18th Century Gown En Fourreau Back Tutorial

Getting a nice looking en fourreau back is one of the most noticeable struggles when sewing an 18th century gown.  Like it or not, you will be judged on the back!  For most of the 18th century, the robe a l’anglaise, English gown, or English nightgown was cut with a one piece back.  The back is then pleated onto the lining, usually in 4 pleats that taper in towards the waistline.  These pleats must be hand tacked to the lining before the sides of the gown are sewn.

I recently made up two test dresses to fit two different patterns that are on the market right now.  The first is Larkin & Smith English Gown:

 

Larkin and Smith English Gown Pattern
Larkin and Smith English Gown Pattern

I have to say this pattern has THE BEST instructions I have ever seen in a pattern, historical or otherwise.  It is like getting a workshop in a pattern!

The other pattern is Reconstructing History’s Open Robe Anglais pattern:

RH822 – OPEN ROBE ANGLAIS WITH POLONAISE OPTION
RH822 – OPEN ROBE ANGLAIS WITH POLONAISE OPTION

This pattern has some unique features that are not available in other 18th century costume patterns, such as the robings and bottom center fronts that nearly meet.  This is PERFECT for early 18th century – 1740’s (think Outlander) and I don’t think there is any other pattern out there that has these features.  The sleeves are also very wide, suitable for early 18th century.  If you want to make a gown for 1750’s or 1760’s (or later) use a sleeve from a different pattern – I used JP Ryan’s English Nightgown as I already have that pattern fit to myself.  Interestingly, the pleating template for this gown’s back is more suitable for 1770’s-1780’s and I will explain why in a moment, just stick with me here.  It is hard to make one pattern to cover every little style change over the course of 80 years, so you have to know the style changes and know what time period you want to recreate, and mix and match patterns accordingly.

The pleating pattern from Larkin & Smith is spot on for mid 18th century.

Why?

My research in online images from museum costume collections (The Met Museum and Victoria & Albert primarily) and the opinions of many other experienced 18th century seamstresses is this: the width of the pleats for both the robe a l’anglaise / English Gown and robe a la francaise (Sacque Gown) became more narrow as the century progressed.  This includes both the pleats in the back – en fourreau back and watteau pleats – and the pleats in the skirts.  That said, the size of the skirt pleats is wider depending on how heavy the fabric is.  Wool or heavy brocade is around an inch while chintz gowns are more like 3/4 inch and then thin silk taffeta gowns of the later 18th century can be as small as 1/4 inch.  However, the fabrics also tended to get lighter as the century wore on, although much older fabric was also remade to update the look.  So this trend isn’t 100% – it is just a guideline.  Here are some illustrations:

Saques were pretty much out of style by the 1780's but were still worn for court functions.
Sacques were pretty much out of style by the 1780’s but were still worn for court functions well into the early 1800’s.

And here is a comparison for the English Gowns:

English gowns were in style for nearly the entire 18th century, with pleats and fabric weight getting lighter as the century wore on.
English gowns were in style for nearly the entire 18th century, with pleats and fabric weight getting lighter as the century wore on.

By the 1780’s some gowns were being made with separate gowns and skirts, often with a deep V in the center back.  It is not easy to tell from a full length photo if the gown has very tiny pleats that face the CB, as the yellow example above has, or if the skirt and gown are separate pieces entirely:

Same yellow gown on the left compared to a gown with a separate bodice and skirt. Hard to tell!
Same yellow gown on the left compared to a gown with a separate bodice and skirt. Hard to tell!
But close up, they are not the same!
But close up, they are not the same!  You can see the seam coming down the center back of the purple stripe gown with no pleats.

Having done the research, on to the sewing!

The Red Dress was inspired by this:

Original red print gown from Victoria & Albert.
Original red print gown from Victoria & Albert.

I just lucked into some dark red print cotton while shopping on Etsy one day, and decided to make this.  The original is a wool/silk blend, but my dress is cotton.  I used the Reconstructing History pattern for this because it has both the narrow center front and the one piece front – the shoulder strap is cut out with the front, and it only has one seam where it joins the back.  There is less margin for fitting this way but I found it was pretty easy to fit just tweeking the back seams.  I did not have enough fabric to make a petticoat, so the petticoat and stomacher are made from cream colored cotton matelasse.

