A robe à la anglaise from ca 1770-1780

Made in 2007

This is my only finished 18th century gown, though I have two more that I have started on. I don't "play" in any 18th century groups so I don't really have much use for them. In 2008, however, I went to a 18th century picnic at a local 18th century house, called Gunnebo Slott, and that's where the photo of me and Maja is taken.
The first photos were taken in a park near where I live, just after the gown was finished.

The main inspiration for this gown was the robe à la Anglaise made from dark brown cotton in a floral print on page 104 in Fashion, the Taschen book from the Kyoto Costume Institute. It showed methat you could use also darker fabrics in the 18th century. And I had this blouseweight printed silk with an 18th century-ish pattern I wanted to use.

The outfit consists of: 
 * A linen shift, made with rectangular construction, a wide rounded neck line and elbow lenght sleeves. 

* A pair of front laced stays with separate stomacher. They're made from a linen/cotton grosgrain, where the thick threads are "barbie-pink" and the thin yarn is acid green. It is fully boned with reeds, the only exception being the horizontal boning in the front, which are flat steels. 

You can really see how wide my rib cage is at the bottom in the photo taken from the back. Add to that a ribcage that widens at c. 45 degrees angle below my breasts and you see that there are some construction problems when it comes to making clothes for me.

* A false rump from linen herringbone twill, stuffed with polyester wadding. All these can be seen here: The false rump sits a little higher in the picture than it should, I pushed it down later. 

 You can also see my quick-fix 18th century hairdo, made just for the photo shoot. Basiclly I took some cheap hairpieces from H&M that I got from my friend Anna, turned them into a gigantic bun which I pinned to my head. Then I took my own hair and pulled it over the fake hair, twisted it to a bun and pinned it to the false hair. It wasn't perfect, but I managed to get a reasonably god 18th century hairdo in 15 minutes, without doing anything that damages the hair; like back combing, heck, even without using hairspray, gel or anything, because I don't have any of that at home.
Here's a closer picture of the hair, with a cap on:

Of course I should have powdered it.

 * An under petticoat made from natural/mint green coloured linen twill. 

* A petticoat in green/black shot silk. 

* A gown/robe from printed blouseweight silk, lined with black linen twill. The bodice is boned with narrow german plastic boning and cable ties in the front. It is laced together and the holes are made with an awl and bound with buttonhole silk. 

* An apron from self-patterned semi-sheer linen. It closes with a hook and eye and is slightly starched. The model, but not he fabric is a copy of a late 18th century apron that belongs to my folk costume. 

* A cap made from sheer cotton and edges with cotton lace. It is a circle gathered through quite a lot of hand made eyelets and then tied around with a ribbon.

In the photos from Gunnebo I am wearing another cap, more structured and probably more historically correct:

On top pf that I am wearing a wide brimmed straw hat, a bergère hat, which is a very popular hat all over Europe and America in the 18th century. Lining it with printed cotton is however typically Dutch. 

There printed cottons (chintzes/calicoes, depending on if you're English or American) were used in greater abundance than anywhere else in Europe, undoubtedly thanks to the Dutch East India trade. You for example find them in all kinds of garments from the 18th and 19th century. A good example is this wentke, woman's coat.
I'm not pretending to be Dutch, I just couldn't resist the hat.

 * Sleeve ruffles from cotton and cotton lace. They are currently sewed to the inside of the sleeves and will be removed when they need to be laundried. 

* A neckerchief from creamy white linen. 

 When I was in the finishing stages of the dress I decided that I wanted to be able to wear it as a Polonaise gown too, so I added buttons and cords so that the skirt could be looped up: If you click on the photo and look closely you can see the buttons, a little closer to the front than the side seams.

And worn as a polonaise:

Finally, some more photos from Gunnebo. Maja's gown is in printed cotton, with a linen/cotton petticoat that is buttoned to the gown to stay up. Her hat is made from a braided place mat with a silk crown.

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