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Brianda on the run
Outline the story …
Brianda is on the run - she needs to save her family, her house, her crops, her island and her life. There is no time get dressed - and here she is!
In the book Lendas da História de Portugal, by Carlos Rebelo, a short story takes the name of Brianda Pereira, the character that I decided to bring to life. It was the Battle of Salga, 1581. The Terceira island on the Azores archipelago was about to be subdued by the Spanish Armada, but the strength and wit of Brianda prevailed, as she inspired men and women to resist, and saw to send all the cattle in the island against the Spanish troops, ultimately expelling the enemy.
Historical accounts tell that Brianda fled her home as it burnt, leaving her injured family behind, portraying her as a mad woman seen desperate in her stays and skirts.
Therefore, the stays were my choice of garment, complimented by a silk dress of mine and a make-shift skirt. As much as the look is inspired by a historical character, it is not meant to be historical - I was sewing for a legend, after all.
Outline the construction…
I began with a mock up based on the Dorothea stays. Little adjustment was needed, but half an inch from the torso had to be shaved off, and the armscye needed to be moved towards the front and give me more room to my peculiar fleshy bits. The final object was constructed with linen as fashion fabric, remains of an old curtain as the middle layer and cotton for the lining. The square neckline was sewn against the lining, so that only the armscyes and hem needed to be finished with tape. The bones as well as the busk were simply sewn in between the linen and the middle layer. I tried to floss the bones but it just didn't look right to me, so at the end I went for a casual and rustic running stitch along the under bust with embroidery thread. The lining was a bit messy and sadly cut too short, so that it had to be left loose and could not attached to the outer layers.
I wanted something else other than tabs, so I made the bodice longer and frilly on the sides in exchange. The front bodice is cut in only one piece, and pleated just under the boning.