For the second dress I used a dark purple fabric with a small woven stripe in it – it is a cotton / linen blend.  In 18th century terms this fabric was known as fustian.  I did have enough fabric for a petticoat front (the back being made from a similar colored linen) but I wore it first with a stomacher and petticoat made from linen embroidered with a pattern that imitates tambour embroidery.

The Larkin & Smith pattern instructions tell you to use pins to mark the pleats, and then remove the template without moving the pins, but I have used tailor’s chalk for marking these pleats for years without any problems.  Just to be on the safe side, I put the line just slightly on the underside of the pleat, and overlap the second line enough to hide the chalk, if there is any left by the time I am done handling it.  Use whichever method works best for you.

So the first thing I did was sew the center back seams per the pattern instructions, and then lay the pleating template from each on top, and marked the pleats.  Then using my fingers, I finger press the fold line for each pleat.

Pinch, pinch those pleats in!
Pinch, pinch those pleats in!
Here is one pleat pinned, one pinched.
Here is one pleat pinned, one pinched.
Pin those bad boys down, just over the chalk lines!
Pin those bad boys down, just over the chalk lines!
Both purple and red gowns with all four pleats pinned down. The pleats on the red dress are VERY close together - only about 1/8 inch apart. This is a more narrow pleating style from the third quarter of the 18th century.
Both purple and red gowns with all four pleats pinned down. The pleats on the red dress are VERY close together – only about 1/8 inch apart. This is a more narrow pleating style from the third quarter of the 18th century.

Once the pleats are all pinned in, it is time to fit to the back lining.  You want to sew the back lining together at the center back, but not at the side seams or the shoulder strap.  Line them up with the center backs together.  It helps to stick a pin up inside the seams to match them perfectly, then pin in place.

Pinning with center back seams aligned.
Pinning with center back seams aligned.

Once they are pinned the next step is to “stitch in the ditch”, meaning sew the back and lining together through the center back seams.  Sewing it this way will make the seam invisible.  Do this before beginning to stitch the pleats down, or you risk having the lining shift on you.

Stitch in ditch is invisible on the front - use thread that matches your fabric.
Stitch in ditch is invisible on the front – use thread that matches your fabric.
Dark thread will show on the lining side.
Dark thread will show on the lining side.

Now we are ready for the real fun, sewing the pleats down!  First smooth the lining down and pin it through both layers in a few places to prevent shifting.  You can use a running stitch to secure the pleats, but I prefer to use a narrow prick stitch.  I find it is nearly invisible if done carefully enough.  If you are really accurate and not as worried about authenticity, you can machine top stitch the pleats down 1/16 of an inch from the edge.  But I don’t recommend it.  Stop stitching just below the waistline.  This is indicated on the pattern(s).

To do the prick stitch, come up through from the back so you are just barely catching the edge of the pleat, and then go down just over the edge of the pleat:

Swing pleats with prick stitch.
Swing pleats with prick stitch.

Move down 1/8 of an inch, rinse, lather, and repeat.  I do not tie off between each stitch.  When the pleats are sewn down, they look like this on the inside:

Since the red dress pleats were only 1/8 apart, I sewed both pleats at the same time. This clearly shows how much wider the purple pleats are.
Since the red dress pleats were only 1/8 apart, I sewed both pleats at the same time. This clearly shows how much wider the purple pleats are.

Next, trim the fabric along the top and sides so the match the lining.  Cut a slightly upward sloping line for top of the skirt panel.  Bigger side hoops or pads = more drastic upward slope.  The length of the sides of your two skirt panels should match the length of the side back skirt panels.  Your pocket slits will be in these seams.

Inside of gowns with pleats done.
Inside of gowns with pleats done.
Outside of gowns with pleats done.
Outside of gowns with pleats done.

Note: Only cut about 1/2 inch in along the bottom of each side of the lining.  This will allow you to sew the side seams.  Once the side seams are sewn, sew the skirt fronts to the skirt backs and put in the pocket slits.  At that point, it is safe to trim the rest of the bottom lining, to just slightly under the back pleat on each side.  Now you are ready to pleat the skirt and attach to the bodice!

Note 2: If I had this to do over, I would make the back of the red lining shorter below the waistline.  This deep V would look great with a separate skirt and bodice, but the extreme slope of the back skirt top edge that resulted from this made it REALLY difficult to pleat nicely to the bodice.  Note for next time!

