August 17, 2009

Watteau pleat day dress

Finally, here they are, as promised: the pictures of my Watteau pleat dress. Please don't pay attention to the slightly weird poses and strained facial expressions. I never look well on self-timer. I took pictures from front, back and sides to really show off the different faces of this dress.

Seen from the front, it looks like a vaguely vintage inspired day dress. And of course, it has pockets...

From the side, you can really see the 'gap' between my back and the pleat. There is a bit of fabric there, reacting space between the slightly hollow back seam and the straight pleat.

And from the back you can see the Watteau pleat in all its glory. I know it would have been more historically correct to have the entire back of the dress in the same fabric (gowns of that era closed at the front, sometimes showing a contrasting or matching stomacher and petticoats there) but I ran out of the black and white printed fabric. I thought this would be the best way to deal with the fabric shortage, although it means that my pleat will not blend in with my skirt seamlessly like in the historical examples.

I am rather happy with this dress. It was a big experiment, but I think the end result looks good, and was suprisingly easy to make. But of course, the proof of the pudding is in the eating, and for any of my sewing creations that means wearing it out. I haven't worn this one outdoors yet, and based on the reactions on my (much more 'normal') double polkadot dress, I may be in for a treat. I have shown the dress to a friend however. She liked it, even though she's not into 'unusual dressing' herself.

By the way, Watteau was a painter in the late 17th and early 18th century. The pleat is called after him because he painted a lot of ladies wearing the 'sackback gown' or 'robe a la francaise' fashionable at the time.


  1. I'd love to know how you constructed this pleat. i can see it in an airy fabric for a beautiful cocktail summer dress. Beautiful work, really.

  2. You know, I was just thinking of doing this on jackets - thanks for broadening my horizons!

  3. This is really lovely, thank you for sharing it.
    (I came here via Dress A Day).

  4. What a unique, stunning dress, from the shape to the fabric to the pleat in the back! Just gorgeous!

  5. I love this! And I'm looking forward to seeing more of your sewing projects!

  6. Beautiful! Thank you for sharing.