Marie Antoinette movie gown

The next commission on my agenda is recreating the pale blue polonaise gown from Sophia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette. The award winning costumes in this film are gorgeous and feminine and the color palette simply delectable! Some of my favorites are the pale blue robe and the zone front gown.

Marie Antoinette movie gownMarie Antoinette

The gown I have been commissioned to make is based upon two Marie Antoinette gowns- a pink closed robe and the pale blue polonaise.

marie antoinette movie gownmarie antoinette film gownmarie antoinette gownmarie antoinette robe a la polonaise

The cut of this dress will be based upon the blue polonaise but the fabric and color selection is based upon the pink closed robe. Thus, the final dress will be a matte pink satin taffeta polonaise.

It will be worn over pocket hoops and a period corset. I am putting together the pocket hoops as well but not the corset. The corset has been commissioned elsewhere.

I am very much looking forward to the challenge of this project. I have not had any 18th century commissions in quite some time and I am excited about revisiting this time period.

Step 1: The initial muslin
The first step in the construction of the Marie Antoinette gown is complete. After reviewing a variety of historical images, I devised a pattern that will be most appropriate for recreating the blue polonaise gown from Sophia Coppola’s film Marie Antoinette.

historical clothing construction books

I have finished the mock- up (also known as the muslin or toile) and made necessary alterations and notes for the final cutting.

robe a la polonaise muslin18th century bodice18th century bodice pattern

I am electing not to make this gown en fourreau. This will allow more control over the center back gathers as I want this area of the skirting to be quite full.

Interestingly enough, 18th century gowns used minimal seaming in the construction of their bodices- electing instead to use a variety of tucks or pleats to fit the bodice to the curves of the upper body. The majority of these tucks appear at the back of the bodice.

18th century bodice tuckinginitial muslin

The initial sleeve is completely flat and fits quite smoothly into the bodice armscye. However, I am cutting the final sleeve a little wider at the top to allow for some gathering. This will more closely match the original film gown and also serve as an aesthetic balance for the fully gathered skirt that will attach in polonaise style to the bottom of the bodice.

Finally, I took the muslin apart and used it as my final pattern. Included is a preview of the gorgeous pale pink dull luster satin taffeta I will be using for the final gown.

18th century bodice patternbridal satin

Step 2: The Bodice construction
I have chosen to line the bodice with a very pale peach cotton broadcloth. For this gown, I used a heavier weight broadcloth because I wanted a lining that would hold its shape underneath the satin taffeta. I also applied some very light boning as shown in Janet Arnold’s Patterns of Fashion.

Beginnings of the Marie Antoinette film gown’s final bodice:

robe a la polonaise bodicerobe a la polonaise bodice

Ruching detail: Front and back

18th century bodice18th century bodice

At the request of my client, I have omitted the sleeve flounces.

robe a la polonaise bodice

Except for the front panel, which will hide the hook and eye closure, the bodice is now complete. There are a few hand details I will add when the gown is finished.

Step 3: Completion of the Gown

robe a la polonaiserobe a la polonaisemarie antoinette costume gown

Thanks so much to Sarah for choosing me to make this dress! It was loads of fun to make and I hope it makes you feel as gorgeous as Marie Antoinette herself! Have an enchanting prom!

About Susan

Hi! My name is Susan and I am a historian, seamstress, teacher, mother, and wife. My passion for history has manifested itself in the art of recreating clothing from different periods of time. Growing up in the American South, I am heavily schooled in the art of recreating clothing from the 19th century. After nearly a decade of immersing myself primarily in the Victorian period, I found the need to branch out and explore other periods of time. However, it is my connection with the American South and the clothing of rural America that continues to be the driving force behind my designs.

3 thoughts on “Marie Antoinette movie gown

  1. Oh how beautiful! Pink is my favorite color so I love the gown you made. However I have a blue striped silk much like the inspiration gown! I’ve been in a quandry about it but the movie photos help a lot. Thank you!

  2. Thanks ladies! I am glad to hear this post has been helpful and inspiring! It was a really great project to work on! The young lady whom this dress was created for was quite young- thus the sweet, delicate applications! Happy sewing everyone!

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