Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Green Silk Sacque

So I had the chance to go through some pictures of my old projects. I've decided to post some of them here and give a little tutorial of each. Some of these will go back a couple of years, but what the heck. The first project I want to share is my green silk saquce. 

My silk sacque was begun in one of my first Hive workshop. When I made the decision to make this gown I thought I would be in way over my head. Although it was challenging, I was happily proven wrong. The workshop guidelines stated that 18th century sewing techniques would be used and that the attendees would be encouraged to sew the entire gown by hand. Yikes! Nothing to fear though. The instructors were very helpful and a lot of fun to work with. 
After an introduction on 18th century gowns and sewing techniques, we set to work fitting a mock up for the bodice. After that we cut out the lining for the bodice and the large panels that would make up the gown back. If I remember correctly, my fabric was around 58” wide. The panels were carefully pleated and attached to the lining back. The tricky part was creating the hidden pleats under the main box pleats. The fabric is tacked in place from the neck edge down a few inches to hold the pleats in place while the rest of the fabric is allowed to hang free. To give the bodice a fitted look, a row of stitching is carefully hidden under the pleats just shy of the center back.  

The bodice fronts were draped using pieces of silk roughly 30” x 20”. I can’t remember now if the robings were made separate or not. My gown was designed to be worn over a small set of pocket hoops. So the measurements for the gown skirts were taken from the waist over the hoops and down to the floor. The gown skirts are faced with a light pink silk. My gown has a slight train so the facing is roughly 4” wide at the front and tapers to about 10” or 12” inches at the back. 

The petticoat is made from two panels of silk pleated to fit a separate waistband made of linen/cotton tape. There is a box pleat at the center front and ties in the back. This was a personal choice; I normally make my petticoats so they can be tied front and back. 

The silk for this gown came from Decorative International Silk, Inc. At the time their taffeta was $12 something a yard, now it’s closer to $20. It can be very difficult to find good silk for less than that now. When the silk arrived in the mail it was no where near the color it appeared online! (The color online looked more like the image of the petticoat but in person the silk is more blue/green.) As the workshop was only days away and I couldn’t return the fabric I went ahead and used it. I actually really like the color now but wasn’t so sure at the time. Lesson learned – always ask for samples!  

Below are a few more pictures of the finished gown. I had a chance to wear during one of my trips to Colonial Williamsburg. My boyfriend and I went to a concert at the Governor's Palace. Wearing the gown and seeing it in candle light was a real treat. :) I hope to have different pair of shoes to wear with it in the 

Candle light concert at the Governor's Palace


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