Monday, 11 July 2016

Un habit d'étiquette

Monsieur wished for some new clothes for the Grand Bal in Lucca, and he wanted it to be fitting for a court ball, thus he made it very clear that his green woollen coat will not do, and that I've promised him a new outfit years ago. True: I started the jacket and the culottes in black silk taffetas last year, originally destined for him to wear in Malmaison, for the 2ième Jubilé Impérial. As so often, it wasn't to be. He was sick like a dog the whole week before the event and dragged himself more or less out of the hotel room for the official bits, but wore his new silk waistcoat with silver bullion embroidery and his old reliable fraque (way underdressed, but I simply couldn't finish in time)

For Lucca, he searched for a year for nice cut-steel buttons, and was asking me more or less non-stop 'I will have my new outfit, won't I?'
To my friends great amusement I was sewing like a princess in a fairytale most of Friday and Saturday, stitch, gossip, eat nothing what could stain, stitch, stitch.
I managed the buttonholes in the culottes (don't look too closely), but had then to decide between covering buttons or setting in sleeves.
The sleeves won, as he could always wear his off-white culottes, but no fraque, that wouldn't do. And thus I've sat in our room, basting, matching, ironing, sewing. I discovered that tailoring is not my pleasure, nor my gift. And when he saw the state of my poor joints afterwards, he contacted a tailor the same evening to start a business relationship for his future wardrobe extension, to my great relief.

Anyway: here are some pictures, I am still quite proud he looked that handsome.
Picture by Coltrane Koh,

The outer material is silk taffeta, the curved edge reinforcement is very starched linen (basically glued linen. The body (and the tails, because they are cut in one) are lined with handwoven silk, the sleeves in muslin (I've run out of silk at the time). The pocket flaps are just that. Flaps. No pockets. The embroidered buttonholes didn't manifest in time, but I doubt anyone noticed, as his buttons were sparkly enough to attract all attention.
Sewing during the garden fete at Palazzo Pfanner
Picture by Antonia Mandic

The culottes were not finished (or rather the buttons were not), thus he's still wearing his woolen culottes, still with the 2 year old waistcoat (new one in red silk satin needs buttonholes, but I guess he'll have it for the next event)

For closing the most fairytale like picture (fitting to the enchanted seamstress, luckily not being the Lady of Shalott, even though I wanted so badly to leave my tower and go out into the town), by Charo Palacios:
Picture by Charo Palacios
I for myself wore the Vernet Toilette de Spectacle, the beautiful comb Monsieur presented me with two years ago in the back of the coiffure, the new comb flanked by silk flowers on the front. My dressing was actually faster than Monsieurs, including a quick wash and hairdo I was finished in 8 minutes. 

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