Sunday, October 04, 2009

Janet Arnold Open Robe Pt. 1

Most of you in the costuming community know of Janet Arnold and her famed 1790’s Open Robe. It is one of those costume pieces that everyone talks about making and a few have successfully done so. Well, I have decided to join the Open Robe bandwagon and make one of my own. I also thought I would share bits and pieces of the construction. I usually forget to document my costume making processes and then regret it. So, this one I’m going to document, as best as I can, and share it with you all :-)

So, here goes…


Here’s the picture from the book Patterns of Fashion I (It’s kind of blurry, sorry)


The pattern before I got my hands on it :-D

First, I scanned the pattern into the computer and scaled it up to it’s original size in Paint Shop Pro. I then cropped the pattern into 21 pieces, to save my computer’s memory. Printed it and taped it all together. I then set about measuring everything and scaling up to fit me. That was the “fun” part. The original wearer was very tiny and shorter than me, by quite a bit (I’m 5’2”). I had to add between 2 and 3 inches to everything, included the length of all the pieces.


The pattern, scaled up to the original size.


The pattern, scaled up for me. I laid my adjustments over the original patter so you could see the difference.

I then took my traced pattern, folded it along the pleat marks and pinned it to my dress form. I had to do a couple of tweaks to the first scaling. So I took my pattern and added the necessary adjustments.

Then, I grabbed some muslin and cut the pattern out. I also made sure to make all of the pleat lines on the fabric, so I would know how it worked. Let me tell you, those pleating patterns are kind of confusing. There are no instructions on how to pleat, just a series of dotted and solid lines. Once I figured out that the solid lines indicated box pleats and the dotted lines indicated where the pleats ended, it went quickly. I also decided to only make 1/2 of the robe and not add the full skirt in my mock up to save on time and fabric. Finally, I pinned it to the dress form. It fits!!!!!  (Insert jumping up and down with glee here.) The final test, of course, was to try it on me. I think it will be just fine.


Muslin mock up on the dress form. Notice the pleats. I had no idea that one could have a curved pleat until this pattern.



So, that’s my progress thus far. I will be added 1/2 length sleeves to the final robe. I plan to make it out of some of the silk in my stash. I’m just debating between the light blue and the light green.

Well, I will hopefully have more for you tomorrow. God Bless!

Love Lauren

5 Witty Sentiments:

Unknown said...

I can't wait to see how it turns out! It looks like you are having lots of success with it! :)

The Dreamstress said...

Wow...shorter than 5'2"!

Amy said...

oooh! can't wait to see the progress! I love dress diaries and you turn out such beautiful creations.

AmDuch said...

You're right, those pleating lines are WAY confusing. I didn't know it was box pleating - this is in the front? I knife pleated mine, and wrestled with it but got it to work. I'm interested to see how yours comes out!

Lindsey said...

I'm so glad that you're documenting the progress of this project! I've tried scaling up and adjusting the pattern for this pelisse jacket several times over the past few years and never with complete success. It's still on my list of projects! The pattern just needs so much adjustment because it is teeny tiny. Hopefully I'll succeed next time I try. It's encouraging to see that it can be done!