A Painted Sunset





(click images to to enlarge)

Other Credits

Caitlin - model

Outline the story …

There were so many design ideas for this one! However, for me, the over-riding ideas that I kept coming back to and what I love most about nature were the night skies - the stars and the Aurora Borealis (which I would love to see one day). My daughter has painted these scenes many times so I asked her if she would like to help me design a bodice (and paint it for me, but she changed her mind on that). The dress would then be made for her. Truth to tell, we had some artistic differences at first, but in the end we decided to replicate an original painting of a sunset, mountains and lake that she had painted a couple of years ago. I made some initial design sketches with a painted, corseted bodice and a ground-length flowing skirt to mimic the water of the lake and the reflection of the sunset upon it. My daughter designed the sleeves herself as a final touch - long and flowing to match the idea of the water, but with the colour of the sunset. She is pleased with the result which has a fantasy feel to it.

Outline the construction…

I already had a pattern for a corset (see resources) which I would use for the bodice with a slight alteration to raise the top edge. For the skirt, I used a pattern in The Victorian Dressmaker (1903 day dress) and adjusted it to my daughter's measurements.
I decided on a navy duchess satin fabric for the base of the night sky and dark waters of the lake. For the strength layer on the corseted bodice I used a navy twill. Synthetic whalebone was used for the boning, metal grommets and a navy ribbon for the lacing. The binding was made from bias strips of the same satin. To give the idea of flowing water, chiffon was chosen for the overskirt layers - a navy to match the satin along with 2 pinks and a purple to give the appearance of the sunset's reflection on the lake. I find chiffon a difficult fabric to sew with, but I overcame this with draping and hand sewing. I have always preferred to hand sew, but my machine sewing has improved and so all the major seams were sewn on that. The binding on the bodice plus the hems on the skirts and sleeves were sewn by hand.
I have never painted fabric before! I researched fabric paints and watched tutorials on YouTube for painting on satin. I did find this tricky and it needed several layers, but I am satisfied with the result for a first attempt.




  1. Avatar Stephanie on April 29, 2023 at 5:27 pm

    I love everything about this, it’s beautiful and one of a kind!

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