Tuesday, January 16, 2024

The Strawberry Sacque (La Fraise Robe a la Francaise) ~Final Facts

 My Strawberry Sacque was absolutely my biggest, bestest, most impressive, make of last year (even if I did have to take a few short cuts to get it done in time. . .), and I knew it would be back at the beginning of the year when I was planning my to-do list for 2023.

(Yes, I always have some sort of list of sewing goals for the year. No, I don’t share them. Yes, they’re always over ambitious. No, I never complete everything on them.) Thus, when the Historical Sew Monthly challenge list came out last January I eagerly searched it to figure out which challenge my Strawberry gown would best fit. 

Challenge #8 “All Tied Up” - Make something that closes with ties, or uses knots/bows as a decorative feature.

After reading through the list, this seemed like the best category to put my gown in. Part of the fit of the Robe a la Francaise is controlled by ties or lacing in the back of the lining, so that would make it qualify for the challenge, right? Add in the fact that the petticoat fastens with ties and the gown is decorated with three bows (one on the stomacher and one on each sleeve), and this ensemble definitely seemed to fit the challenge. 

So, now that I’ve shared all the details about making the gown, petticoat, and trim, across 6 other blog posts (I’ll link all those blog posts at the bottom of this one in case you missed one or just want a re-fresh.), here are the HSM facts if you just want a summary of the process: 

What the item is: Strawberry Sacque, if you prefer English, or La Fraise Robe a la Francaise, if you prefer French.

The Challenge: All Tied Up - the lining of the gown is tied up with lacing to make the fit adjustable, the petticoat fastens with ties, and the gown is decorated with 3 bows.

Material: Silk taffeta trimmed in silk organza, with a linen lining. Silk dupioni for the bows and strawberries.

Pattern: Simplicity 8578 with some alterations to make it more historically accurate and the sleeve pattern piece from the Larkin and Smith English Gown pattern.

Year: circa 1780

Notions: thread, covered button kit, loop trim, twill tape, and zip ties for boning.

How historically accurate is it? With the alterations I made the pattern is fairly accurate when the shapes are compared to the Sacque patterns of this era in Patterns of Fashion 1, The Cut of Women’s Clothes, and Costume Close-up. The fabric choice is also accurate, as are most of my construction methods. The gown is entirely hand sewn, but I ran out of time and had to machine sew the petticoat. My trim choices are inspired by the era but I can’t claim they’re 100% accurate. I’m not aware of gowns trimmed in colored sheer silk, only white sheer, the loop trim is only vaguely inspired by real fly trim (plus it’s polyester. . .) and the strawberries are pure fantasy (though if anyone can prove me otherwise on that last one please do!). Also, I used zip ties for boning in place of whale bone and a modern covered button kit (with E6000 to hold it together) in place of wooden or bone button forms. 

Let’s give this dress 75% for accuracy.

Hours to complete: I wish I knew! So many! I began the dress two months in advance, and sewed up until the very last minute.

First worn: October 21, 2023 for Fetes Historiques St. Louis

Total cost: $122 for the taffeta, $46 for the organza. The linen for the lining was left over from other projects, as was the pink dupioni for the bows and strawberries, and the red silk for the other strawberries was free, harvested from a top. Silk thread is about $2.50 a spool and I used atleast one full spool. The loop trim was $1.50 per roll, and I got 9 rolls. All other materials and notions were deep stash, left over from other projects or gifted to me at some point in the past. This brings the total to at least $184 for the whole thing - definitely one of my more expensive projects!

If you missed any part of the story of this dress, here's the whole series:

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for posting about this dress. It's gorgeous, and I understand the sheer amount of work that went into it!!