FOUNDATIONS REVEALED COMPETITION ENTRY
Nightfall in the WildWood
Outline the story …
Cyanotype was invented as a photography process in the 1840s. It has also been used to capture delicate botany by creating prints of pressed flowers and leaves in rich Prussian blue and white.
I deeply admire the process which feels like a mix of dye and photography, bringing me back to my college darkroom photography days.
Inspired by the paintings The Fairy Dance and Question to the Stars by Karl Wilhelm Diefenbach, I created an homage to the woodlands in evening. The foliage at the bottom is thick with ferns, spruces, wildflowers, and a tangle of leaves drifting upwards in a light breeze. The top of the skirt settles into small fern fronds and forget-me-not flowers reminiscent of the night sky.
The bodice unveils the woodland theme with a more dainty and magical floral note. Ferns spring up followed by wildflowers, foliage, and more forget-me-nots reaching softly into the sky.
The blouse extends the sky, in drifting cloud-like fabric with a hand painted, subtle star print. This fabric was inspired by John Atkinson Grimshaw’s Spirit of the Night painting depicting a fairy above a city draped in a sheer cloth speckled with stars.
I finished the enchanting ensemble with a handmade dewdrop glass necklace and hair pins for extra twinkle. It’s ready for star spotting on a warm woodland night as a full outfit or separates.
Outline the construction…
My goal was wearable separates, focusing on the fabric design.
I made a rectangle skirt with a large front panel, two smaller back panels, waist band, drawstrings, and rounded pockets. Edges finished with an overlock or pinking sheers.
I cut the bodice from a pattern by Lunneth on Etsy with pinking sheers and seamed it together to create a unified printing surface.
The skirt and bodice are cotton sateen to accept the cyanotype.
Cyanotype printing was the largest hurdle and had to be done indoors in a stable environment. Once saturated with cyanotype solution and dry, it was moved to the exposure area for print design.
In dim lighting I hand placed thousands of dried leaves and flowers with tweezers.
After a 4 hour exposure under UV LEDs the solution is rinsed, the fabric air dried, and machine washed twice.
I sewed the skirt together first, with a back invisible zipper and waist clasp with drawstrings in the back waistband and a hand stitched hem. The bodice has sew-over boning in channels with top stitching to secure it. I used a machine eyelet as a template then hand stitched each eyelet on top.
The blouse pattern is an adjusted Mood’s Onella top and two part sleeves from McCall’s M8123 by Angela Clayton. The blouse is a stretch nylon, hand painted with a star pattern using Speedball screen printing ink.
I finished it all by making a dewdrop inspired glass necklace and hair pins.
COUNTRY: United States.
What It’s like to compete:
I’ve never done anything like this before, the competition, or the garment. I’m so glad I did. It pushed me to try things I’ve never done, just to see if I could. I learned so much in the process and feel more prepared to take on larger or more complex sewing and craft projects.