Aislin Le Galloudec

(click images to to enlarge)

Outline the story …

2020 was a tough year and through a bizarre series of events the only book I ended up reading (or rather, listening to) all year was "Moby Dick". While I definitely wouldn't put it as a favourite book (and honestly feel you could cut half the chapters and not miss much), the feeling of being isolated, far from the people you cared about, surrounded by the vastness of nature and constant, invisible danger - struck pretty close to home. In a time when people all over the world are rediscovering the songs of the whaling era, stepping into that time and space felt very pertinent. My main problem was that none of the characters in Moby Dick are exactly people you want to like or relate to. However thanks to a childhood of Star Trek, if there's one thing I can do really well, it's relate to a ship as a character. I had the idea to create the Peaquod, both as she would have been - a Nantucket Quaker in 1850 - and how she is in the book - a fragile place of safety, between the vastness of the sky and the infinitely greater vastness of the sea.

Outline the construction…

The dress itself is based on the 1851 dress from Patterns of Fashion 1, with a great deal of help from the Victorian Dressmaker. I used the skirt and under bodice pattern more or less as is, and made a simplified pattern for the top bodice. The bodice has piped edges and is almost entirely hand sewn. The skirt tiers are corded gathers, with cartridge pleating at the waist. The material for these was basic calico, reflecting sail cloth, which was painted in acrylics with the sea, sky, whales, the ship against the dawn, and Moby Dick himself hiding on the waistband. The engageants were embroidered onto muslin reflecting the Peaquod's three masts and then lined and finished in silk, and the cap is organdy and silk. I drafted both of these based on photos of the era, particularly looking for images of Nantucket women when I could. The cap does double duty hiding my very 21st century hair. The collar is a vintage piece and gives the final touch. I haven't done anything from this era before and found the fitting of the bodice particularly challenging, even over my best attempt at a period corset that fit, but I'm overall happy with the result - even if the layers of paint make it rather a challenge to get around in




  1. Kitty Mortensen Kitty Mortensen on March 12, 2021 at 9:48 am

    This is so cool- I love your interpretation of this story, Well Done!

  2. Avatar Caitlin Shaw on March 13, 2021 at 10:17 am

    High five for the Moby Dick 1851 bodice! I love your interpretation of this, the Quaker styling is inspired, and I love the expanse of the sea on the bodice and skirts. Gorgeous!

  3. Avatar Mandy Pursley on March 14, 2021 at 2:57 pm

    Wow, this turned out beautifully! You really brought the whole story to life, and the ship is just amazing!

  4. Avatar Rebecca on March 15, 2021 at 4:53 pm

    when i read your concept for this my jaw just dropped. what an amazing concept! i don’t know if you’ve read Ancillary Justice– this almost seemed like a crossover moment to me. and your outfit is just beautiful! so well-considered, and the fabric painting is so cleverly placed! good luck from icarus!

    p.s.– caitlyn doughty (order of the good death and ask a mortician) has a great youtube episode about the true story that inspired Moby Dick. gruesome but fascinating!

  5. Avatar Amanda on March 19, 2021 at 1:14 am

    This is so cool! I love the use of paint combined with the Victorian silhouette, it’s really lovely!

  6. Avatar Carly Van Groeningen on March 19, 2021 at 11:06 am

    Wow, fantastic painting!

  7. Avatar Mandi on March 20, 2021 at 12:47 pm

    This one definitely caught my eye right away. I love the color and addition of paints. The inspiration story is something we can all relate to this year. Well done.

  8. Avatar Kaity Bower on March 22, 2021 at 1:30 am

    Gorgeous! The work that went into this dress is immediately so clear! I loved it from just the picture before reading about the ‘backstory’ for the fabric and design choices, but love it even more now.

  9. Avatar Maeri Certo on March 23, 2021 at 12:59 pm

    Your detailing is incredible! What a fantastic job you did painting your scenes and bringing the book to life. Well done!

  10. Avatar Alice Si on March 28, 2021 at 5:30 pm

    Beautiful work 💕

  11. Avatar Stephanie Murison on March 29, 2021 at 4:21 pm

    This is incredible! You definitely captured the feeling of being in a tiny ship surrounded by the vastness of the ocean in your painting! Such a creative idea to paint the scene onto your historical costume, well done!

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