The “Madame Elizabeth” Top


The Facts
Fabric: Kona cotton broadcloth $4
Pattern: Lisette for Simplicity 2211
Year: 2011
Notions: Lace salvaged from my childhood bedroom curtains $0
Time to complete: ~3 hours (the entire NBC Thursday night line-up)
First worn: At my in-laws’ house
Wear again? For sure!
Total price: $4

I was drawing a blank for the longest time with the challenge. I couldn’t decide between a literal remake, or a just inspired-by approach (à la “Project Runway”). Eventually I settled on the latter. I browsed through all my art books and through some random museums’ online collections when I found a few contenders. When I saw this portrait of Madame Charles Simon Favart by François-Hubert Drouais in The Met’s collection I had a sparkle of an idea.

I wanted to do all the shots at the piano but the lighting was all wrong.

When I was allowed to redo my bedroom in high school (*cough15yearsagocough*), everything pink was stripped away including my “dusty rose” curtains that had miles of lace trim along the edges. My mom insisted on salvaging all of it, she was thrilled when I asked to use some. I stitched the top of each lace row to the sleeve piece and then later realized I needed to do the bottom row of the top one because it stuck straight up, so that got tacked down.

I knew Lisette’s “Market” pattern would serve as a good interpretation of this work. The long-sleeve option calls for a ruffle, but I thought that would be over-kill so I stuck to my short sleeves which I’ve done three other times. I also nixed the sleeve cuff because I couldn’t decided how to tackle it with the lace, so the sleeve is just hemmed. I think the look is cutesy but wearable. I have a lace overlay obsession at the moment so I’m quite pleased. I can’t decide if the bodice is too plain.

Author

SullyLiz3

Liz has been sewing since April 2011 but has been crafty all her life. Her full-time job is as a museum curator at a smallish institution, where her DIY skills often come in handy. Liz likes to sew while watching TV, which she uses to measure the amount of time it takes to finish.

15 Comments

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  1. It’s lovely. Maybe add a row of lace to the hem?

  2. What a great combo of ideas. I think this challenge sparked a lot of creative interpretation.

  3. Wow, that is so sweet. I want to see a close up on the sleeve, so I am off to check out your blog

  4. very cute. if you think the the bodice is plain you could add 3 pearl buttons vertically to the center or if you have left over lace you could make a sash belt. but like it is works!

  5. I like that you used a piece of the past to create this top. Lace is pretty big these days so you’re right on trend with your obsession. It is very cute and wearable-hope you get a lot of use out of it.

  6. I really like that. Such a neat way to put a bit of lace onto a dress.

  7. I don’t think the bodice is too plain. This would look so cute with a high waisted skirt.

  8. Fantastic, love love love those sleeves.

  9. I like the lacy sleeves! It is a great look on you. Well done.

  10. I love lacy sleeves! your top is very cute.

  11. Those sleeves are just lovely! Well done :)

  12. What a darling interpretation of 18th century fashion! I first thought you were referencing the Madame Elisabeth (Louis XVII’s sister), but your choice is fantastic too.