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Posts Tagged ‘Madame de Pompadour dress’


This is going to be quite a train of thought post, so if you feel lost, just relax and look at the pretty pictures!

I’m going to be looking at my inspirations for 18th Century costumes, using contemporary sources.  I’ll try to link and reference everything, but there will be a lot of pictures, so apologies in advance if I mess up!  On another day, I’ll look at some more modern inspirations, such as films about the period.

I’ve already posted a picture of my favourite costume of the era – that Madame de Pompadour rose-adorned dress in Boucher’s portrait, but de Pompadour was an all-round stylish lady:

De Pompadour in pink!

I think my main lust for her outfits rests with the brilliant choice of colours and the ribboned stomacher.  The ribboned stomacher in particular – I love those rows of lovely bows decreasing in size.  Utter prettiness!

Going back to colour, though, I think that’s what I love about these stays from the Met:

Turquoise & pink stays

The turquoise reminds me cobalt turquoise (see bottom right of colour chart) which I’ve always loved.  The pretty lacing and ribbons also add to my adoration of these stays.

How about some shoes?  Yes, I think these are gorgeous enough:

Rose pink damask shoes - elmbridge museum


That colour… that fabric… Cor!

Are you getting the impression that I like colour?  I very rarely wear white, black or brown/beige, though I do love grey – but you need a neutral, right?

So, next for some colourful stays:

Blue & Yellow stays - LACMA

Aren’t they lovely?  The contrasting piping and lacing is so pretty – I think I’m going to have to do something like that for my own stays… Maybe not yellow and blue, but definitely two quite different colours.  It would be wonderful to find a slightly dusky blue like this for my stays – blues and turquoises are my favourites.  Here are some more blue stays (from LACMA), this time in an even brighter colour:

Bright blue stays

It’s amazing that such a vivid colour has survived all these centuries!  That silvery faux-lacing is such a wonderful idea, too.  I might have to try something like that myself, once I’ve mastered basic stays.

It might not be turquoise, but it is lush:

What a gorgeous rose pink, and that print is fab.  I like the adornments, too – I bet they take loads of fabric to make – eek!

And some more prettiness in pink (thanks to LACMA):

Rose pink polonaise - LACMA

I’m definitely a sucker for the polonaise shape going on here – I can’t even pinpoint why, but I’ve always liked it.  You can also see the scalloped edges of the trim on the petticoat – a nice period detail!

But, anyway, back to the turquoise, this time for SHOES!  (From LACMA again.)

Turquoise Shoes - LACMA

I love everything about these – the fabric, the colour, the shape, the buckle… The heels even look like they wouldn’t be too high and uncomfortable.  I’d love to make a gown or jacket in this fabric – it’s a gorgeous, subtle pattern.

Now, I’m not too amazed by the actual picture, but I love the (yes, it’s the c-word again) colours going on here (LACMA):

Ann Frankland lewis - 1775 dress painting

Pale silvery blue with that POW of pink – yes, I like very much indeed.

This one’s quite interesting (yes, it’s a nice dusky pink colour, but that’s not why!) – it might just be my limited experience, but I don’t recall having seen any closed-robe sack-backs before (another LACMA):

Dusky pink closed robe sack-back

Also, I haven’t seen ruffles like that on the front of the petticoat before, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it were just a lack of knowledge on my part.  Very pretty either way.

And, I’m going to end this post with one of my favourite things – a folding fan.  I am very into them – for the practical side as well as their prettiness.  This one’s from mid-18th Century France, and again comes to you courtesy of LACMA (they have too many lovely things!):

Fan - France Mid 18thC

Still to come: my Master Plan for Costuming (ie, to do list!) and some more pretty pictures…

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Because one day I really want to go to the Venice Carnival and wear this

Boucher - Madame de Pompadour

and because I’m a perfectionist so I can’t buy an ‘ok’ readymade version and because I can’t afford the hefty price tag for someone to make it for me, I need to learn to sew.

The current plan is to go for my 30th birthday, so I have about 4 years – phew!

Anyway, everyone has to start somewhere, so I’ve been on the lookout for a good how-to-sew-for-idiots book and I think I’ve found one that actually surpasses all my expectations!

Sew It Up by Ruth Singer

This is a little gem of a book, which I would recommend to anyone, whatever their level of sewing experience.  It caters for beginners with clear instructions of how to do the very basics (different types of seams, machine and hand stitches, hemming, etc), but also provides the more advanced sewer with ideas for gorgeous and fun projects that would make wonderful gifts for friends, family and yourself!  I can see this being a wonderful reference for people with mid-level skills, too, with it’s detailed how-tos on some funky and useable techniques, such as frills, ruffles, suffolk puffs, pleats, frog fastenings, beading, sequins, tassels, shirring (so pretty!), smocking, quilting, applique, patchwork, trapunto (seen loads on expensive cushions), embroidery, and loads more.  Here’s an idea of the other projects inside: curtains, cushions, bags, understanding and altering commercial dressmaking patterns, repairs, a circular skirt.

This book really does have it all and I’m so pleased I picked it up – I can’t wait to get going!  I am so going to make this cuff – I’m so in love with it.  It’s already helped me to understand different types of fabric and a lot of dressmaking terms I’d heard used elsewhere.

My only criticism is that some of the basic techniques are displayed on a patterned fabric, making them not as clear as they could have been, especially as the book relies on photographs and doesn’t have any diagrams.  A plain fabric with a lighter-coloured reverse and contrastic thread would have made the step-by-step instructions even clearer.  The addition of diagrams for some of the techniques would have helped, too.  But all in all, this is only a tiny negative in what is really a brilliant book.

Highly recommended.

Hmm… so this post has turned into a review of the book, nevermind – I’ll post more on-topic another time.

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