This simple white dress was made popular by Marie Antoinette, the Queen of France, in the 1780s. Shortly after the birth of her first child in 1778, Marie Antoinette retreated to Trianon, a private residence given to her by her husband, where she could raise her children in privacy. At Trianon, there was no ceremony or etiquette, only the quiet company of friends. Everything was to be simpler, including her wardrobe. Her dress designer Rose Bertin, inspired by the muslin dresses worn by the women in the French West Indies, created a loose flowing gown tied at the waist with a large colorful ribbon. The new dress played into Marie's romanticism of the simple life that she longed for and she quickly cast off her her opulent court outfits in favor of the new style. One would think that this simpler dress, representing a more democratic spirit and costing much less than the queen’s previous court wear, would have been celebrated by the people. However, when Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun painted her in it, the portrait launched a scandal. The dress looked too much like a chemise and the people thought their queen had been painted in her underwear!
Despite the public reaction to the queen, the Chemise a la Reine as it had become known, was quickly adopted by the fashionable ladies of France and England and soon became quite popular among women of all social classes.
This PDF pattern by Thimbles and Acorns features a dress which ties in the front with drawstrings at the neckline and waistline. Ribbon ties on the sleeves add interest by creating a second puff at the upper arm. It can be made with or without the neck ruffle. The simplicity of this dress is made elegant with the addition of a colorful ribbon bows at the waistline and upper arms. The dress is open in front and a colorful petticoat adds to the elegance. Topped with the soft crown straw Bergère Hat, the ensemble completes the picture of ethereal beauty.
Recommended Fabrics: Suggested Fabrics: Gown in lightweight or semi-sheer cotton muslin, linen, or silk. Not suitable for knits. Petticoat in lightweight cotton, muslin, linen, or silk. Not suitable for knits. Hat in lightweight cotton, muslin, linen, or silk.
Skill Level: Easy
What You Get: One 24 page sewing pattern that you digitally download as a PDF file so you can start your project immediately! The PDF sewing pattern provides digitally drawn step-by-step illustrated instructions and full size pattern pieces. A PDF reader is required to view and print the files (example: Adobe Reader or Preview for MAC). The download link is received immediately after the transaction is complete. Print copies are NOT available.Download, Print, Sew!
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I made this with a lightweight white dot fabric and yellow for the petticoat. It is easy to make and I appreciate a pattern that teaches me sewing from other eras. The pattern is easy to follow and directions are written in such a way that they are easy to understand. Have several Thimbles and Acorn patterns and I love them. Pixiefaire thank you for the historical patterns.
I love this pattern! My doll is still wearing it. It's the kind of outfit you don't want to put away. If you look at the photo, you can see that a checked woven fabric was used for the overdress. I used a similar weave of fabric, but mine was a much sheerer voile. The voile was a bit difficult to sew, quite slippery. However, the checked weave, 1/4" I think, made it easier to sew. I cut my fabric one layer at a time to make sure the grain was straight. I also made sure the stitching line for the casing was on one of the woven lines of the checked woven fabric. The gathering was done with ribbon drawn through a casing. Easy to sew, but very dramatic results. I used the same color combination as Shari's. When you pick your colors, make sure you can find ribbons in the two widths -- 1/8" and 1" wide double faced stain to match the color of your petticoat. The whole outfit is so elegant. So detailed. It looks just like the images found on a Google search. The pattern includes instructions for making the bonnet. Thimbles and Acorns sells the basic straw hat which is used for this hat on their website. The hat is beautiful.