Thursday, March 6, 2014

Starting The Sacque Pattern

The last time I patterned an original gown, the blog suffered.  It suffered big time, so this go around I am determined to keep up with posting.   First, because I like blogging, second because it is a good record of what I did, and third because others might find it helpful in understanding what goes into developing a historical pattern.

The last pattern we published was An English Gown, with enfourreau pleats and a stomacher front.  This pattern will be An English Sacque, c1770s.  It is a gown made for small hoops, and it requires much less fabric than an earlier sacque.  It is very appropriate for late 1760s-1770s.

Why does the world need another sacque pattern?  We have found there is a market for reenactors and costumers who want the opportunity to work from a pattern based on an original example and made using 18th century construction.

This sacque, as in all our patterns will be made in the 18th century manner.  No crazy directions for machine sewing something in a torturous way something that was never meant to be machined.

The dating is done by first examining the fabric, and then the style.  So let's look at the fabric.  It is sweet beyond words.  I really would like to find something similar to reproduce this, but might have to settle for something else.

For scale the blue stripes are 3/4 inch wide and the white stripe is one inch wide.

This gown has an English provenance, so the first stop to try and date the fabric is the Victoria and Albert Museum.  I know the aesthetic of stripes is very much 1770s.

V and A

Not the same, but the similar overall theme of stripes and small flowers.  This sample book has example from the 1770s-1780s from the firm of Batchelor, Ham and Perigal.  (love this)

Again, similar but not the same. Very much 1770s.  So the next step to try and find more fabrics similar to mine will be extant gowns in museum collections.


  1. Dear Hallie,
    Hooray! Count me as an early purchaser of the sacque pattern. Will enjoy reading about the research and design process.

    Currently in the earliest stages of making up the English gown: corralling the last fabrics and thread needed, rereading the directions, and making up a proper to-do list for the other parts of the ensemble yet to be made: decency petticoat, under-petticoat(s), apron, tucker, sleeve ruffles...

    A thought, based on my experience with the English gown project: it might be really helpful to offer a listing of your best how-to posts for making items that go with a gown: how to do a shift, apron, sleeve ruffles, handkerchief and ways to wear it, etc. I've assembled some of these in the long documentation document I keep for my project, but bet other folks would enjoy a one-stop list for accessories making, with links to your kits and patterns where appropriate, too. The list could be a posting itself, but linked to from your FAQ.

    Very best,


    1. Natalie, that is a great idea. We are actually going to work on a photo shoot today on the process of getting dressed. Thanks for your input, and if you have any suggestions after using the gown pattern, contact me at We are making up the instructions in batches of 100 and will be hoping to update each time if necessary to make things easier for users.

  2. This is wonderful news! Do you have a projected release date yet?

    1. We are hoping for the end of June. Still in the pattern making stage, then we have to send the pattern off to the grader which takes a few weeks.