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Matching “LJUSÖGA” 18th Century Dresses at the NorCal Pirate Festival

Recently a group of us noticed that Ikea has some “LJUSÖGA” duvet covers in an pretty floral print with a pattern, scale, and colors appropriate for 18th century cotton dresses.

We each bought a king size set, which included a duvet cover and 2 pillow cases, to make matching dresses with. We estimate there’s about 11 yards of 40 inch fabric, which is an incredible bargain for $30! (The price has now gone up to $40 on the website).

I decided to make an anglaise, and originally planned to start on it after Costume College, but just a few weeks ago we decided to go to the Pirate Festival together, and having nice cotton dresses would be perfect for the weather. (There will be more of us at the next event; some ladies are still working on their dresses).

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Due to the short time frame my dress is not quite finished, but was wearable, with some things I’d like to improve for next time:

  • I did not have time to put a flounce on my petticoat; it’s a bit shorter than I intended (although it shows off my American Duchess stockings and shoes!)
  • The neckline and front of the bodice has ruffled trim instead of box pleats to save time. Now that it’s on I might be too lazy to replace it, but it was originally meant to be temporary.
  • My sleeves are untrimmed. I would like to add some ruffling or pleating and some button detail.
  • My fichu should be pinned down. I just tied it with a ribbon and it kept riding up until it looked more like a bandana than a fichu.
  • I didn’t have time to get a new plain bergere hat to trim, so I reused the small one I wore with my silk francaise.
  • My hair is not done in a historically accurate style; I just curled it, made a bun, and then hid the mess with flowers.
  • And scandalously, I am not wearing stays(!), so there is a little wrinkling in the bodice. I do own stays, but the festival was outdoors in 90 degree heat, so I decided one less layer was preferable.

Since this is still a work in progress I will do a full post with detail photos, construction notes, and cost breakdown another time, but meanwhile here are a few pictures. The dress consists of a bodice with a front closure, trimmed with ruffles, attached to a pleated overskirt. The petticoat is made of matching fabric. I am wearing those over a bum pad and another petticoat, along with two pockets.

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The back of the skirt can be lifted with cords and looped around covered buttons to be worn as a robe à l’Anglaise retroussée. I’m still thinking about adjusting the length of the cords or the distribution of the fabric because this wasn’t quite the look I was aiming for.

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I did have a mishap with the buttons. I couldn’t locate my button-covering kit so the night before the festival I just wrapped some fabric around some domed plastic buttons until I could buy more of the right buttons. After I laundered the skirt the dye from the black plastic buttons actually bled through two layers of fabric and onto other parts of my skirt!IMG_8262

After several rounds of OxiClean, and a final careful swabbing of diluted bleach, I have the stains out and I’ve learned my lesson about mystery buttons from the stash. I will stick to my usual metal buttons, like this redcoat who was wearing lots of shiny buttons.

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17 responses »

  1. How fun, that fabric is so pretty! Neat to see variations next to each other.

    Reply
  2. Those dresses are so pretty – the same fabric, but still unique! I’ll have to go to IKEA and buy the same fabric now, I’m really inspired! 😀
    The event looks really fun – I wish we had groups and events like that in England, but for now it’s just me dressing up on my own, haha.

    Reply
    • Thanks Ellie! You should definitely go to Ikea; this was just one of several pretty patterns they had. I’m sure you have some nice reenactment groups in England but if there are none near you, you can get a group of friends together to do your own. Dress up and go to tea!

      Reply
  3. What a great fabric! I’m so tempted, but I still have the curtains from the old curtain-along (http://www.festiveattyre.com/2012/09/the-curtain-along-is-go.html) sitting in my stash…

    Reply
  4. How horrifying – black button bleed! Glad you were able to rescue it. Lesson learned – better buttons or never wash my costumes, again? Your dress looked great and I liked the length. I was trying to make mine shorter so that shoes would show and almost made mine too long. I am glad that you decided to make yours for pirate festival which then motivated me to do mine. I look forward to more events!

    Reply
    • For a little while there I was afraid I was going to have to cut a new skirt. I have enough fabric, but didn’t want to repeat the work! Yes, I’m glad we all decided to make weather-appropriate dresses! We should go to Ikea in our dresses and pretend we’re trying out the couches.

      Reply
  5. How cool! 🙂 Okay, I’m adding this to my page of links to 18th century IKEA frocks at http://larsdatter.com/18c/ikea.html … 🙂

    Reply
  6. I saw a photo of a dress made of these bedlinen in Historical Sew Monthly-group and rushed to the Ikea too to buy my share of it. So there will be more of this variety.
    I don’t know when I have time to make mine, but hopefully during this summer. Apparently Ikea has had perfect fabrics before too. I have heard of stripey bed linen used for polonaise and other larger floral prints used for anglaises and such. Ikea seems to make a good resource for fabrics for historical costuming 😀

    Reply
  7. Beautiful! And I love the red shoes with it! Did one king size duvet cover give you enough fabric for the entire robe a l’anglaise? Do you mind me asking which pattern you used?
    We used to go to that festival every year until we moved away!

    Reply
    • Thank you! Yes one king duvet is enough. All of the ladies pictured had enough to make their outfits and have some left over for at least a jacket. I used the Period Impressions 1770 Polonaise and Petticoat pattern.

      Reply
  8. Pingback: Costume College: Saturday and Sunday | Fresh Frippery

  9. Pingback: 1770s Robe à l’Anglaise Retroussée Using Ikea’s Ljusöga Fabric | Fresh Frippery

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