Historical Sew Fortnightly#16: Separates - Robe a la Turque (Outer Robe)

This was a pretty challenging project, not only is it a style I'd never made before but it's also a style that's rarely made period.  While there are quite a few helpful dress diaries on making slightly later era robe a la Turques I didn't turn up much for this earlier version.  That said, Kendra Van Cleave's information on the Polonaise, her dress diary on her Circassian, and her advice to me were all extremely helpful.  Also invaluable was scaled polonaise pattern in The Cut of Women's Clothes and this blog entry from Mimic of Modes/A Most Beguiling Accomplishment showing all three views of the fashion plate I was trying to replicate.

I like experimenting and am not constrained by the idea that what I do has to be totally historically accurate, so I used that information as my jumping off point.  I can't vouch for the authenticity of what I came up with, but in case it's useful to anyone else here's what I did:

I started off making a lining for the robe's bodice, using my basic 18th C body block as a base.  I then draped a muslin on the lining, following the lines of the pattern in the Cut of Women's Clothes and altering it as I went to create the silhouette I was looking for.  Once I got the muslin tweaked to how I wanted it I cut out the fashion fabric and got to work draping that.   I draped the funnel shaped sleeves and a front and back collar as well then put the whole thing together.   I used tassels and trim I bought in the LA garment district and created frog like decorations out of some of the trim that came with the tassels to trim the back seams.

I thought this could be an entry for the separates challenge because while it was made to go with the pink round gown shown, it could easily be paired with another gown in a different color.  I like the look of the all-white undergown in this plate, and in looking at other plates of Turques white under gowns seem pretty popular.  And the white petticoat/colored corsage combination is also pretty nice, and given I already have a nice white lawn petticoat all I'd need to do to create a new outfit would be to make the corsage - sweet!

The Challenge: Separates - Robe a la Turque (Outer Robe)

Fabric: Dark Teal Silk Taffeta, dark blue linen bodice lining.

Pattern: Draped by me based on the pattern for a polonaise on

Year: 1780
Notions: braid and tassels for trim, thread

How historically accurate is it? The long skirt seams are machine sewn but all visible stitching and most of the rest of the robe is hand sewn.

Hours to complete: Not sure as I worked on several other projects at the same time.

First worn: I will wear it to the Thursday Night Pool Party at Costume College!  Look for more pictures soon!
Total cost: $5 for trimmings, the fabric all came from the stash.


  1. Dear Loren,
    It all came together so well. The teal and pink feel very right for the period, and I bet will look super when worn. What a confection!

    Very best,



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