Tuesday, March 4, 2014

3rd Annual Francaise Dinner

Wow, I had no idea when I helped launch the 1st Francaise Dinner that it would turn into an annual thing.  I didn't run it this year (Judy did), but attended as a guest.  I wore the same gown the first and second years, so I wanted a new one this year.  One that would actually show up in photos, which my lovely black with black trim gown did not.

As usual, I used a commercial pattern.  The Simplicity 3637, which is OOP, but not too hard to find on Ebay or Etsy.  If you have patience and ask Ebay to email you whenever it pops up, you can get it cheaper than the usual BIN high prices.

I like this pattern a lot.  I find it pretty easy to put together as long as I transfer all the markings and follow the directions carefully.  The pattern calls for something like 20 yards of fabric, but I used 13-15 yards of 60" fabric to make mine.  I could have gotten away with less for two reasons:

1) It's possible to make the back of the petticoat out of a less expensive fabric because no one sees it.
2) I'm 5'5", and I had to cut off like 8" from both the petticoat and the overgown skirt when I hemmed them.  I suppose the pattern maker gave directions for the tallest possible person (or the highest heels?). Seriously, all that extra hem fabric could have gone towards sleeve flounces or trim strips.

Things I'll remember for next time:
1) Cut out the big pieces first and then use the scraps to cut out the bodice.
2) The upper sleeve flounce is just a suggested size and shape.
I didn't use the bottom sleeve flounce pattern piece because I used my left over embroidered net lace trim from the Regency bonnet (trim from ejoyce.com)
3) I used almost all of the 24 yards of gold trim I bought to trim the trim.
4) The sleeves are on the small/more fitted side.

Snowbear loves to show off how much her eyes match the fabric

I shortened the horizontal length of the petticoat skirt because my hip pockets are not as large as the pattern calls for.  

It's together, but not trimmed yet.  Hrm...those sleeves need to be rotated!

Almost done!  Needs decorations on the stomacher

Here I am at the dinner

It was a truly lovely event!  We had prizes and giveaways from American Duchess, Portmanteau Fashions and shopping from The Bohemian Belle, In The Long Run, and Dames a la Mode.  The company, however, was priceless!

(photo by Bohemian Belle)

Here are all the photos I took as well as some from a few other guests



  1. Hey thanks for the write up Kat! I've been eyeing this pattern and it's always helpful to have some tips on a pattern I've never used before. You all look beautiful - as always!

  2. Your dress looks wonderful! With all the negative hype the big 3 get, your dress shows quite the opposite. I love your kitty's taste in fabric.

    1. Thank you! Yes, I think this pattern was really well done :)