Sacque Back Gown and Caraco Jacket
By Thimbles and Acorns
The Sacque-Back Gown, as it was commonly known in England and the American Colonies, originated in France as the robe à la française as an undress fashion. Undress meant that they were informal articles of clothing that were presentable enough to wear inside one’s home while entertaining, but not something one would wear in public. It’s most notable feature was the box pleats which fell loose from the shoulder to the hem. At its most informal, this gown was unfitted in both the front and back and called a contouche, or robe battante. The style was not limited to gowns, but also carried over into shortened jacket forms that were called caracos or pet en l’air. The jackets were originally knee length, but shortened to just above the hips as the century progressed. Toward the middle of the 18th century, the Sacque-Back had emerged as one of the most fashionable gowns, and by the 1770s, it was second only to court dress in its formality. As these gowns gained popularity, the artist Antoine Watteau captured their elegance in many of his paintings which later led to them being referred to as Watteau Gowns. As an added bonus, the sleeves from Thimbles and Acorns patterns labeled with a letter “E” beneath the pattern number can be used interchangeably, making even more design possibilities.