dresses so I opted to use some lavender satin from my stash instead. I substituted the gold trim for a white soutache (have I mentioned I LOVE soutache...?).

I started with Laughing Moon #126 as my base dress.  It fits me perfectly so I didn't need to do another fitting.  Or so I thought...

Figuring out the exact pattern of the skirt panels took longer than I'd like to admit.  It's four separate pieces sewn in a zigzag to make the criss-cross pattern.  Since I used my machine to sew it it didn't take long at all.  I started the project early thinking I would have to hand sew it, but once I figured out how to do it by machine it zipped along quite well!

Marking out the intersections with dots.

The sleeves were a bit of a puzzle.  Since I can't see the back I just sort of guessed how they were pleated.  I have to say, I truly love the affect of pleated sleeves.  I interlined them with cotton so give them a bit of body and did three panels of soutache.  It's the same pattern as the skirt, but in a smaller scale.  Again, figuring that out took longer than I'd like to admit!  I also had to angle the outside lines of trim so they'd look straight once pleated.  Man, am I glad I thought of that before sewing!

Skinnier version of the skirt detail.

The delicate sheer trim along the neckline didn't entirely turn out the way I'd like, but it'll do.  Mine didn't stick up the way I'd hoped :\

The bodice front was easy; I sewed a 3/8" piece of folded silk organza into the top edge of the bodice.  Easy peasy.  This had to be done before the trim along the top as it was too close to the seam allowance to do afterwards.

I had quite the time fitting the bodice!  I've never made the fitted version before so it was a bit of trial and error to get it to sit properly around my stays.  I have a large cup size and small band size so I often need an arm scythe dart.  I don't believe it's period appropriate, but that's what I had to do here.  See the GIANT side dart?
The neckline was WAY too high so I lowered it about an inch.  Felt like I was wearing a Regency turtle neck!

The rest of the neckline trim is just a tube of silk organza held in place by loops of ribbon.  Again, I'd like it to have a little height, but it was done the night before the ball and I was done with this dress-puzzle.

Making things up as I go!

Have you ever made a tassel?  They are quite therapeutic.  I made sure mine hung down a little to avoid a pasty look.

What the item is: 1806 Regency Gown

The Challenge: #2 Pleats and Tucks

Fabric/Materials: Poly satin, cotton/rayon soutache, cotton interlining, silk organiza

Pattern: Laughing Moon #126

Year: 1806

Notions: So. Much. Soutache. 24 yards, in fact!

How historically accurate is it? I'd say 50%-ish.  Mostly synthetic materials and I machine stitched it, but the overall look is quite close to the portrait.

Hours to complete: About 20-25.

First worn: February 27th, 2016

Total cost: $30.  I only had to buy the soutache and some thread.

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P.S.  Look what I found!  It's a crochet turtle measuring tape.  Much delight was had by all at work the day I brought this friend to say hello.  He's even featured in a movie!

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