Friday, 1 January 2016

A Print Dress

About two years ago, the V&A offered fabric reprints in their shop, and I fell immediately in love with this print, called 'Coral Leaves'

The combination of Green and red leaves and twigs captured me, and thanks to the generosity of my sweet Mr R, the postman delivered 4 meters of this beautiful cotton print.

The construction was quite straight forward, but not fast: the challenge being the piecing of the fabric, as it was not sent in four meters, but in 4x1 meter pieces.
Challenge No 2 was my dear old cat, suffering of renal failure who took an unexpected leak on the ufo, washing unhemmed fabric bits caused some additional loss in width, but again, piecing to the rescue: some additional gussets and a fichu when wearing and we were in business again. (The sweet old daft cat left us at the end of June, he's still sadly missed)

The dress is unlined, front closing by drawstring, the back panel is cartridge pleated, and the connecting seam this odd crazy tiny whipstitch we see in surviving garments, what takes forever, but looks so good when finished! The cord to close the dress is made of three strands of white linen thread and three strands of green silk, just for a fun detail. 

First time worn in the New Year 2015, when visiting my friends C & F, to work on the musicians garments for the April ball. Between then and now the dress saw already some good use: to a dance practise, travelled to Weimar and dancing in Schloss Wildegg.

In the grand potager parterre in Wildegg, photo by Helga Váradi

Avec C. In his beautiful 1790 ensemble, all hand stitched by him. 
Photo by F.Robardey

Aurore. Or my take on a simple and versatile dress with long loosesleeves

I While I love digging in archives, I also love to sew, it's just the blogging about it what is not that much my cuppa. Anyway, I've stitched a bit in the last year, and those garments what have been tested and worn several times under different circumstances will make a quick appearance on the blog

Many of us love to copy dresses or looks, and my look of choice is the combination of White, Black and red. In any way, black dress with white fichu, white dress with red shawl: anything of the kind is fine with me.

Therefore it can hardly astonish that 'Aurore' (private collection Lancaster-Barreto) and the styling of the outfit was love on first sight. I love the wide sleeves, as I am very self conscious about my spindly arms and bony elbows. It just suggested comfort and elegance and practically jumped on the top of my sewing list.

The French catalogue is still available, via the eBoutique of the RMN (Réunion des Musées Nationaux)

Once I've found a light silk fabric in Berne, I've started the dress, back sometime in 2014. My choice fell on a soft drapey 90% Silk and 10% cotton, what frayed terribly, thus all inside seams needed to be over stitched.  The dress is lined in the bodice with some of the upper fabric, and closes in the back with drawstrings, has some fine English tulle lace at the cuffs and one tuck at the hem. Again, a quite simple and easy project, yet as with most projects, I was sidetracked sometime during the process (the diversion was called the Jubilée Impérial) and only gave it a push to finish when I was invited to a Soirée in Munich by lovely Ms B in January 2015.
I've worn the dress repeatedly over the last year, and it proved its versatility: elegant for an afternoon about town with a chemisette and capote, with a long necklace at the said soirée, and simple without belt or any additional bling for a Yuletide afternoon with friends.

With Ms. B (long sleeves) and Miss M (short sleeves), during Ms B's Soirée. 
Photo by Mrs J.Bennett

Drawstring closure in the back, photo by Mrs S. Reil

In Berne, in the Maison de Wattenwyl, photos by F.Robardey

The garden door leading to the first terrace. Photo by H. Váradi.

And posing for the Holiday Picture with Monsieur R, the dress worn without any additional bijoux or accessories (I was wearing a little shawl for most of the afternoon though, as it is winter after all), though showing the side parts very nicely. Photo by F. Robardey