1780s Sleeve & Neckline Ruffles | American Duchess 18th Century Dressmaking


In between my recent late 19th century sewing projects, I squeezed in a 1780s robe a l'Anglaise with inverted back pleats - stay tuned for a detailed post about it. To finish the look, I made detachable sleeve and neckline ruffles. 

The ruffles are made of cotton voile, hemmed with a rolled hem and then whip gathered to a linen tape. 

I used the instructions in the American Duchess Guide to 18th Century Dressmaking, however my neck ruffle is 1.5x the width of my neckline rather than 2x as the book suggested so that I could take advantage of my 60" wide cotton voile. I think the fullness of the finished neck ruffle is fine. 

The sleeve ruffles are 2x the width of the sleeve hems. The book doesn't actually give a height measurement for the sleeve ruffles; I cut mine 2.5 inches tall.

These pieces were all cut from scraps from a regency dress I made ages ago. 

I really enjoyed working with the cotton voile - it was soft and didn't fray as much as I think an organza would have. The ruffles are a nice balance between opaque and sheer, and really make the outfit feel complete.

The completed ruffles were then basted into my gown. I'm so glad I took the time to work on this little detail!

This wonderful photo was taken by Amanda (La Princesse Sirene) at the New York Historical Costumer Society Fraunces Tavern Dinner. You can see how the ruffles disguise some gapping in the neckline of my dress - I think I need stays with "thrust" like the Scroop Augusta stays to get my body in the right 1780s shape. My wonderful black silk hat was made by Jess (GeorgianSewn) and I highly recommend her for your 18th century millinery needs!

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