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!