Purple Files: 17th Century French Dress(diary)
Recreated by La Signora Onorata Katerina da Brescia.

I found some inspirations, for this outfit, at Riene des Centfeuilles (left and right) , museum websites and museum examples posted online. I was aiming for the 1780's feel, being more casual than earlier pannier dresses.
I particularly liked the look of the caraco (jacket) on the right but did not have the time to do all that spectacular embroidery. I decided to use trim to decorate in place.
Below are other inspirations, along similar lines of construction:
  • Anglaise, 1787 (Metropolitan Museum of Art)
  • A Redingcote (riding coat) from a Versaillles exhibit. (Flickr - Johanni)
  • 1791-Yo-Yo-Bandalore (Wikipedia)
  • and from the movie, The Duchess.  (The Costumer's Guide)
The basics are: slim sleevs, 2 layer front with an inverted 'V' for the overlay, front closure with either lacing or hook and eye.. Skirt could be matching or sheerer white cotton(?). Hats were big, as was curled/ringlet hair.

Other extant examples, showing the pleated 'peplum' can be found far right: Caraco Jacket, c.1780-90 (Kohler) and right: Metropolitan Museum of Art
My final design was:
I was hoping to use some material I had in stash.... some striped silk (right), striped pattern cotton (middle right), remake an old 17th C corset. I had my wedding shoes restretched to wear. I had some long white, over the knee socks which worked well for the hose.
I have a large number of straw hats from op-shops. The only thing I had to buy for this project was some trim. (far right)

Under Layers and Patterns:
The Costumers' Manifesto  has examples of 18th century patterns, including the two (right) which are versions of caraco/ jackets. From this I came up with the following:
The Caraco/jacket was then toiled as below.

A new smock was made from some Egyptian cotton I bought about 15 years ago.... finally something nice to make it into!
Below centre, is a rare example of an extant skirt of the period. The bumroll was reused from an old Ellizabethan outfit. Research seems to suggest that there were ties that wrapped front and back. *****************
I tried a new method of hemming: First I did the hem, then pulled the skirt to reposition, at the waist, then recut the top. Seemed to work. Below right is the finished skirt.

I used feathers, flowers (bought cheaply after a Melbourne cup a few years ago), ribbons and left over material and trim, for the hat. I purchased a cheap ringlet wig online, found some black velvet ribbon and medallion, for the necklace. My specs I have had for about 10 years.

On the day/ The Final Outfit:

Before and after the event (I had forgotten to take my neato white kid gloves that I 'inherited' from my grandmother-in-law... damn....)



All intellectual content, photos and layout are copyright to La Signora Onorata Katerina da Brescia (K Carlisle), except those original renaissance artworks and extant articles whose copyright remains with the current owner and are for research purposes.
If you would like to use something from this site, please contact me, and cite this website reference.

©(c) K Carlisle. , 2009