Adinda de Vries

(click images to to enlarge)

Outline the story …

As a child I loved the paint-by-numbers kits, especially those of landscapes. And although I never got to paint one until I was an adult, this was the first thing I thought of when the theme for this competition was ‘the natural world’: I would make my own paint-by-numbers dress!
The main challenge was to choose a design. What kind of outfit would show off the landscape best? I am most used to making modern dresses, but that didn’t feel right. Nature feels older and stronger too me, so I wanted this dress to have an older and stronger silhouette as well.
It took some brainstorming, but I eventually settled on a dress from the late bustle era. The relatively straight skirts with minimal pleating would give me a clear canvas and the strong, curvy silhouette would suit the strong curvy lines of the landscape.
The landscape I had in mind is an amalgamation of landscapes I know well (the Netherlands) and really love to visit (Ireland and France). I mainly took inspiration of the colours of the (farm)land, the animals and the trees. The other inspiration for the final dress were the strong black lines of paint-by-number-kits.

Outline the construction…

Since I had never made anything for this era before, I started out with the undergarments. I used Laughing Moon 100 for the chemise, drawers and corset, Truly Victorian 108 for the bustle and TV 170 for the petticoat. I used cotton for all garments: cotton voile for the drawers, chemise, petticoat and ruffles on the bustle, cotton twill for the corset and unbleached cotton for the corset lining, the bustle structure and the coat and skirt. I used synthetic whalebone for the corset.

After finishing the undergarment, I used TV 261 and 462 to make mock ups for the skirt and bodice. To best show the landscape, I eliminated as many pleats and folds as possible from to keep my ‘canvas’ as flat as possible while still retaining some movement. On my final mock ups, I drew out the shapes of the landscape. I patterned all the landscape elements separately and dyed them by hand using fabric paint. I had never dyed fabric before, but wanted to ‘paint’ all these pieces by hand to have more control. This was a challenge, especially when a painting mistake with the small pieces set me back two weeks, but I am really pleased with the result.

To evoke the feel of a colouring page, I edged all the larger landscape elements with black cotton bias tape and satin stitched with black around the smaller pieces. Finally, I hand-sewed all elements onto the base skirt and bodice and added closures.




  1. Avatar Laura Pelofske on April 26, 2023 at 9:40 pm

    My jaw just dropped! There is a bit of “camp” to it, which I mean as a compliment. I just love it.

  2. Avatar Christiane Christiane Edel on May 3, 2023 at 9:56 pm

    Such an imaginative idea, I love it!

  3. Avatar Stella of Stellarland on May 6, 2023 at 9:52 pm

    What a unique idea and so beautiful result!

  4. Avatar Abigail Lamb on May 8, 2023 at 10:09 pm

    I love this concept and it’s so well executed with the attention to detail.

  5. Avatar Stephanie Stephanie Tietze (list as Piera on the entry if possible please) on May 18, 2023 at 7:53 am

    This is such a fun concept. Every time I’ve been in a plane as an adult, I’ve thought that the landscape below looked like patchwork. Thanks for making such a beautiful, wearable version of that view.

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