I will try to get better photos of the completed dresses next time, but here are two photos of the completed gowns:

Purple Fustian Gown at Ft Ligonier Days with my good friend Sally (in a silk sacque jacket).
Purple Fustian Gown at Ft Ligonier Days with my good friend Sally (in a silk sacque jacket).
Red Print 1760's Gown
Red Print 1760’s Gown

Psychedelic 1830’s Dress Completion and Debut

The fabric has arrived!  Time to begin cutting …

To get the period look with the fabric pattern cut on the diagonal for the fronts and backs, here is a picture of my favorite way to match patterns.  Cut out the first piece, then lay it upside down and match the pattern.  Then cut around it to get 2 pieces that are mirror images of each other:

Matching pattern on the diagonal
Matching pattern on the diagonal

Here is the front sewn together with the matching diagonal pattern:

Bodice Front
Bodice Front

The pattern piece for the fashion fabric front and back included extra for a gathered “bertha” type look – this fabric was too heavy for that design, and I did not feel like figuring out a pleating pattern.  So I cut the bodice the same as the lining.  To give it some character I finished the neckline with double piping (which is made the same way as single piping – just sew a second row of piping after the first.

Here is a great trick with piping – use a 1/2 inch metal stay as a guide to cut the piping strip so that it has exactly 1/2 seam allowance, making it easier to apply.  You do need a rotary cutter to do this:

Using a 1/2 inch metal stay to cut piping seam allowance.
Using a 1/2 inch metal stay to cut piping seam allowance.

Despite buying special piping feet for my machine, I still find it easier to apply piping with a zipper foot:

Sewing piping to waist with a zipper foot - the 1/2 seam allowance makes it easy to line up.
Sewing piping to waist with a zipper foot – the 1/2 seam allowance makes it easy to line up.

I cut interlining for the sleeves out of black cotton organdy, which is thin but stiff and should help the sleeves to poof nicely.

Black cotton organdy sleeve interlining.
Black cotton organdy is stiff, thin, and not scratchy when worn.

When I tried on the bodice I found one alteration – the sides of the neckline were sticking up a bit, so I took in the shoulder seams 1/2 inch on the outside edge.  The other issue I ran into was the sleeves, which I fully admit was my fault!  I did not measure the circumference of the narrow part of the sleeve to make sure it would fit my tree trunk arms.  When I tried it on I could not get them to close.  But it was close, so I will explain how I unfucked the sleeves.

There was length to spare, so I trimmed 1 1/2 inches off the bottom of each sleeve eliminating 1 1/2 inches of not-fitting sleeve.

I reduce the seam allowances to 1/4 inch for the lower part of the sleeve, gradually easing back to the normal 1/2 inch where the full part of the sleeve is.  This added 1/2 inch to the circumference and it just barely fit.

So to prevent gap-osis, I added a placket.  The top side of the sleeve opening is finished with the piping in the sleeve seam:

Piping on sleeve opening.
Piping on sleeve opening.

The under side of the opening would normally be turned under and hemmed.  But there was only 1/4 inch seam allowance there now.  So I cut a piece of fabric the length of the sleeve opening by about 2 inches, folded it in half, and sewed it to the right side of the other sleeve opening, using 1/4 inch seam allowance:

Adding sleeve placket
Adding sleeve placket

The placket is then pressed flat outwards, so that the piping side of the sleeve opening covers it:

Sleeve with placket.
Sleeve with placket.

When closed, you cannot see the placket but it is there, anchoring things and preventing gaps:

Sleeve with opening closed.
Sleeve with opening closed.

Then I finished the bottoms of the sleeves with piping.  1830’s is all about piping.  I piped the sleeve seams, the waistline, the neckline, and the armscye seams.  The bodice closes with hooks and eyes in the back.

The skirt was easy – just cut 2 panels long enough for the hem plus 1/2 seam allowance at the top.    The pattern also had a cutting guide for the top of the front skirt panel, to scoop it out and make the skirt slightly shorter in front.  I find skirts always look better that way, so I took advantage of the template.  I pleated the waist (using Clinton Pleat Maker) and sewed the skirt directly to the bodice, with piping in the seam, per the pattern instructions.

Here are some photos of the finished dress at our event, Christmas At the Village (Old Economy Village) on Dec 12, 2015.  I wore the lace pelerine with it and a large black velvet Romantic era bonnet that I made last year.  The weather was beautiful – it was almost too hot outside for the muff!  Thank you to Janet for the photos!

