My silk robe a la francaise dress is finished! I don’t have any in progress pictures because I originally made the dress before I had this blog, but recently revamped it for a fashion show. (I added an invisible zipper, Watteau back, ribbon flowers and front bows).
This dress is a combination of 2 inspirations: 18th century French fashion, and Japanese lolita fashion. The dress is too short for the former and a little long for the latter, but my intention was to marry the two into something decadent but wearable.
A side view:
The bodice panel is salvaged from a vintage wedding dress. I love the beading! I added the venise lace, pleated neckline, ribbon roses and bows.
The back of the dress features Watteau pleats in the robe a la francaise style. Historically, these would be sewn into the back of the dress but I made mine detachable so I could iron it. It reminds me of a super-hero cape!
Here’s the back of the neck:
The dress is two parts (an underskirt and an overdress). The underskirt’s hem has wide venise lace, which is also used for the sleeve cuffs on the overdress.
The overskirt is edged with floral venise lace and little ribbon flowers. (It took a very long time to sew everything on by hand). The big silk flowers were salvaged from the vintage wedding dress.
I wore the ensemble at a GBACG fashion show, along with vintage leather gloves with cutouts, and a sculpted clay tiara (that I had worn for my wedding).
All the fabric for this dress was taken from a vintage silk wedding dress I found in a thrift shop. The middle panel with the beading was taken intact but all pieces of fabric in my dress were recut by me. Here’s a picture of it before I took it apart.
It was an early 90s dress with a V back, puffed sleeves and a long waist.
Look at all that fabric in the train!
I also used the lining from the dress to line my dress. I already had the venise lace and roses, so this project was very economical compared to buying many yards of new silk. This fabric was also very nice to work with. It is very crisp, ironed well and holds its shape. I would like to work with more silk taffeta in the future if I can find another cheap source of it!