FOUNDATIONS REVEALED COMPETITION ENTRY
Outline the story …
When I read about the theme for this year’s competition, I thought of The Shepherdess and the Chimney Sweep by Hans Christian Andersen. I read the fairy tale as a child, and the idea of animated china figurines who came to life when no one was around, was and still is appealing even in our day and age. One can think of a Toy Story, but set in the 19th century where the tale follows two lovers on the run (a porcelain Shepherdess and a Chimney Sweep) as they attempt to flee the grasps of a mahogany satyr, who wants to marry the Shepherdess.
As I read on and studied the original illustrations by Vilhelm Pedersen, I found that he depicted the Shepherdess in 18th century clothing. I examined works by François Boucher and his idealized representation of everyday fashion from this particular era along with its pastoral paintings and studied what everyday dress looked like from a historical point of view. I decided to use these various sources to explore the various meanings of the different layers, shapes and materials used. I noticed an inclination for such techniques in the paintings and the use of symbolic references (roses, sheer fabrics ) as a romanticized vision of France, which seemed to fit the depiction of the character in the tale.
I had originally planned six pieces for the costume. I managed to get most of the pieces done on time, except for a bodice.
Outline the construction…
I machine-sewed the side seams and then I hand-stitched the rest of the pieces. I used cotton and linen as the primary material for this project, since I wanted to give an 18th century feel to the textiles and colours; but I also tried to recycle fabrics I had.
The construction of the shift was easy, once I had figured out how to set the gores and gussets with the help of Mariah Pattie’s tutorial “Formulas to Draft a Shift Pattern from Your Own Measurements”.
The most challenging part were the stays. I made a mock-up, drew a pattern and hoped for the best. They are made of coutil as the base layer and viscose as the fashion layer. The channels are machine-sewed, but the binding is stitched by hand.
For the petticoats, I used the American Duchess tutorial (which can be found on their website) for the construction and hemmed them by hand. The first petticoat is a blue striped linen, gathered into a waistband and the second one is a beige poplin, knife pleated and tied with silk ribbons.
I used an additional petticoat I found in a flea market to give more shape to the skirts and a hand-sewed linen shift as the base layer (in the final pictures, the shift was replaced by a tank top with the straps tucked in). The 18th century inspired shift was used as the outer layer, as I saw examples while doing my research on pastoral paintings.