I have wanted to make my own Chemise a la Reine since seeing the movie Marie Antoinette. Then when a bunch of costumers did a Chemise a la Reine group in 2007, I knew that I had to have one. It took 6 years before I was able to get to it, but I can finally cross this one off my Sewing bucket list.
I didn't reinvent the wheel with this dress since so many costumers have already done it. Instead I trolled dress diaries to see what they had done. The links below are the ones that I found the most helpful.
I got the most help when I visited with a friend and she brought her gown along so I could look and paw at it. I was having a hard time visualizing how exactly the tube of the gown met up with the shoulder straps and what to do with all the gathers. Much less then add a sleeve. Once I saw it it was easy. In case anyone else's brain works like mine here are a picture of the front of my gown at those joins.
I don't remember if I read it or was told to me, but it was said to stop the gathers at the beginning of the strap. I couldn't wrap my mind around how that would look good. Lots of gathers in the front, lots of gathers in the back and nothing on the sides?!?!?!?! But that is how my friend did hers and I had seen pictures of her wearing it and would have never known. So that's what I did with mine. You can't tell in pictures or even when wearing it, it still has tons of body. Doing it that way eliminated having to figure out how to put the gathering into the bottom of the sleeve. Basically, I was over thinking it.
I did take my gathers a little past the start of the shoulder strap but filtered them off so there wasn't any by the time it met up with the sleeve.
My sleeve pattern is the same one I used for my 18th c. Barbie dress, just lengthened. Sadly the part of this dress that I am most excited about doesn't get seen often. I taught myself how to make death head buttons just for this dress to add to the sleeve cuffs.
This is such a fun dress.