Rosy Robe à la Française



Louisa Eastley


(click images to to enlarge)

Outline the story …

Though I have been sewing for many years, this is my first attempt at historical dressmaking. I had been looking for an opportunity to try my hand at the new methods, silhouettes, and ideologies that I had researched from ages gone by, and the fabric for this dress provided the perfect excuse to dive into this world.

An elderly neighbor of mine was reluctantly giving away her fabric stash in anticipation of a smaller home, and this pink floral/striped cotton caught my eye. It certainly would be too loud for a modern creation, but it had the perfect pattern, exuberance, and texture for the 1770’s. Additionally, she had 10 yards of it—far more than I would otherwise be able to justify on a student budget.

I chose to decorate the stomacher with ribbon flowers and beadwork to emphasize the floral nature of the fabric. This dress felt whimsical and impractically beautiful. The stays, panniers, and petticoats provided structure, but even after the layering, the dress felt light and airy.

Overall, this was definitely a satisfying foray into the historical dressmaking world!

Outline the construction…

The pink striped/floral fabric provided the impetus for this project, but it was the last to be used in the construction process. I began by sewing the supporting layers: the chemise, the stays, the petticoat, and the panniers. Since I had never made a corset of any kind before, I used a pattern by Redthreaded, which provided detailed instructions as well as the design. I altered the pattern slightly to accommodate my taller torso, but otherwise was true to the pattern.

The pattern of the dress was by American Duchess, again complete with extremely helpful instructions. The most complex part of the process was matching the pattern, as I was essentially using a plaid (vertical stripes and horizontal rose motifs). On areas such as the back robe section, aligning the flowers within the pleats so they matched visually on the completed product required some intense adjustments during the cutting stage. Since those pieces would run uninterrupted from neck to hem, the piece was far too large to recut if I made a mistake (unlike the front bodice piece, which I was able to recut after deciding to match the stripe on the skirt). After careful measuring, the pleats look a dream!




  1. Avatar Stella of Stellarland on May 6, 2023 at 10:19 pm


  2. Avatar Abigail Lamb on May 8, 2023 at 10:12 pm

    So pretty and romantic!

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