The “Petit Trianon” Dress
Fabric: Cotton Shirting from Fabric.com $7.47 for 3 yards, Cotton voile for ruffle
Patterns: McCall's #2329 – ~$1.00
Year: c. 1959
Notions: Vintage zipper- $.05
Time to complete: 5 hours
First worn: February 2011
Wear again? Yes, when it warms up and with some modern accessories
Total Cost: ~$8.50
The moment that I saw Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette on the list of Best Costume Design winners, I knew that I had my inspiration. While I didn't remember the film being particularly engaging, I did remember it being the most delectable eye candy and well-deserving of its Academy Award for costume design.
Now as much fun as it would have been to create a period-accurate gown, I wanted to create something that I would actually be able to wear out in public without too many stares.
Because I wanted to make separates, my first attempt at a Marie Antoinette-inspired outfit led to the creation of this shirt/jacket from a 1970s Betsey Johnson Butterick Pattern.
After I altered the neckline, the front part of the jacket was reinforced with some heavy interfacing in order to give it the look of a corset. Additionally, I quilted the front of the bodice. While this jacket was a noble effort, the stiffness of the front and the peplum just screamed "costume." And, as much as I tried to dress it down with jeans or contemporary skirts, it just didn't look right.
So the jacket was abandoned and I moved onto a pattern that I never thought I'd use but kept around "just in case": McCall's 2329, the pattern to use for "centennials and/or square dances". You know, the sort of events that are always filling up my calendar. The dress had the elements I was looking for: a paneled bodice, squared (well, squareish) neckline, 3/4 length sleeves and a full skirt.
Thankfully, the dress was easy to make. Other than the neckline frill made from some voile that I cut along the selvedge (so I wouldn't have to hem it) and gathered and the lace-trimmed sleeves, the dress is pretty plain and basic. I like to think of it as a dress that the hippy Marie Antoinette wears at the Petit Trianon.
Thanks to my dear friend, Krissy, for humoring me and taking my photos in one of the French period rooms at The Legion of Honor. Yes, I actually went out looking this way.
A closer look at the dress bodice.
I like this photo because it has a deranged Vivienne Westwood vibe to it.