Undersleeves were worn…well, underneath the sleeves of a dress and went from about wrist to elbow. Also known as engageantes, these sleeves emphasized a woman’s modesty and could be removed or changed. Usually white or off-white, the sleeves used either ties to attach to the gown or were kept on by an early form of elastic in the top casing. They were a necessary part of the mid-19th century wardrobe.
First image from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, remaining images from the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Random progress pic. Been working many hours on the collar and faux vest pieces and decorations. Progress has been slow due to hand-sewing the appliqués; I originally thought I’d machine sew them, but the velvet on velvet was too slippery and they really needed hand-sewn. Added a lot more hours but I think it’s turning out great :) I’ve also been spending time on sewing snaps & closures at the front.
Next up is sleeve work & hem work. I already have the pleated cuffs created, as well as the velvet pieces that go on top, and appliqués sewn on them… but they need all the layers of trim, and the engageante lace - which I’m waiting to arrive in the mail. I’ll also be working on the trimmings that go on the hem of the bodice. I never realized how much trim is on this version until studying it closer!! Love it.
The silver/blue trim was custom made because we couldn’t find anything remotely similar to the original. It looks a lot cooler in real life, my phone camera doesn’t do it justice and makes the color look wonky. Blame my poor basement lighting!! There are three trims that go along the bodice hem and on the sleeves: a layer of the white trim (seen on the collar), layer of blue velvet ribbon (just arrived in the mail!), another layer of white, and then the intricate light blue looped-trim with tassels.
We couldn’t find anything similar to the tassel trim, so I’m going to custom-make that too. I’ll be dying white looped fringe home decor trim to the shade of blue I need, and sewing tiny tassels on. Taking a closer peek at some reference photos, I’m almost convinced that the real deal might also add tassels on to a more basic trim. I could be wrong, but it looks very custom to me!
More evidence of my theory is that some wishing gowns have the same, or similar looped trim, but different tassel arrangements…
A plainer arrangement
Because I can’t sew on the white & velvet trims until I stitch on the home decor trim, I have to wait until I dye the trim. (These trims need to cover the top of the looped fringe trim, which is about ¾" wide. You can see in the reference photos that you just sort of see the looped part). I just got some proper dye tonight so that’ll be my next step. The tassels can be sewn on at any point, so I don’t have to wait for those (they just got ordered today, so it’ll be a week or two before I get them).
And if you guys know me, I freaking love tassels; I am like a cat. Fascinated by them. And the mini ones are going to be so cute. It took a while to find them online! Only one seller had something remotely similar to what I needed. But anyhow, tassels make everything cooler. So I’m excited about that!
Modeled after Sierra’s version in the RAH 25th anniversary gala, it features a bodice, belt, and skirt made of jacquard silk. The ruffles (and engageantes) are double-layered: a soft netting layer with scalloped trim underneath, and a cotton eyelet with a wider scalloped venice lace trim on top. The front and back of the belt are decorated with lush appliques filled with sequins and pearls. It also features custom bias tape around the bodice opening and an extended train on the skirt.
I want to thank Emily from the bottom of my heart for commissioning me and helping support what I love to do!
Want your own dressing gown or other custom replica, costume, clothing or accessory? Visit kaedralynn.com and see what I can do, and contact me there! :)
Broadway replica, specifically with Sierra’s 25th anniversary one in mind, since they did two rows of lace in the ruffle around the neckline instead of just one. What can I say? I’m a sucker for the small details.
Four different kinds of lace and trims went into the engageantes, plus the burnout satin.
I’m going to be so sad when this one’s sent out, but at least I know it’s going to the home of a good friend.
*RJDaae’s angel chestplate plushie not included. :P
Contact me for commissions, bows, etc. on my FB page:
This magnificent gown was fashioned from sublime
brocaded silk satin patterned with turquoise and silver peacock feathers
on a lilac ground.
Our two-piece gown is reminiscent of 18th century open robes. It has an
open-front skirt as well as three-quarter-length sleeves trimmed with
lace engageantes. Lined with aqua silk taffeta, the bodice has boned seams and cotton tape lace trim.