Foundation garment photoshoot: The Vamp Studio (@thevampstudio) at Maison Burlesque (@maisonburlesque) Photos by 42nd Street Photography (@42ndstreetphotography) Hair styled by Michael Davids (@bouffantdelacroix) Makeup by Eevie la Volpe (@eevie.la.volpe.hmua) Garden photoshoot: Photos and footage taken by my wonderful partner, Aidan. All garments made and modelled by me.
The unspoiled wilderness of the pastoral utopia that is Arcadia would be a delightful spot for Renewal. As the flocks wander and graze, the shepherds and shepherdesses frolic. Imagine merrily feasting on ripe, fresh fruits with the fluttering melody of flutes on the wind…
I’m taking inspiration from paintings and porcelain from the 18th and 19th centuries. I have long enjoyed the inclination of ladies to cultivate a shepherdess image. The attire in many of these images seems to hark to the late 18th century, so that is where I have focused my costume design.
I aimed to use materials from my stash as much as possible. I had a beautiful brocade for the stays and a wool blend with gold stripes that I thought would make an excellent gown. I had enough ivory satin for the visible parts of the petticoat, and some plain white for the back. I had bought two beautiful gold laces and was thrilled to finally have a project in which to make use of them!
My cotton voile chemise was made using Simplicity 8162 - the American Duchess 18th Century Undergarments pattern, and I added a ruffle along the hem. I also used this pattern to make my linen bum pad.
This was my first pair of stays and I used Redthreaded’s 1780s Front Lacing Stays Pattern. The brocade fashion fabric was rather tricky to work with and I had to unpick some of the flat lining stitches, but it is delightfully pretty. Binding the tabs was scary, but I’m sure I’ll get better with practice. The synthetic whalebone was easy to work with and very light and comfortable.
The bum pad meant the hem of the petticoats was longer at the back than the front. I pleated the waist and adjusted the waist height to align the hem lengths. I wasn’t completely happy with the way the pleats sat on the underpetticoat, so subsequently focused on the pleats for the outer petticoat and was much happier with that.
I had just enough of the gold stripe wool blend fabric to make the outer gown following Simplicity 8161 - the American Duchess 18th Century Costume, cutting the bodice pieces at 30° to make the most of the stripes. I added flaps to cover the eyelets and decorated it with gathered self-fabric trim.
I also used this as an opportunity to try filming a project for YouTube. It adds a whole level of complexity, having to consider camera angles and the story you want to tell.
Materials from stash: cotton voile (chemise and underpetticoat), small herringbone coutil (stays strength layers), brocade (stays fashion fabric), flat steel (stays - either side of eyelets), gold Prym eyelets (stays, gown), linen (bum pad), fibre hobby fill (bum pad), ivory satin fabric (petticoat and gown stomacher), white satin fabric (petticoat), white herringbone tape (petticoat), gold lace (petticoat and gown stomacher), cream with gold stripe wool blend fabric (gown), ribbon (crook and hat), white ostrich feathers (hat).
Materials purchased: ribbon (stays and gown), cotton tape (bum pad), synthetic whalebone, bias binding (stays), linen (gown bodice lining), straw hat, fake flowers (hair, hat, crook), dowel rod (crook), plastic coated fixing band (crook).
What was it like to compete this year? What would you say to someone who is on the fence about entering next year?
This was my biggest entry yet - six garments and two accessories. It was a huge undertaking and I’m really proud of what I managed to accomplish.
This is stunning from the foundations out! Gorgeous work. :-D
Thank you! I was keen to try something historically inspired and am delighted with how this came together into a whole!
I really love your entry this is truly amazing! You wear it so well, Fantastic photos and video
Thank you! It's really very comfortable - I wasn't expecting stays to be so comfortable and was very pleasantly surprised!
Amazing! The petticoat and stomacher are gorgeous and I love how the color ties in with the stays. I also love how you angled the stripes for the back of the bodice.
Thank you! The petticoat and stomacher are particular favourite pieces. I love using lace and had hoarded this lace long enough - it was wonderful to see it come to life!
An absolutely gorgeous outfit, I love all the parts and how you feature them so perfectly in the video. The stays are particularly stunning, so sleek and smooth!! Well done.
Thank you! I'm still very much experimenting/learning with video, so it's lovely to hear feedback about it! (And I loved your stop-motion video!)
Astounding! So many ruffles! And you look amazing in your beautiful outfit. The video was a fun addition as well
Thank you! I do love a good ruffle - they have special, feel-good powers!
I love how you used the gold lace on the dress. Exciting that you are making a video series on this!
Thank you! The editing is taking quite a while, but I'll get there!
I love this, you're very creative!
Luscious fit of the stays and such gorgeous ruffles and trims an Arcadian idyll indeed!
Thank you! I'm trying to work with different textures more and more, as I love how they look and feel!
Love the video and the whole ensemble!
Wow! What a production and the results are beautiful! You had me smiling the entire time of your video which I watched twice.
Thank you! I was a huge amount of work - the biggest project I've every worked on, in fact! But it really a joy to make and I'm glad I could bring a little joy to you, too!
This project is so well executed and playful. It’s wonderful how the layers coordinate.
Thank you! I'm really happy with how all the layers work together, too!
Everything about this is so cute and gorgeous I can barely handle it! The little sheep buddy for the outfit! Your garden wall with flamingos! All that gold and ivory lusciousness! You have made such a fun beautiful ensemble, and a sweet as summer peaches vibe really comes through in all of this. It looks like you had fun, and you did great <3
Hahaha thank you! My little sheep is a long term friend - it was delightful to have a reason to take him out for an excursion! And yes, icertainly had a lot of fun with this project - as I strive to have with all my projects!
Very pretty I'm glad you showed the whole outfit and how it goes together
Thank you! I enjoy watching other "getting ready" videos and so thought I'd try one myself!
Keep up the good work. Looking very good.
Thank you! I plan to modify the pattern slightly and make some hobbit outfits soon!
Wow, it's impressive that you have chosen such a big project for your entry! I could really feel the inspiration behind it and the pictures are delightful. The stays are my favourite part of your entry. Well done!
Thank you! It was a lot of work, but I really enjoyed making it! For my first pair of stays, I'm really happy with them. I adore the fabric (as tricky as it was to work with) and how they came together. I also wore them for a Marie Antoinette inspired fan dance last year at a student showcase!
Wht a lovely gown! I always loved the idealized image of an18th century sheperdess. You look gorgeous in it and the all outfit fits very nicely!
Thank you! I love the idea, too - and thus decided the time had come to attempt my own interpretation! It's my first step down the historically inspired pathway.... and it was so much fun that it may turn out to be a slippery slope!
Incredible work! I can't believe how many individual garments you made to complete your vision for your entry! Sooo much work! <3 You did a wonderful job on each piece (especially the stays!). I love the lace you used :)
Love the whole thing especially in the video, it really comes to life, the stays are my favorite bit though.
Seeing your pictures come past on Instagram was such a delight and this whole ensemble brings joy to my heart!