FOUNDATIONS REVEALED COMPETITION ENTRY
Caitlin’s Call Me Ishmael
Outline the story …
"Moby Dick" was written by Herman Melville in 1851. It details the story of Ishmael on his voyage on the whaling boat "The Pequod", led by Captain Ahab's vengeful quest against "Moby Dick"; the giant albino sperm whale that bit off his leg on a previous expedition. The book is a classic in literature, but also provides an interesting account of whaling in the nineteenth century and the dangers (and vulgarities) sailors faced in order to source precious oil and blubber primarily used for lighting, and in the case of fashion, baleen.
This bodice details the treacherous seas the Pequod sailed, and (spoilers,) the moment leading up to it's demise. The bodice is based on 1850s bodices, when the book was writ, but features a much more fanciful neckline (gives a whole new meaning to "boat neck"!) and sleeve pattern, complete with sea-frothy lace, pearl water splashes, and blubber-pink lining.
Outline the construction…
This bodice was drafted by hand from my own bodice block using Janet Arnold's POF books for seam references. One of the most difficult parts was the fit, since this was made (fitted, modelled, photographed and boogied in) by myself, and having no experience in making off the shoulder bodices, or very many bodices in general. I also found out I have quite an uneven back. Sigh. The length of the bodice is longer the period accurate, this was not particularly intended, (I noticed it after photographing it. You know how it goes) but it does conveniently combat me' lack of matchin' skirt or underthings. Arrr, me hearties. Though, this bodice also features 3 pairs of lined sleeves, so getting those in was also nightmare fuelling.
Painting on velvet is also an experience -though quite enjoyable- a terrifying endeavour once you've spent many an hour hand sewing expensive, problematic silk velvet. Almost all of this project is hand sewn. The main seams being backstitched, the lining slip stitched. This bodice is almost entirely heavily interlined to support the neckline and sleeve shape.
The devil's in the details. The water splashes-turned-pearls are attached to guitar strings so they spring from the waves, these line the neckline and the two upper sleeves. The whale is chain stitched embroidered with beading for that extra sparkle, and the boat masts are painted cocktail sticks with thread rigging, for the sailor that likes crudités.