FOUNDATIONS REVEALED COMPETITION ENTRY
Outline the story …
Sophie Hatter comes from the world of "Howl's Moving Castle" by Diana Wynne Jones. She has low self esteem and even lower hopes for a happy future, being the eldest sister of three. Unknowing to her, she has the power to imbue the hats she makes with magical qualities by talking to them. This ability catches the attention of various individuals and Sophie is drawn into a world of wizards and witches, fire demons, living scarecrows, princes and politics. Along the way she makes wonderful self-discoveries and fine friends.
This magical setting gave me a light impression of steampunk, but I like to imagine it to have more of an 1860s undertone. And thus 1860's Sophie Hatter was born. A wrapper work dress of coarse cotton seemed the way to go as Sophie is very practical and work oriented. An apron is essential to protect your dress from getting dirty. Two layers of petticoats(although only one can be seen) because even though she is a witch, Sophie is still a respectable lady. And to top it all off, a spoon bonnet decorated with flowers. It references her father's millinery shop, the hats she made and the flower field that Howl showed her as a token of his affection. The brown colour of the hat was chosen as Sophie is very grounded and always seeks practical solutions amidst all the craziness she is surrounded by. The frills on the apron and bottom of the petticoat is because I wanted to be extra.
Outline the construction…
Starting from the top, I made an 1860's spoon bonnet after a pattern from Timely tresses. As the base I used coarse linen that I stiffened with potato starch, then buffed it with a double layer of cotton flannel. The shape is held firm with electrical wires and bias tape. It's covered with brown silk and decorated with fake flowers. A video from Dressing History (Youtube) helped a lot for my first foray into millinery.
The dress is made using Laughing Moon Mercantile's #120 Ladies' wrapper dress pattern. The fabric used is a fairly coarse cotton. The buttonholes were handsewn with linen/cotton/wool-blend knitting thread. This level of pleating and making and using piping is a first for me. It scared me a bit but when I discovered that following the seam allowance carefully made the piping perfect I was very happy. The dress gave me good practice in sewing down a hem almost invisibly by catching only one thread at a time with a whip stitch. Most of the dress, apron and petticoats is sewn with machine, but collars, buttonholes, some hems and more are finished by hand. The apron is self drafted. It's made of two layers of plain-weave, lightweight cotton with ruffle sandwiched between. The petticoat (that can be seen) is made of the same fabric as the apron. It's inspired by American Duchess' instructions for 18th-century petticoats. The hem ruffle is 10 meters long with acrylic lace. I tried gathering with the dental floss method and it worked great!