August 4, 2009

Inspiration at work

Ever since I've been making patterns, I have also had a keen interest in fashion history. Although I've done a lot of vaguely 1950's dresses so far, I can't say I really have a favorite period. I also love the really old stuff (one of these fine days, I'll try my hand at serious corset making again, this time making my own pattern as well).

Something I've always wanted to try is a dress with a Watteau pleat. A Watteau pleat is the straight pleat falling down from the shoulders which you'll find in certain Renaissance dresses. The kind of dress it features in is known as 'robe anglaise' and was essentially a loose garment worn over panniers and tight stays.
I, however, don't want to make a robe anglaise, I want to make a modern dress with a Watteau pleat. The intriguing thing about this pleat (not visible in the back view in the picture) is that it's separated from the bodice of the dress by seams (keeping the bodice tight and the top of the pleat sharply shaped), but flows down to become part of the skirt.

There's a piece of fabric in my stash which I've had earmarked for this dress for over a year. Now, the pattern is done, the muslin's been fitted, so it's going to become the Watteau pleat dress!

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