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About Robings

As usual, though I haven’t been posting, I have been working on my new dress. With the Francaise Dinner less than a month away, I thought it was time to share my progress.


I’m following the same construction methods as with my rose francaise, draping the front pieces without a waist seam.
I started with a fitted lining that has lacing down the back for adjustability.


The back pleats were draped on the form using a full width of fabric. The excess was smoothed under the pleats and stitched down, and then smoothed towards the side seams.

To drape the front piece and robings, I used a half width of fabric. I later trimmed this down to about 20 inches, but the width you need will depend on your size and the fabric you are using. When I draped my rose francaise the extra taffeta looked nice in the skirt, but the brocade I’m using is much thicker and heavier and I found I needed far less fabric to make the skirt pleats work.  

To start the robings I pressed a 1 inch seam allowance under on the full length of the front piece.

I then folded a 2 inch pleat on the right side of the fabric, bringing the pleat on the wrong side to ¼ inch from the pressed edge of the fabric. This forms a knife pleat that runs from your shoulder to hip. I also only make the pleat as long as my front lining piece, leaving the rest of the front skirt free. I find it’s easiest to form the pleat flat rather than draping it on the form. Also, I don’t press the pleat with the iron. Instead I hold it in place with pins so I can adjust it if needed.

After I made the pleat I traced the armscythe in chalk onto the right side of the fabric. I then cut away the approximately the first 1/3 of the shape. Don’t cut the whole shape out. I find that the angle of the bottom of the armscythe will shift when you are draping the rest of the front piece, but it’s very helpful to have the shoulder shape started when you attach it to the lining. The top edge of the pleat is folded under and stitched along the shoulder seam of the lining.

To attach the front lining to the robing, I lined up the lining with the inner edge of the robing pleat. I then whipstitched the pieces together, catching the lining, inner pleat edge, and the underside of the outer piece of fabric. I didn’t go all the way through to the outside of the fabric, but I made sure to secure all the layers.

I hope that made sense and you find it helpful. I don’t claim this method to be 100% accurate since I haven’t done enough research, but this is just how it made sense to me. Up next side seams and skirt pleats.

Posted: 2/2/2014 3:39:48 PM by Aubry | with comments
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Project Details

Chocolate Brocade Francaise