Friday, January 5, 2024

The Petticoat for the Strawberry Sacque (La Fraise Robe a la Francaise)

 The trim on the petticoat to go with my Strawberry Sacque was all set to be done just right. I had to take some short cuts on the gown trim due to time constraints, but the petticoat trim was begun well in advance and going according to plan. That plan just fell apart in the end.

As I said, everything began beautifully. The petticoat would feature two organza ruffles on the front to be visible where the gown skirt was open. A wide one at knee level and a narrower one, gathered down the middle, at the hem. I cut these ruffles out the same day I cut out the gown and petticoat. 

I started roll hemming the ruffles weeks in advance between elements of the gown construction.

Then time got away from me as I was frantically finishing my gown. So the day before the ball I gathered the ruffles, added my fake fly trim loop trim stuff, and sewed them onto my front petticoat panel. The bottom ruffle went across the whole width of the front panel, and the top ruffle just went across the "center half" of the front panels, as that's all that was supposed to be seen between the front edges of the gown skirt.

And one hour before I needed to leave for the ball venue, that's still all I had done on the petticoat. A decorated front panel. Completely separate from the back panel. No hems. No pleating. No side seams sewn. no waist ties. In short, my petticoat still needed to be made. 

This picture expresses my feelings on the matter. After hand sewing and hand trimming the entire gown, it was time to resort to the sewing machine.

Let the wailing commence. I pleated the front and back panels and bound the upper edges in twill tape - leaving long tails to function as waist ties.

I sewed up the side seams, and didn't bother hemming the pocket slits - what was the point?

Finally, horror of horrors, I machine sewed the hem. 

I don't recall ever resorting to a machine-sewn hem on one of my historical ensembles before, but with the time crunch I was on here there was really no other option. (It's better than the gown, which didn't really have a hem at all, I just pressed up the seam allowance and called it good for the evening. . . Right??)

Let's focus on the upside - I got the petticoat done, and worn under the gown you couldn't tell it was machine sewn.

Even the machine-sewn front hem was hidden under the petticoat trim.

However, there are definitely a couple issue with this petticoat I plan on fixing before I wear it again - The gown skirt opening sits wider than I'd anticipated so my top ruffle isn't wide enough. the unfinished edges are visible when worn. 

Thankfully I have leftover peach organza and a bit of extra trim so I can fix that issue before I wear the gown again - and while I'm at it I can add strawberries to that ruffle to match my inspiration gown.

Queen Charlotte
Thomas Gainsborough, circa 1781

And while I'm fixing the trim, I might just go back and rip out that machine sewn hem and hand sew it properly as well!

If you've missed any part of the story of the Strawberry Sacque, here's the full series:

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