Embroidered Engageantes

My excellent plan to avoid making my Francaise back in the day involved doing other things, like embroidered engageantes/sleeve ruffles for my pen en l’air.

I had two pairs of 18th century engageantes I could study in person. One pair was not matching and is simply embroidered using tambour embroidery / Point de Beauvais, the other one was a matching pair of Dresden whitework engageantes.


The hems are back stitches and buttonhole stitches.


Dresden whitework, comparable pieces are dated 1760 -1780

That close study reveaed that I don’t have the hands, eyes and patience to pull off either technique.

But thankfully these aren’t the only ruffles to study:


LACMA, Pair of Woman’s Engageantes Probably England, circa 1760, possibly doable.

But my research  also revealed that despite all the myth-making around 18th Century gossamer fabrics, you can find comparably fine cotton fabrics in the here and now. (Now linen… that one is a problem.) Granted the cotton fabric I found in my local store is a close match to the Tambour ruffles fabric, not the Dresden – and while its close enough, it’s not identical.

I didn’t want a one-yard-plus sized pair. This was only partially motivated by my laziness and more by more observation of the orginals. A yard long engageante is surprisingly full and struck me as little bit too “gala gown” for my pet en l’air. But research revealed plenty of original engageantes with a width of 25 to 30 inches.

Anyway, I took the fabric and traced out in pencil some patterns I borrowed from the internet and printed out on transparent paper. Then I embroidered.


This took a while.

Then I did some hemming….


Then I put it together, pulled a ribbon through the tunnel at the top, starched it and called it a day:





They could be wider but they work very well for the pet en l’air.

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