FOUNDATIONS REVEALED COMPETITION ENTRY
Outline the story …
Gertrud Chodziesner (pen name Kolmar), was a German Jewish poet whose final surviving work, Welten (Worlds), was written from August to December of 1937, and features a poem, Barsoi (Borzoi), about her beloved Borzoi, Flora, which was the inspiration for this ensemble. In 1938, her father was forced to sell the family home in a rural suburb of Berlin and they had to relocate. Flora was given to a neighbor for her (Flora's) sake, though Gertrud missed her deeply. Gertrud did not survive the Holocaust, though some of her family members did. She chose to stay with her father.
As seems to be a common theme with Borzoi people, Gertrud had a deep romantic streak, which could be seen in her poems, full of rich imagery and motifs drawn from the natural world, which have a dream like, once upon a time quality of places and times that never existed, except in the imagination. I chose to create a practical ensemble from the 1930s that the narrator of Barsoi (Borzoi) could have worn, with a vividly, Orientalist inspired color palette, that draws from the color and imagery of the author's poems. I chose to include a 1910s corset underneath the rest of the outfit; Gertrud had a ill-fated love affair in 1915 which is referenced in her poem, Sehnsucht (Yearning) (also in Welten (Worlds)) which also mentions a Borzoi in passing. I wanted to create something joyful that celebrated her life and writing, from one Borzoi lover to another.
Outline the construction…
Sewn on a back clamping foot Singer 66 from 1909-1910, lotus decals. A wonderful, friendly machine
Trousers: teal cotton dobby, vintage button from grandmother's stash, teal covered buttons: will not use modern button molds again, they are The Worst. This was my first pair of real trousers. Had done jodhpurs to work up to the trousers, because jodhpurs need less fitting. Will make the pockets deeper next time; I felt the pockets were a bit stingy. The pattern was Simplicity 2395, a vintage 1937 trouser pattern from Lady Marlowe Patterns on Etsy, heavily edited for my Edwardian, not 1930s, hip to waist proportions. Quite proud of the fit in the rear.
Blouse: Persimmon orange rayon. Self drafted, kimono sleeve tunic. French seams. I love this pattern. It's very cheap on fabric. Second pattern I ever drafted.
Camiknickers: Dusty rose rayon. 1930s self drafted pattern from Haslam Dressmaking, number I-Don't-Remember, from Mrs DePew Vintage on Etsy. Did a rolled hem on all edges as a seam finish before sewing seams, was playing with the rolled hem foot on my machine. First pattern I ever drafted.
1910s corset: Iridescent Halictid bee bluey-green silk, green cotton canvas. Bone casings black twill tape. Foundations Revealed 1910s Jen Thompson corset. Pattern altered for 26" waist as per instructions. My first corset.
Cap: Shell Pattern Cap, A Stitch in Time: Vintage Knitting & Crochet Patterns 1920-1949: Vol 1, by Susan Crawford and Jane Waller
Forearm crutch: Handmade, Osage Orange wood, Pewter Borzoi casting, stainless steel.