OEV Christmas At the Village, Pittsburgh Historical Costume Society Outing in the Grainery
OEV Christmas At the Village, Pittsburgh Historical Costume Society Outing in the Grainery
OEV Christmas At the Village, Pittsburgh Historical Costume Society Outing outside of Kitchen
OEV Christmas At the Village, Pittsburgh Historical Costume Society Outing outside of Kitchen

 

Last Minute 1830’s Dress in Psychedelic Cotton Print – Planning and Mock Up

Fabric has arrived!  Now I can take a larger photo of it, to give a better idea of what it really looks like.  This is oriented vertically to show what the pattern will look like once made up into the skirt:

Reproduction 1830's Cotton Print, "Merchant's Wife" line by Terry Thompson for RJR Fabrics
Reproduction 1830’s Cotton Print, “Merchant’s Wife” line by Terry Thompson for RJR Fabrics

Last night I began the struggle of deciding the details.  Really the first part boils down to two decisions:

Decision #1: Which pattern to use.  I have two patterns:

Truly Victorian (TV455) 1830's Romantic Era Dress
Truly Victorian (TV455) 1830’s Romantic Era Dress
Period Impressions (440) 1830's Day Dress and Pelerine
Period Impressions (440) 1830’s Day Dress and Pelerine

The Period Impressions pattern is more of the look I am going for, but the Truly Victorian patterns are much more professionally drafted and take less time to fit.  I did a quick and dirty mockup of the Period Impressions pattern and the fit was quite off – the arm holes were waaaay too big and the neckline bunched up when the back was pinned closed.  It would take time and possibly 2 additional mockups to fit it, so I decided to use the Truly Victorian pattern and alter it to look more like the Period Impressions.  I will also make the pelerine from the Period Impressions pattern, but at a later date since I am pressed for time.  For the first wearing I plan to wear a lace pelerine.

The primary issue with the Truly Victorian pattern is the waistline.  The pattern has two possible waistlines – either at the natural waist or a pointed V.  My understanding has always been that 1830’s dresses were slightly above the natural waistline.  After looking at a lot of originals on Pinterest I came to the conclusion that the higher waistline is the early part of the decade – like 1830 – 1832, and after that the waistlines dropped to the natural waist as drafted in the pattern.  Since my other two 1830’s dresses have high waistlines I think I will do this one with a more natural waistline.  I want to wear a solid color dark belt with it to visually demarcate the place where the waist ends and the sleeves begin.  I debated whether or not I should add a waistband, but the end decided to just leave it as a straight piped waistline.  I shortened the waist 1/2 inch, and added 1/2 to the neckline in the back and on the sides (the front was fine).  That is all I am changing on the pattern.

Decision #2 – Which Corset to Fit Over

If it were not for the fact that we are going English Country Dancing that night, it would be an easy decision.  I would fit over a regular Victorian corset since I don’t actually have a waist.  A waist is a terrible thing to waste, and I don’t have one without a good fitting corset.  On the other hand, my regency corset made recently in Jennifer Rosbrugh’s Regency Corset class is correct for this era and it is so comfortable – it feels like pajamas!  But the trade off is it does not provide any waist reduction.  This is not an issue wearing Regency and other high waisted styles.  I just hesitate to plan this dress in a way that I know I will be unhappy with in the end.  So right now I am thinking of a compromise – fit with the Victorian corset laced more loosely than I normally wear it.

When I fitted the mockup I made an odd discovery!  On Friday I went to a Civil War event and wore this same corset, a new one I made recently covered in pink silk (I love this corset BTW, and will feature it in an upcoming “battle of the corsets).  Since I was expecting some fitting issues with my dress I laced it down as tightly as I dared in a relatively new corset, and still felt like a stuffed sausage in the dress.  I barely got it hooked.  My waist measured 35”.  Fast forward to Sunday, when I put the corset on again and laced it so that it felt stable but not tight.  I measured the waist – 34″!  The only explanation I can think of is water retention.  Maybe I will try taking a mild diuretic the morning before the next event.

On another tangent – as I looked at these gowns I was struck by the similarity in shape to the 1630’s.  There are many periods of history where the basic silhouette is the same as another era (Regency/Edwardian, 1780s bustle / 1880s bustle) but I didn’t register this one until I was deep in the design phase of this project:

1830 vs 1630
1830 vs 1630
Left Image:  Dress 1832, American, made of cotton at Met Museum.
Right Image: Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677) Ornatus Muliebris Anglicanus; Print made by 1640. British Library.

