Well, it was staring at me. It wanted to be made into a robe à la française, and it wanted it now.
I used La Couturiere Parisienne's contouche tutorial, my own experience with past projects, and Janet Arnold's Patterns of Fashion to draft a pattern for the bodice lining. I cut out a mockup in canvas duck, and it fit perfectly! Thank goodness, too, because I had to keep myself from pulling my hair out while I was drafting it. x.x
I used the lining pattern to cut out the gown, and I used Janet Arnold's pattern to cut out the skirt. I went ahead and pinned the pleats in the back so I could get an idea of where everything fell.
Instead of stitching everything together at this point, I decided to start decorating the skirt panels now so I could have a flat panel to work on and not have all the rest of the gown fabric in the way while I was attaching the ruching.
Ah, ruching. I do love it. And I wanted a big, flooshy, elaborate gown, especially since most of my gowns were relatively simple. So, I used the Boucher painting of Mme. de Pompadour as inspiration and started to cut out ruching. I cut out 8 inch wide strips of fabrics, pinking the raw edges - one edge was straight, and the other was scalloped. I gathered the straight sideof the ruffle about 1 inch in from the edge, and applied the ruffle to the skirt panel in a serpentine pattern. I had to tack down the wider edge of the ruffle in several places just to keep it from flapping around everywhere. I'm really thrilled with how it turned out, but I wanted to do a bit more. So, I hit the fabric store and bought some nice looking lace and some wired pink ribbon to make ribbon roses.
I used this tutorial to make the roses. Each rose took about 15 inches of ribbon, and one spool was enough for one side of the skirt, or 8 roses. I added a 3mm rhinestone to the centre of each rose to give it a bit of sparkle. But, after applying the lace, I'm not really sure on the final look of it against the red fabric, it seems like too much of a contrast. I'm thinking of adding some fly fringe in a different colour...gold, or green maybe, but I haven't decided yet.