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The Ramblings of a Seamstress, Gardener, Chicken Keeper, and Housewife

Proof of My Adventures (and Misadventures!)

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Francaise Dinner Planning - Outfit Edition

I've been mulling over fabric options for my robe a la francaise for a few days, and since I'm having trouble making a decision I'm seeking your opinions.  I've got a decent amount of silk in my stash, but only a few with enough yardage to make into a francaise.  Here they are:

Gorgeous but almost certainly not historically plausible purple/black changeable silk.  My pics don't really do the color justice...it's pretty amazing in person.  Bonus points since I already have a plain petticoat made from this fabric, and so I'd just need to trim it and make the francaise itself from my yardage.  My jewelry would really pop on this since it's such a rich, deep color.

Interesting pink/green changeable silk.  This one's historically plausible, even if changeable silk was relatively rare in the 18th century.  It isn't completely unheard of, and the two colors on their own are seen fairly often in portraits and extant clothing of the time.  It'd be nice to find a use for this silk...its odd color has kept it on my shelf unused for several years now.

Lavender/light blue changeable silk francaise with pink silk petticoat.  This is my least favorite of the options, but that's only because I've envisioned a matching francaise and petticoat.  Kinda silly, but true.

Some musings on other elements needed for this outfit:

  • Stays: I think what I have will work, but they're aging and will need to be replaced soonish.

  • Panniers: I have one pair that's probably larger than I'd like for this event.  Plus they're not collabsible, which makes packing a hassle.  I've got a smaller set cut out, so I'll sew them up and cross my fingers they work for me.

  • Stockings: White silk clocked, or red silk clocked from American Duchess.  Red with the deep purple silk, white with the other options.

  • Garters: I need to get working on these.  atherleisure gave me a wonderful pattern.  It'll be a good project for slow evenings at work.

  • Shoes: I've got two pairs of American Duchess shoes, one black and one white.  I could dye the white pair if I feel adventurous.

  • Shift: Yep, I have a cotton one that'll work.  Although I keep saying I'll remake my linen one and not doing it.

  • Jewelry: I'm scouring eBay and etsy for good rhinestone/paste-look stuff.  I'll also look at making some strung pearls myself.  So, still sorting out my options on this one.

  • Chatelaine/equipage: I'm going for it!  I've been collecting bits and bobs to make this work for over a year, and I recently found evidence via portraits that they were, in fact, worn with francaise dresses!  Check out my Pinterest board if you're interested.

  • Wig/Hair: It's on this list, but I'm not sure exactly what I want yet.  I'll be consulting Kendra's book this week!

  • Outerwear: This wasn't even on my radar until m_of_disguise mentioned how cold it was last year.  I've got a couple short cloaks, but something a little fancier would be nice.

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Go with what you love - the purple/black option. It's better to be pretty and happy rather than be accurate and not happy. We aren't super strict as a group anyway.

Have you considered a jacket and petticoat as an option as well? That might free up more fabric for you to consider.

As for the pink/green - ya know, if you don't want it...;-)

Thanks for the input - I'm glad to hear that no one there is super strict. I'll still be bringing my a-game, but just in a non-HA color! :) I hadn't even considered a jacket for this time, but I'll keep it in mind for the future. I've actually got a pet-en-l'air in my closet, the very first 18th century garment I ever made. Yay options!

If I ever decide to part with the green/pink silk, I'll give you first dibs. ;)

Absolutely go with what is easiest! These gowns are so time consuming-- if you already have a purple petticoat, go for that option! (Plus, the purple is dynamite and will look spectacular on you!)

Thank you! I think I'll do that.

I vote for the purple! Especially with the petticoat already made. ^^

Thanks! It really will cut down on my construction time.

How accurate do you want? I vote pink/green - that vivid colour is pretty rare, I think.

I agree - very rare, if it even existed at all back then. I think I'll just go with what makes me happy this time around and worry less about being strictly historically accurate in color. That pink/green will be there for future use. :)

I vote for the first option. It'll be beautiful on you!

Thank you! That seems to be the popular opinion, and really it's the smart move with the petticoat already made. :)

I think that deep purple is gorgeous! It will be so striking! And a chatelaine sounds so cool!

Thanks! I'm really stoked to get that chatelaine put together. Accessories are such fun projects!

For sure! Sometimes having too many options gets me all hung up. LOL

Go with what you find the most inspiring! The dinner is all about feeling fabulous, wearing a voluminous amount of fabric and hair, and spending time with friends.

Excellent! Sounds like my kind of party!

Whatever you pick will be great, we just look forward to seeing you there, woohoo!!

I'm really looking forward to meeting you all!

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