A Chemise a la Reine

The chemise a la reine was first known as a gaulle and was popularized by and renamed after Marie Antoinette in the 1780s. It was an alternative to the heavier, more structured dresses then fashionable.

Mine is made of four panels of 36 inch wide Indian muslin from Exclusive Silks and trimmed with pink silk taffeta from the same store. The flounce and cuffs are trimmed with lace from Farmhouse Fabrics. The silk for my hat is also from Exclusive silks.

The dress pattern is a diagram in The Cut of Women's Clothes. The hat is a pattern by D.L. Designs, though I altered it quite a bit from the original pattern by shortening the crown and changing the brim shape.

The only parts of the dress that are lined are the straps, which are lined in medium weight linen.

I'm wearing the dress over three linen petticoats and my 1780s blue/green silk stays from Corsets and Crinolines and a cotton batiste shift based on the Kannik's Korner Regency Shift Pattern. The stays show a little through the dress. In History of Costume by Blanche Payne, she describes a fashion plate, reproduced in black and white, in which rose colored stays and petticoat can be seen through the dress.

The dress from the front and back. The style is very simple. It's a large tube of fabric with shoulder straps. The back is gathered to fit, and the neckline and waist are pulled in to fit with drawstrings.

The dress is open from the waist to the neckline. The original in the diagram was open all the way down the center front, but many portraits show what appears to be a closed front. The sash is made of three lenghths of silk taffeta which are whipstitched together at the selvages.

The whip gathered neckline flounce is tucked and trimmed with lace. To attach the flounce, I first pulled the neckline in so it mostly fit and then sewed the flounce down. My first idea was to sew the flounce to the entire length, but fortunately, Aubry tried that first and found that it didn't work.

On the right you can see the waist casing. There's a mistake in the pattern. The pattern shows the waist casing as being straight, but it actually curves around the waist. Once the dress is finished, it looks like it's straight around the waist. It took five attempts to get this right. For my channel, I used a strip of the voile on the straight of grain.

A front view sitting in the dress.

And a back view of the same.

My Costumes
The Eighteenth Century

I'd like to go home!