Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Simplicity 8578 the American Duchess Sacque Back Gown pattern

It was a success! I have been wanting to make a sacque back gown since watching Dangerous Liaisons when it first hit the theaters wayyyyyy back in my youth. I tried unsuccessfully to make one almost 3 years ago and I screwed it up amazingly. I used the JP Ryan pattern (I love JP Ryan patterns!) but this style did not work for me. On her pattern the front of the gown is essentially draped and I could not get it to work at all. About a year after that I was reading Period Costume for Stage and Screen. The author mentioned the easiest style sacque to make was one with a separate front bodice piece. There is an older Simplicity pattern that is a sacque of this style and the stomacher closes up the middle with hooks and eyes. It's out of print but can be bought on the secondary market. However along came the AD Simplicity 8578 sacque and I rejoiced! It has the separate front bodice piece I was looking for. Yay!

Pattern info:

Pattern is for the gown and petticoat. You will need panniers, stays, 1 under petticoat to add fluff. The gown is a fabric hog and the yardage requested is fairly accurate.

If you want to cut down on yardage you could just make your petticoat out of two 54 inch widths of fabric cut to the length you need. You can find directions on line to make a basic petticoat. The petticoat in the Simplicity 8578 pattern has a center piece and two side pieces for front and back. Hence the (6ish) yardage requirement. Several of my fancy gowns just have a basic two panel front and back petticoat. My panniers are average size. At my height (5ft 4ish) I can usually get away with 2.5 yards of 54 wide fabric for one petticoat.


I used silk taffeta from Silk Baron. Gorgon for the gown and Regatta for the petticoat. As far as trim I decided to keep the petticoat solid Regatta blue so I can wear it with another gown if I want to. Of course that would require me to make another gown......

Size and alterations:

I made size 20, bust 42. I didn't do a lot of alterations. This style gown is somewhat adjustable in size because of the ties on the inside back and the stomacher. I also knew this would be my first go around with this pattern so I would only do basic fitting tweaks. I had to shorten the bodice about 1/2 an inch because it was a bit too long and looking pretty janky over my panniers. The sleeves are a bit roomy so I did a 1/2 inch thin arm adjustment (I do not have thin arms. Mine are average don't ever work out middle-aged lady arms.) That's about it.

Side note:

Something to check next time. In the pictures on the Simplicity web site the front of the gown is longer than the petticoat. Mine is just the opposite. The petticoat runs a bit long and I did take a pretty deep hem on it. I like the length but apparently it should be shorter than I have made it. Eh.....no biggie.

Putting it together:

No issues. It is a lot of fabric to move around and it gets cumbersome. The instructions are clear and concise. The back neckline gown to lining RST seam is fussy as hell and mine looked not too good when I was finished. Lol. It's the reason mine has trim going all the way around the back of the neck. For my stomacher I basted one side to the gown and sewed hooks and bars on the other side. It's very easy to put on.

Final notes:

I love my gown. It's not perfect but I am so pleased to have finally made my dream dress! I felt so elegant when I was wearing it! I highly recommend this pattern and I will make another at some point.

I made this gown because I was invited to an 18th century party at the end of September. The Countess was also in attendance as well as some of my other homegirls. It was a magical day & evening!

 The lovely Countess wore her beautiful new gown!

 Ready to greet the guests!

 A fabulous group photo before supper was served. 

After supper photo by In the Long Run Designs. They were so nice to work with!

 Playing cards and winning! 

During the picnic both The Countess and I had scheduled a photo session with In the Long Run Designs. I decided to wear my trusty JP Ryan green silk gown. The Countess also wore green so we were like twins!! Lol, it wasn't planned but we had fun with it anyways. Here are some of the pictures  from the picnic.

 The green chicas

Contemplating nefarious shenanigans.... 

 A stroll in the garden.

Defending my virtue! 

The Countess looking pretty saucy!

This event was one of the highlights of my year! I have made some wonderful friends in the last few years and I am truly grateful for the good times we have together.

Thanks for stopping by and sorry I have been SO VERY neglectful of my little blog.


  1. Love your dresses. That is a lot of fabric. Thanks for the great description of everything you did.

  2. I love the dark colors of your fabric! You really stand out in the group photo too. Beautiful work on it and great color combination.