Marie Louise Gown | Progress Report

I have some progress to report on the 1841 Marie Louise gown. It's only a little so far, but it's progress none the less.

I started working on the bodice and got pretty far with it last week. I got it all stitched together, boned, and put the lining in.

Before boning...

And after boning. It makes a huge different  in how the bodice lays.
I started working on the bertha, and it came together easily and just needs to be attached to the dress now, as it's only pinned in the above picture.

The sleeves are about half done. I really like the way they look so far, but I need to add lace and finish the bottom edge of them still.

The bodice looks like it's closer to done than it really is because I only have the bertha pinned and I still need to finish the center back closure. I've been procrastinating because both of those mean a lot of hand sewing.

But I'm really happy with how it's looking so far and I'm hoping to have it done before the Christmas season is over so I can get some festive photos.

1841 Dress Inspiration | The Marie-Louise Gown

Since making my first 1840's dress over a year ago, I have been dying to make another. I'm naturally more drawn to the simpler, "every day" wear, if you will, and I'm stepping outside my comfort zone by working on something more elegant.

I came across this beautiful portrait of Queen Marie-Louise of Belgium from 1841, and I fell in love. Not only does it capture the very essence of 1840's fashion with just a hint of the 1830's in the hair, it's also red and I recently got it into my head that I want to make a red dress (for no reason in particular).

Today I'm sharing my inspiration and the beginning of my research for the gown.

Painting of Queen Marie-Louise of Belgium c. 1841


The painting itself was painted by Franz Xaver Winterhalter in 1841. Winterhalter was a well known artist of the 19th century, and painted portraits for royalty all over the world. Perhaps his most famous portrait is of Empress Sisi of Austria.

It looks to me as if the dress is made of velvet, however I've decided to make it from a faux silk I got a good deal on from Bankok Thai Silks. I would use 100% silk fabric, but unfortunately my budget isn't quite there at the moment.

The dress has the typical shape of the period with a full pleated skirt, pointed bodice, and pleated bertha with puffed sleeves. It's accessorized with a lace tucker, jewelery, and a lace shawl and headpiece.

Painting of Queen Marie-Louise of Belgium c. 1841
I'm planning on doing more of an interpretation of the gown rather than an exact replica, so I may play around with the accessories and hair a little.

As for patterns, I'm drafting everything myself using patterns from Patterns of Fashion I and Period Costume for the Stage and Screen as references. I've found a couple of patterns in each that I think will work perfectly.

I'll be posting more about this dress soon.

Costume Spotlight | 1898 Jacques Doucet Ballgown

This week's Costume Spotlight is an original 1898 ballgown by Jacques Doucet. Doucet was a French fashion designer in the 19th century and early 20th century. His designs were known for making elegant gowns using translucent fabrics and pastel colors.

This particular dress is from 1898-1902 and is made of silk, metal, and linen. The cut of the dress is typical of the era, with a narrow waist, small bustle, and flared skirt with a slight train in the back.

via Met Museum

via Met Museum

via Met Museum
From the Met Museum, "the material used is of the finest quality, extremely delicate and dramatically embroidered. The cut of the bodice is quite seductive, enhancing the silhouette.

What do you think?

Rate between 1-10 in the comments and let me know your thoughts.
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