Vena Cava Design

Historical Sewing Patterns (Women)

Pet-en-lair or Robe à la Française

Pet-en-lair or Robe à la Française

The robe la fran aise was one of the most flattering gowns worn by ladies in the 18th century. Fitted closely to the torso in the front, the back of the gown hangs 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-lair. The enclosed pattern is for the pet-en-lair, sleeve flounces and stomacher only. Directions are given for extending the pet-en-lair 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 pet-en-lairs, as shown in Patterns of Fashion 1, by Janet Arnold; and in the collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, robe la fran aise, c.1755-1770, CI 43-90-49; gold satin caraco (pet-en-lair) and petticoat c. 1775, CI 37-57 ab.

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