Floral Anglaise of satin trouble… construction

When I learnt about the 9th challenge in the “HSF” I immediatly knew what I wanted to make. A Robe a l’anglaise – and I even had the perfect fabric.

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A beautiful flowery satin that I bought on sale a couple of months ago, and which just waited to be made in to a pretty gown.

I wilfully ignored that the fabric label said 100 % polyester. This fabric had to be a beautiful dress.

I even had just the right dress pattern for the fabric. From Janet Arnolds “Patterns of Fashion 1”.


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The simple aesthetics of this dress is just lovely, and I felt confident that I was skilled enough to make this one happen.

So I went for it.

I put my corset on my dressform and started to drape. It felt so simple and worked so perfectly that within an hour I had a bodice on the form and a mock up on the way.

Everything fit surprisingly well – this was after all my first real attempt at draping (if you don’t count a few simple school projects). I spread the fabric on the floor and started to cut.  And this was where things started to go bad…

Firstly I realized I din’t have enough fabric for a petticoat, and I really wanted a matching one. I decided to put a hold on cutting the petticoat until the dress was done, and I knew for sure i wouldn’t need any more fabric.

Then the damn satin wouldn’t lie still and started to ripple in every corner leaving shreads of fabric everywhere. I tried to cover the raw edges with overlock, but that ended up shreading of as well. The only solution was to sew quickly. And to handsew all the edges in the skirt.

I somehow managed to put the bodice together for a try on.

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The front looks pretty decent, but the back, the back…

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…is a terrible wrinkly mess!

I had to re-do all the pleatings on the back and very carefully handstitch it down again – this time I interlined the satin with some cotton sheets.

I also had to rise the waistline quite a bit in the sides and back, to get rid of some of the exess wrinkles there. It was somewhere around this time in the process that I started to realise I had to let the Forreau* back go…

*Forreau style back is when you cut the backpiece in one with the skirt, and pleat it so the back is one unbroken line from shoulder to hem.

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