The Flowers of the Countryside



Hannah Olech


(click images to to enlarge)

Outline the story …

I was inspired by the painted gowns of the late 18th century, and though painting had fallen out of favor and had been replaced by embroidery in the Regency period, this was not a strictly historical gown, so I thought it would be fun to paint it. I set about thinking of the color palette, I wanted it to be elegant, but bright and playful. I poured over pages and pages of silk choices online. How much fabric would I need? What about accessories? The details of the flowers? What would the lady who would wear this gown be like? I felt she may be a character like Lizzy Bennet- sophisticated and of society, but true to herself in her love of nature and prioritizing what makes her happy instead of caving to others. Certainly this gown would be a bit out there, but not impossible for a Regency lady who loved nature to have worn. I wanted it to be both reminiscent of the era, with an accurate silhouette and layers, but with a whimsical twist. I knew the accessories had to match and became inspired to try my hand at working with leather to create my own evening gloves, plus some simple yet fitting jewelry (I did not make the shoes and stockings). To get the appropriate shapes, I also made a chemise, short stays, and a full length bodiced quilted petticoat to keep me warm on the windy lakeside the cold December day these photos were taken.

Outline the construction…

The gown and robe are made of silk crepe de chine- a fabric I feel deserves more love. It is a little tricky, but if you are patient with it, it has a gorgeous drape, an elegant understated sheen, and has enough body of its own to hold structure The bodice and sleeves of the gown are lined with cotton gauze. Long internal skirt seams were sewn on my machine with silk thread, but the rest was done by hand. I attached the bodices to the skirts with little back stitches and did the same to set in the sleeves. I chose to leave these seams raw as I did not want to add bulk and the fabric barely frayed. The hems are done with invisible catch stitches. I flat drafted the gown and robe myself using Patterns of Fashion as a reference. The gloves were extremely challenging. I put on a latex glove and wrapped my hand in duct tape, traced the shapes of my fingers, and cut it out into a pattern. I used kidskin leather and hand stitched the gloves using an awl to poke holes and heavy duty thread. I hand painted the gown using my own floral design based off images of embroidery of the period. I laid the thin silk over top of my design and traced it onto my fabric with a heat-soluble pen. The I spent a full year hand painting it. Finally I made the necklace and earrings to accompany it.



1 Comment

  1. Avatar Steffi Wee on May 9, 2023 at 10:37 pm

    Such skilled construction ! Love the sleeves, the hand-painted details, the robe…everything just comes together so well!

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