Where the Lava meets the Sea



Gabrielle Westwood


Outline the story …

Christmas 2018, the first Christmas I spent with my husband, was in Iceland. I was drawn in by the incredible landscapes, this world forged by volcanic activity, of black sand beaches, and waterfalls, with everything covered in snow and ice. In my design, I wanted to create the feeling of the lava underneath the black sand, meeting the ocean, and the misty greys and purples of the winter sky. Vaguely inspired by Tudor fashions, the crown is a waterfall cascading down over icy pillars and the land below. She is the personification of the fire within the earth spilling out to meet the sea, and the ice, mist and smoke that surrounds it.

Outline the construction…

I used thrifted fabrics in this construction. There are two petticoats (one box pleated with layers of ruffles and one cartridge pleated, a
sheer chemise, the bodice and attached skirt, with a ruff at the back, and a crown modeled after a Tudor French Hood. Everything was going well with the project for the first petticoat and the start of the bodice until my sewing machine had to take a trip to the hospital. I had already handsewn the chemise, but wanted to create more boning channels in the bodice which were designed after the dorothea stays, but I had to let go of this idea when my machine had to be in repair for over a week. I also was unfamiliar with using synthetic fabrics, and found them much more difficult to use than the natural linens and wools I am accustomed to. My research for the historical elements came from The Tudor Tailor books. My ruffles on the skirt have some burned edges to enhance the effect of the impression of a lava flow. I also was able to create a larger variety of colors within my thrifted fabrics through the use of dyes. For this project I used RIT dye, though typically I work more with natural dye materials.



1 Comment

  1. Avatar Steffi Wee on May 9, 2023 at 10:40 pm

    I like how you’ve incorporated the Tudor elements in your dress! The blend of historical and modern styles works so well!

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