Character: Katrina van Tassel
Variant: Striped polonaise gown aka New York arrival gown
Debut: October 2012
The gown is built in the style of a robe à la polonaise which was in fashion during the end of the 18th century (approx. 1770 to 1790). The gown is made of black and white striped cotton fabric, white cotton for the lining of the bodice and black cotton for the lining of the skirt. The back of the gown is cut ‘en fourreau’. This means that the back of the gown is cut in one piece and pleated. The pleats are stitched down to the lining of the bodice. Apart from that, the gown has a waist seam. The skirt is pleated into the waist seam. The stripes of the pleated skirt line up with the stripes of the bodice. The skirt of the gown is tied up to form the puffed back drape. For that reason, the style of the gown is called ‘robe à la polonaise’.
The sleeves are two-part. The stripes join at the front and back seams and form perfect Vs. The front edges of the gown hook onto the eyes of the separate vest. There’s also a decorative closing at the neckline, a slip knot made of a white cord.
The neckline, front opening and sleeves are decorated with ruffles of black and white striped cotton, a frayed organza ribbon and a self-made black lace trim. For the lace trim with that special leafy design, two types of black lace appliqués and a black lace trim were cut into small pieces and recomposed in a different design by sewing them onto a black satin ribbon.
The screen-used gown seems to have a so-called ‘Zone front’, it seems to close in front with the help of an A shaped stomacher (The stomacher is pinned to the stays. Then the edges of the front opening of the gown are pinned to the stomacher). In contrast to this period way, we decided to make a vest instead. The vest is slightly stiffened with fusible interfacing and steel boning. The vest closes in the back with hook and eye tape.
The skirt is made in a period way. The pattern of the skirt is quite simple, because there’s just one rectangular front and one rectangular back piece. Each skirt piece is pleated into a wide bias tape as waist band, and then the sides are sewn together. The skirt is closed by first fasting the back straps with a slip knot and then the front straps with a slip knot in the back. The front part of the skirt is made of the same black and white striped cotton than the gown itself, but the back part is made of white cotton fabric.
The skirt is decorated with two types of ruffles. The big gathered ruffle in the back is made of the same black and white striped cotton than the gown itself. The front ruffles are made of a different black and white cotton fabric with wider stripes. In contrast to the back ruffles, the two small front ruffles are box pleated.
Jewelry, headdress and underwear
On promotional pictures, Katrina wears a floral dark silver necklace with the gown, but in the movie itself, she wears a black velvet ribbon with a golden star pendant with the striped polonaise.
The headdress is made of white cotton, white transparent Organza, white semi-transparent Organza and satin ribbon in black and white. The decorative bow is sewn onto a comb.
In order to achieve the period look of a robe à la polonaise, stays, a bustle pad and a petticoat are worn underneath. I wear black half-boots, black and white striped tights and a purse made of remnant fabric with the gown.