FOUNDATIONS REVEALED COMPETITION ENTRY
Dreaming of spring
Outline the story …
"That is one good thing about this world... There are always sure to be more springs." - L.M. Montgomery
When I think of nature I can’t help but think of spring, my favorite season, with fresh green growth and beautiful pink blossoms reaching for the sun. I wanted to make something dreamy, fresh and joyful and combine it with my love of the latter half of the 18th century. Something that would perfectly fit a spring, rococo garden! While I did aim for a silhouette that evoked the late 18th century I chose not to focus on historical accuracy while coming up with the design and instead focused on what fabrics and techniques would best fit my vision.
Once I found this sumptuous green silk jacquard that felt like the embodiment of spring, I immediately knew the gorgeous pattern should take center stage in the design. I chose the big flowery medallion for the back, the smaller flower bouquet design for the front and the bow and flower garland for the sleeves. In terms of trim I decided to keep it quite minimal, with a small ruffle of silk chiffon along the neckline and sleeves.
To balance out the bold dress fabric I chose to use a cream striped silk chiffon petticoat that I had made for a previous 18th century outfit. The soft cream color beautifully compliments it and mirrors the cream shaded bows of the jacquard pattern. To complete the look I added a large decorated bergère hat.
Outline the construction…
While I had made 18th century dresses before I had never combined it with such extensive pattern matching, which turned out to be quite a challenge. Each pattern piece needed to be carefully planned, cut and stitched to ensure a symmetric and harmonious looking result.
The fabric thickness and volume of the skirt fabric also proved to be quite a struggle, as the knifepleated skirt panels turned out to be 1 cm thick. Therefore I had to come up with a new technique to attach the skirt by folding over the top of the skirt fabric, knifepleating it and only whipstitching the visible part of the knifepleats to the bodice. To control and keep the pleats in place I sewed three rows of looping backstitches and handstitched horsehair to the hem to make sure the skirt folded nicely. The bodice is boned along the seams and closes in the front with hooks and bars.
The petticoat consists of two layers of silk chiffon with a large ruffle on the bottom. Everything except the bodice lining and straight skirt seams have been hand sewn (including 19 meters of hand-rolled hem on the slippery chiffon petticoat). The American Duchess 18th century guide and Patterns of fashion were used while drafting the patterns and for construction techniques.
For the bergère I used a basic straw hat, altered the brim size and crown and added millinery wire along the brim to shape it. Its decorated with hand dyed silk fabric, flowers and feathers.
What It’s like to compete:
Exciting and rewarding. If you’re on the fence don’t hesitate to give it a go. It really helps to challenge yourself on trying new things and gives you a deadline to work towards.