FOUNDATIONS REVEALED COMPETITION ENTRY
Outline the story …
The Star Money by the Brothers Grimm (German title: Die Sterntaler) is a story about a kind hearted nameless orphan who hasn't got a home and has nothing left but the clothes on her body and a loaf of bread to eat. She wanders around and meets an old hungry man begging for food who she gives her loaf of bread. On her way she also meets three children who are freezing in the cold who she gives all her clothes to. The kind girl thought to herself: "It's a dark night so no one will see me naked" so she even gave her shift away. Now that she gave everything she had for others suddenly the stars began falling down. Twinkling and shining they turned out to be silver coins (Taler) and was given a new shift from the finest linen in which she collected the falling star money. She was rich for the rest of her life.
I chose the fairy tale because I liked the shortness and creative constraints because of the little bit of concrete information about what the main character wears at the end of the story.
I wanted to explore the themes of stars, richness in combination with a kind and humble character and how far I could stretch the imagination of a shift/shirt/undergarment into a gown without loosing the original idea. I clustered the main characteristics of the character I had in mind for the dress: kindness, simplicity, vulnerability, purity, softness, warmth and youthfulness.
Outline the construction…
After I had pulled myself back from the idea to make a starry, shiny, elaborate princess gown I settled down on what I would call a regency style dress with nightgown undertone, because it gave me the chance to be both simple yet elegant. I wanted to incorporate small details like the stars button closure and the stars lace to refer to the star coins without being the main focus.
I used the round gown from the 18th century dressmaking book as a base to work on. It was my first time scaling up an historical pattern. It worked out quite well but I had to elongate the bust part and take in a lot from the sides. I also had to change the closure from being a drawstring in the front to buttons in the back. The sleeves were drafted based on a pattern from Kosedos Lima dress. I kept the overall shape but added the band and the ruffles.
I used a viscose linen blend fabric which has a stunning drape and softness just like I imagined it but it was a hassle to work with It is really flimsy and heavy and does not want to keep it's shape. Because of that I enforced the arm and waistbands with fusible interfacing and lined the bodice with a standard cotton. I also hand gathered all the gathers and sewn them in by hand. But the stays that are not even visible were by far the most annoying thing.