FOUNDATIONS REVEALED COMPETITION ENTRY
Fishing Net Fancy
Outline the story …
I entered this contest because of the theme. I love fairytales; Italo Calvino’s Italian Folktales is a childhood favorite. It was a lifeline to what seemed a distant Italian heritage, and my favorite stories have always had strong female women in them. Catherine, Sly Country Lass, is a smart ass. The king wishes to speak with her after hearing the advice she has given her father, a farmer, and asks her to show up “neither naked nor clothed”. She shows up draped in a fishing net. She goes on to win the heart and respect of the king. Through her wisdom, she gains the agency to make decisions in his court.
Thus my main dilemma: I don’t want to post images of me practically naked online. My answer was to draw on history: a chemise a la reine would allow me to be ‘clothed’ in my undergarments, while maintain that sense of nudity. Catherine doesn't have the funds to make something nice, so her dress would be pulled together from the fish net her father brought and the burlap sacks found on the farm. She also would have preferred to maintain the fishnet for later use, and as a peasant, would have preferred adjustable clothing. Thus, I turned the garment into a wrap dress and minimized cutting of the fabric. I imagine her taking what she had and turning it into a ‘fancy court dress’ after her long workdays on the farm. Not nice exactly… but trying.
Outline the construction…
The chemise is the first project I’ve made. I generated the pattern using a website—I chose to have ¾ length sleeve. It’s white linen. The neckline is felled, and the rest of the seams were backstitched using white linen thread.
I bought a yard of burlap, cut it into 7” strips, whip stitched the raw edges of the strips for the waistline. I sewed them together and attached them to the fishnet using whip stitches. Although I sewed straight (zigzagged across the squares) across the net, the fabric wasn’t rectangular. I pleated the burlap/fishnet and sewed a burlap red ribbon on top in such a way that it could fasten the waist. For the neckline, I wove another red ribbon (it’s cotton, the first ribbon I ever wove on my inkle loom) through the net to gather it. I took a length of red burlap and folded it into a rose. I sewed the rose to pin down the extra bulk of the neck ruffle, which was asymmetrical due to the fabric shape. The thread was size 10 cotton crochet thread.
I decided last minute to participate, and so I finished this in less than a month. I also only just began sewing, and so this my third project. There was a lot of learning and experimentation and crazed laughter—the fabric was the hardest part because it complicated EVERYTHING from gathering to sewing seams.
All of the sewing was done by hand. I bought the hoop skirt.