Pet-en-l'air or Robe a la Francaise or Sack Back Gown or Wattau Gown Sewing Pattern
Pet-en-l'air or Robe a la Francaise or Sack Back Gown or Wattau Gown Sewing Pattern by JP Ryan
The robe a la francaise was one of the most flattering gowns ever worn by ladies in the 18th century. Fitted closely to the torso in the front, the back of the gown hung in graceful pleats from shoulder to hemline. This style was popular from the 1750's through the 1770's. In its shortened jacket form, it was usually called a pet-en-l'air. How this name came to be applied to this garment is open to speculation, as the literal translation of pet-en-l'air is "fart in the air." Perhaps that is why some have opted to call this jacket a caraco, which is a more acceptable, if ambiguous, name.The enclosed pattern is for the pet-en-l'air, sleeve flounces and stomacher only. Directions are given for extending the pet-en-l'air into a gown. In addition, instructions and cutting layout are included for making a petticoat which will hang gracefully over pocket hoops.
This original pattern is based on extant examples of sack gowns and pets-en-l'air, as shown in Patterns of Fashion 1 by Janet Arnold, and in the collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, robe a la francaise c.1755-1770, CI 43-90-49; gold satin caraco (pet-en-l'air) and petticoat c.1775, CI 37-57ab.
This pattern is designed to be worn over stays, and will not fit properly without them. If your waist measurement corresponds to one size, ie 12, and your bust measurement corresponds to another size, ie 14, select the larger of the two measurements to determine your pattern size, which would be 14.
One size per pattern - please choose correct size. Please see back cover photo for sizing chart, fabric and notion requirements.