Last Minute 1830’s Dress in Psychedelic Cotton Print

We are planning an 1830’s Christmas event on Dec 12 for our costume group at Old Economy Village.  Afterwards we are going English Country Dancing!  Several ladies are making new dresses for this, and all the talk about fabrics has sucked me in.  I have two 1830’s dresses and both are over 17 years old.  I think it is time for a new one.

I started by looking over my Pinterest board for 1830’s.  Also I saved a link from Samantha’s blog (Couture Courtesan) with a dress I really like from this period.  It is more late 1820’s, but the basic design idea still applies:

Beautiful reproduction 1820s Dress by Couture Courtesan
Beautiful reproduction 1820s Dress by Couture Courtesan

What I like about this dress – the striped fabric, the bodice cut on the diagonal, and the trim around the bottom of the skirt.  I really like the striped gowns – here are some originals:

Circa 1836 cotton dress, England. Via National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne.
Circa 1836 cotton dress, England. Via National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne.
Dress 1832, American, made of cotton at Met Museum
Dress 1832, American, made of cotton at Met Museum

So what fabric to buy?  Nothing modest or matronly will do, I want to be as loud as the wallpaper in the Rapp House …

Rapp House wallpaper from Adelphi - YES you can have this in your living room too!!!
Rapp House wallpaper from Adelphi – YES you can have this in your living room too!!!

These prints are so ugly they’re beautiful!  While looking for some fabric ideas for a friend, I blew 45 minutes on Sunday looking at Reproduction Fabrics and I found it: the loudest 1830’s print I think I have ever seen:

Reproduction 1830's Cotton Print, "Merchant's Wife" line by Terry Thompson for RJR Fabrics
Reproduction 1830’s Cotton Print, “Merchant’s Wife” line by Terry Thompson for RJR Fabrics

I can make up this dress fast as a print that busy doesn’t really need any trim!  I am thinking of wearing a lace pelerine with it, like this:

Wool dress, England 1836 - 1838 at Victoria and Albert Museum
Wool dress, England 1836 – 1838 at Victoria and Albert Museum

This is the one I have – hopefully it will look good:

My lace pelerine
My lace pelerine

For the pattern, I have this great 1830’s pattern from Truly Victorian that I have not used yet:

TV455

Not sure how that pleated bertha collar will work with this fabric – we will have to wait and see!

Pink Thing Debut and Postmortem

Pink Thing had a debut at Tavern Night at the Depreciation Lands Museum, and I wore it again to Fort Ligonier Days.  Overall I think it turned out great.

Postmortem analysis: add a strip of boning down the inside center front to keep it smoothly fastened and deflate the Georgian bum pad by about 1/3.

Inside the tavern at Tavern Night, Depreciation Lands Museum, Hampton Township, PA
Inside the tavern at Tavern Night, Depreciation Lands Museum, Hampton Township, PA
The back of Pink Thing, in the Tavern at DLM. My curls have fallen out and I think I need to deflate this bum pad just a tad.
The back of Pink Thing, in the Tavern at DLM. My curls have fallen out and I think I need to deflate this bum pad just a tad.
In the garden at Depreciation Lands Museum, Hampton Township PA with my husband Bill in his silver brocade waistcoat.
In the garden at Depreciation Lands Museum, Hampton Township PA with my husband Bill in his silver brocade waistcoat.
Pink Thing, with a better cap, in Bill's teaching room before I left for Fort Ligonier Days.
Pink Thing, with a better cap, in Bill’s teaching room before I left for Fort Ligonier Days.

Pink Round Gown Front

The original I copied for comparison.

18th Century Round Gown: Pink Thing Construction

I looked at the calendar yesterday and realized – to my horror – that the DLM Tavern Night event is THIS WEEKEND.  As in, 2 days from now.  Ahhhhhh!  So last night I pulled a marathon and got Pink Thing sewn together.

The bodice went together quickly since I invested a lot of time in fitting the pattern mockup:

Pink Thing's bodice on the dressform, which is too small for it.
Pink Thing’s bodice on the dress form, which is too small.  It is too small because I am too fat.

Next pleat the skirt.  I had to piece it together somewhat from the larger parts of its previous incarnation’s skirt.  It proved to be an advantage in the front, as it conveniently left me two seams to use to make the drop front.  The drop front allows you to put the gown on.  The ties on the drop front are wrapped around back and tied in front, holding the apron front up.  Then the bodice is fasted closed which hides the apron front:

Put On 1 Put On

The ties are tucked under the waistband, but I left them out in the photo to show how the whole thing works.  The image on top shows how the apron front is attached to the rest of the skirt.

