Marie Antoinette: Progress

marie antoinetteDuring the summer of 2015, I made the popular “blue dress with red belt” gown from the Sophia Coppola movie Marie Antoinette. I’ve been drooling over this gown ever since I first saw the movie in 2006. I’m so happy I finally made it!

Interesting fact: This gown is what spurred my obsession with 18th century clothing. I started doing the research for it several years ago, and fell down the rabbit hole. All of the pieces I have made until now were honestly practice for this one. I am extremely proud of how it turned out! It is one of the most accurate movie replicas I’ve made, if not the most accurate.

I obsessed over finding the perfect fabric for this. Thanks to some wonderful contributors to the Costumer’s Guide, I was able to confer from the description of the gown in a gallery that the fabric is most likely silk dupioni. In the movie and in stills her dress changes color, which is typical of dupioni. Sometimes it looks baby blue, sometimes almost green. I hunted for at least 2 years, and finally found the perfect color at Silk Baron. I got many swatches and compared to pantone swatches, and I am pretty confident that the Windchime color I used is about the most accurate out there, other than finding the original bolt. The accent fabric is sheer silk organza that I sewed ribbon onto. Unfortunately I couldn’t find the actual striped organza they used anywhere.

I ended up sewing almost the entire thing by hand, only parts of the lining and closures done were with a machine. I used an authentic anglaise pattern with an en forreau pleated back from one of my books, although I did have to modify the seams and panels to match the source, including adding a somewhat inaccurate extra side seam.

I made the shoes by taking an existing pair of shoes with the correct french heel, and hand sewing on coverings very closely. I used random images of shoes from the movie as inspiration and made them up to look like the gown. (You never see the actual shoes she wears with this gown).

All of the undergarments I already had from previous costumes. I styled the wig myself (Arda Matilda), and even powdered it. By the time I got to the hair piece I literally only had very tiny scraps left, and I had to use my swatches! I had ordered 5 yards of the dupioni, and its creepy how it was the literal exact amount I needed, though I definitely cut it too close for comfort. I made the belt from red velvet, and the buckle I made from thick craft wire and pre-made square set rhinestones.

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