Monday, September 3, 2012

my muse is decked out in 18th century


I just wrangled Mom's share of the black silk taffeta in the stash. So my black Robe à la Française is officially a go. I don't know why but I've gotten my heart set on making a Robe à la Française for my Gala dress next year. Maybe because my attempt with a synthetic taffeta last Jan went so badly. Or so many of my friends are making one this year or did last year (I am a sheep).

Black honestly isn't my first choice but I'm poor and the only silk taffeta I have of any quantity in the stash is black so it's black or no Française. So black it is. I have found a few portraits of black gowns but it seems to be wishy-washy whether they are mourning or not. All the references I'm finding for black fabrics being specifically for mourning are matte blacks, not shiny ones like my taffeta. I am finding lots of black accessories which surprised me a bit so black was clearly fashionable that way. I'm not doing living history anymore so I'm not sure I care but in general I like to know when I'm entering a "gray" area in my costuming.

I actually have some really great black trims in the stash for this and I'm getting really excited about the possibilities, whether I can document them or not. I've just resigned myself that it won't ever photograph well and I'll be a black void in candlelight. Still it will look awesome with my RED hair, CosCol isn't candlelight and if I add enough spangles I can live with being a sparkly void... :>

So not only is my sewing muse making her presence known again she is very much decked out in 18th century, specifically the 1770s. I'm just in the mood again and have been having way too much fun researching. Lately I've been looking at 1770s images/garments thinking - that really is cute and I need that. Not that I'm abandoning my beloved 1780s and it's awesome hedgehogs and long sleeves completely but it's time for something different I think.

If money were no object I would totally make every outfit in the "Sharp Family" by Zoffany for CosCol next year. Wouldn't that be fun? Instead I'm going to be inspired by it (and some of his other family paintings) and make at least a Robe à la Française, a Riding Habit, a mantlette, a pouf wig of doom and some of those ridiculous caps to go a top it for next year.


  1. I'm sure you have already seen this one:

    I don't know why they are so certain it's a mourning gown, though.

    In Sweden we have Gustaf III's national clothes and there are in black silk- the mourning version is in black flanell.

    1. Yeah, I suspect that shiny black is fashiona nd matte black is mourning... at least that is my current thought anyway.