FOUNDATIONS REVEALED COMPETITION ENTRY
The Real Mother Goose
Outline the story …
To me, the word "fairytale" always means Mother Goose and Grimm. And one of my earliest memories is my grandmother reading to me from the book "The Real Mother Goose." Although it is a book of nursery rhymes, that particular image of Mother Goose has always been with me and has come to represent a lifelong love of reading and storytelling. Thumbing through my own well-worn copy, I realized the mash-up of costume eras in the illustrations greatly (and very incorrectly!) influenced my early ideas on historical costuming.
The book's charming, and sometimes a little strange, illustrations by Blanche Fisher Wright are now in the public domain and I enjoyed reproducing just a few in hand-appliqué for the costume's underskirt. Because the book was originally published in 1916, my take on Mother Goose is loosely based on WWI era dresses (army nurses in particular); I draped the pattern over the foundation of an Edwardian corset. The cape, hat, and ruffs were fun accessories to make and complete the character. I will surely use them again in other costumes.
While not relevant to the competition, I've made a commitment over the last few years to use what I have on hand in my work. I'm proud to say most of my Mother Goose project is made from upcycled materials and fabrics from my stash.
Outline the construction…
The dress is made of olive khaki linen that was the wrong color for it's original intended purpose but very reminiscent of army drab. The dress began as a draped muslin, which became the bodice interlining. The underskirt is a lined panel that is connected to the outer skirt across the front opening and buttons to the inner side seams at the waistband.
I used scanned images from the book to draft simplified versions of a few of my favorite illustrations. Using a buttonhole stitch, I hand appliquéd the simplified images to create blocks, which are machine-stitched to the skirt.
My greatest challenge is always iteration. Missing the mark the first time (or first five times!) can be frustrating. Fitting on myself during a pandemic? Also an interesting challenge! But it's well worth the effort to make an idea come to life.