This wasn't on my "to sew" list for January. It wasn't even on my "Historical projects I hope to get around to in 2021" list. No, this was on my "to make" list back in 2016. And, when I didn't get around to it then I kind of forgot about, only to be reminded every now and then whenever I'd come across the fabric in my stash. Often this fabric tempted me to use it for another project, but I'd always put it back on the shelf saying "No. You're destined to be a 1790's open robe and a 1790's open robe you will be! Someday. Maybe. Yeah, eventually I'll make that happen."
Thus has been the conversations I've had with this fabric (a lightweight polyester shot taffeta I found at Walmart for $1 a yard fall of 2015) for approximately the past 5 years. (I talked all about my plans for this project here, in February 2016) Yet, I never managed to actually start this project. Then, about a month ago, I was suddenly struck by the desire to do it. To just make this thing. To get it done. So, the very next day, I started it. And, less than two weeks later, it was wearable.
As soon as I saw this open robe in Patterns of Fashion 1, I fell in love with it and knew I just had to make it! Scale up the pattern from the book, alter it to fit me, how hard could it be, really? I could do it!
Then, I googled some stuff and read about other's experiences making this particular open robe. It was apparently hard to fit, and was apparently a style that ought to be draped right onto the body, rather than made from a flat pattern, for best results. This scared me. Size up and alter a flat pattern I could do. Drape something on myself? Uhhhhh. . . .
Looking back, and knowing how I work, I probably would have been just fine sizing up the original pattern, and making the open robe from it. However, I let the fear of "not doing it right" keep me from attempting this project at all. I let others' personal experiences with this garment keep me from having my own. Well, you live and you learn. We all work in slightly different ways, and have different strengths. What doesn't work for one person, may work fine for another. With sewing and costuming there are many, many, many different ways to accomplish the same result. And as long as it looks good, or the way you want, in the end? Who the heck cares how you got there!
You may notice the bodice front over-lap sections did not get cut out of my outer fabric as part of this huge piece. That's because of the way the front shoulder straps are going to be pleated. Instead, those front overlap pieces are cut out of the outer fabric layer separately.