Friday, May 6, 2011

Draping--Sort Of--A Sacque, Part Five

Draping a robe a la francaise, or sacque. An eight part series! Click the tag or go to the tutorial page for links to all parts.

And now with the craziness that is Costume Con behind me, here's the next part of the sacque tutorial! Namely, the front.

Now, there are many ways to do the front. This is the style dress that's one piece of fabric from shoulder to hem.

A word of advice--if you do this style, make it longer than you think it needs to be. I cut it too short so ended up cutting it again, and well, too short again. I ended up piecing the front hem. I love my fabric though--it hides it so well!

For the front armscye, I just cut it to my pattern. However, I'd recommend adding a little to the edge of it if your lining dart is more than the cosmetic dart I have. It's easy enough to trim later!

I'm using the 1740-1750 sacque (diagram XV) in The Cut of Women's Clothes as my guide. Doing this is really pretty much playing around with the fabric until it works.

Francaise Draping 39

First, I put in a dart from about bust to waist level. This releases into the skirt and helps it sit smoothly over the hoop. My striped pet-en-l'air didn't have this and I needed to take a waist dart. My pink pet-en-l'air has a similar dart and didn't need a waist dart.

Francaise Draping 40

And next, a rather big jump! Fold the fabric that becomes the robing over. You're essentially making a box pleat.

Francaise Draping 42

Here's what the back looks like. Trim the lowest level of the robing to decrease bulk. You're going to turn the top layer under to cover any raw edges.

Francaise Draping 44

The turned under edge pinned in place.

Francaise Draping 45

A close up of the front. The raw edge is turned under. If you're lucky enough to have fabric with a clean selvage, you can leave it as is. If not, the skirt portion will get a narrow hem. You don't need to hem the bodice portion though, as when you tack the robing down, you can catch the raw edge to the lining.

Francaise Draping 48

Another shot of the robing--the bottom pin is placed approximately where the stitching will go.

Francaise Draping 51

Repeat, and you have most of a sacque!


  1. Do you recommend cutting the front piece to any particular size? Using a full 54 inch width in the front would be too much fabric, I would think. I know you did period sizing, but is there anyway to figure out width for someone larger, or is it still just eye-balling it? Thanks!

  2. It's pretty much eyeballing it!

    I actually ended up narrowing mine from what I had cut. I cut it a little wider than the pattern draft I was basing my dress on. I think it ended up being about twenty inches or so?

    If you cut it too wide, it is easy to trim it once it's on the dressform. Just cut a slit where you need, and rip. I love ripping fabric :)