Fastened Closed
Fastened closed with ties tucked inside waistband

At this point I have to stop and thank one of my favorite vintage sewing tools, the Clinton Pleat Maker:

The Clinton Pleat Maker
The Clinton Pleat Maker

This awesome tool allows you to make lots of even pleats quickly – just stick it in the fabric, turn, and viola!  Pleat!  The legs are adjustable to allow you to set the pleat depth, and there is a measuring gauge so you can keep the space between the pleats consistent.  They are usually available on Ebay.  They have been out of production for a long time so look under vintage sewing tools.  Every time someone blogs about them there is a run on the bank, so to speak, so be patient.

The pleat maker in action
The pleat maker in action

Given that the event is days away, I don’t have time to make a new fichu and sleeve ruffles.  So I will wear a cotton net fichu I already have.  For the sleeves I turned to my stash of cheap-ass but decent looking lace.  I have not had good experiences using antique lace and fine fabrics for decorative elements than hang from sleeves.  It gets caught on things and dragged through the guacamole in the buffet line.  Some jobs are just better suited for cheap lace.

So here it is, ready to go – as much as it is going to be:

Ready for Saturday
Ready for Saturday

Too Small Dummy is wearing correct underpinnings to help the skirt stand out – a Georgian bum, a corded petticoat, and a silk over petticoat.  In the 18th century there was a large market for fake rumps!

The Georgian Bum Shop
The Georgian Bum Shop

 

I like big butts and I cannot lie!
I like big butts and I cannot lie!

I used this example as a model to copy, from Two Nerdy History Girls:

Reproduction of late 18th century bum pads.
Reproduction of late 18th century bum pads.

Stay tuned for the event report, complete with root cause analysis of any wardrobe malfunctions!

Late 18th Century Round Gown: Pink Thing Planning

Since this year’s goal is to shrink the UFO (UnFinished Outfit) pile, I thought I needed to do something with the pink damask.  I bought it on Ebay years ago and began to cut it out into a robe a la francaise.  Problem #1: I was thin back then.  I tried to alter it – not!  It was so small it wouldn’t even fit across the back!  Time to re-cut this into something else.  There is not enough fabric for a robe and petticoat, as I discovered back then.  Why not make a round gown!  Round gowns were made with a continuous skirt with an apron front instead of the robe and petticoat worn throughout most of the 18th century.  On my Pinterest board I’d saved two damask round gowns from various museum collections.  This green one is my favorite, but unfortunately I have not been able to find any silk damask in this color:

Green Round Gown from Met Museum
Green Round Gown from Met Museum

There is also a pink one from Museum at FIT, which is a good choice given I have pink damask piled on the cutting board:

Pink Round Gown Front

Pink Round Gown Back

And here is another one that once belonged to Martha Washington.  It is part of the First Ladies display at the Smithsonian.  I have seen this display in person twice and it is wonderful:

Martha Washington's Pink Damask Gown Circa 1780
Martha Washington’s Pink Damask Gown Circa 1780

The pink FIT is the primary design, although I am not crazy about those white undersleeves.  I prefer Martha Washington’s, so I will use those as a guide for the sleeve trim and fichu.

Once I got cutting I found I had plenty of fabric to recut as a round gown.  I used the JP Ryan robe a l’anglaise pattern.  Fitting it was much harder than I remember, but after a couple nights of swearing and re-cutting I had it fitted, and copied the mockup onto Pattern Ease for future use.

Looking at this fabric again I am glad I am not using it with a design that is earlier in the 18th century, as is the case with the JP Ryan Pet-en-l’air pattern I started back in my skinny days.  This fabric is very neoclassical and much better suited to late 18th century.

Pink Damask fabric with neoclassical motifs
Pink Damask fabric with neoclassical motifs

Since I bought it so long ago and it is was old then, I don’t know the exact fiber content.  I did a burn test on it and there are no synthetics.  I suspect it is a blend of linen and silk, with a small chance of rayon so this will definitely need dress shields (old rayon reacts in very bad ways with sweat).  I can iron it on the highest setting and it is perfectly happy, although it smells a bit dusty when heated.

Pink Thing is now cut out – will try to get it together to wear to Tavern Night at the Depreciation Lands Museum.