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The 2020 Competition is now over.
The 2021 Theme will be chosen by our Members in April!

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Spring Maiden Spring Maiden

Spring Maiden 

Spring Maiden

Spring Maiden  

Spring Maiden

 

Spring Maiden

Baiba Robinson, Yorkshire, UK 

IG: baibarobinson

Photographed and edited by Phil Robinson

 

The Design

Since I found out about this competition and looked up the theme, I really wanted to do an outfit inspired by my Latvian roots and heritage. But after countless hours of researching Latvian sagas and eposes I was sad to acknowledge that Latvians do not have stories of rising and rebirth, only sacrifice and martyrdom. I nearly gave up as I really wanted to stick to the Latvian theme. A couple of months later when setting my goals and challenges for 2020, and checking entry dates for this competition, I decided to go for it and use Latvian folk costume as a base. The spring theme seemed to fit the outfit naturally, just like the Latvians used landscape as inspiration for colours of the clothing. Whenever I think of the spring I think of the orchard trees in bloom, new crops and tulip fields planted in long lines.

 

The Construction

The crown and blouse are based on traditional Latvian designs, drawn from various online sources and altered to suit my outfit needs. I used bead embroidery on the crown, making a traditional pattern. Sewing the blouse was straightforward: all the seams are flat felled to reduce the linen's chance to fray, and the thread buttons are handmade.

For the skirt a minimum of 3 metres of fabric were to be folded into the waistband. I took a selection of green cottons and teal taffeta and cut them into strips, which gave me a rectangle 5.5 metres by 90 cm, to be pleated onto a narrow waistband. For the flourish I added my favourite box pleat flower trim sewn on by hand.

The bodice combines a traditional bodice and a corset, making it look like two separate items. I worked out the design using a Victorian corset pattern and my body block. A mock up proved a good fit so I progressed to sewing. First I sewed together just the peplum bits of the fabric before pinning unsewn parts to the coutil base and sewing it all together. This required a lot of care as silk linen frays quite easily despite the fusible. Attaching fastening at back and front also required care as the peplum parts had to be free from the base. I really wanted to make little "ears" for my bodice peplum, as they are on Latvian bodices, and after making several mock ups I settled on a design that worked the best for my fabric choice.

 

Materials Used

Crown - fine count aida, embroidery cotton, glass beads and plastic craft mesh.

Blouse - fine linen, embroidery cotton and thick sewing thread for handmade buttons.

Corset bodice - coutil, silk linen, fine craft cotton for lining, busk closure, flat steel, spiral steel, two piece rivets, soft boning channels, fusible and satin ribbon for lacing.

Skirt - craft cottons, taffeta, fusible, vintage ribbon and rose beads.

 

What was it like to compete this year? What would you say to someone who is on the fence about entering next year?

This is my first year, and I started quite late due to health issues, but loved every moment spent in the work room creating this outfit. And I look forward wearing it to an event.

I'd tell someone to join in. The competition will give a time scale to work to, inspire you to push your limits, seek advice on how to achieve best results and it gives you a chance to show off your skills. All of us started somewhere and unless we put our work on show for somebody else to see, we won't know how good we are after all.

 

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Ankharet Verch Meredudd
I saw this and with an amazing "AHHH" sign just spent the last 10 minutes looking at your photos in detail. Wonderful work!
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I totally adore your whole outfit - I have never as yet attempted a corset so cannot comment on construction but outfit as a whole I am in love with it. Its the type that calls to me rather than glamorous or fairytale which is just not me. Yours is more real ( which sounds daft tI know they are all real) to me. I love how you used your links to your past. Good Luck
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Rhea Steensma
Your attention to detail and your connection to Latvian folk culture absolutely shines in your work! ❤️ I am in love with the simple but oh so elegant lines of the body :) the whole outfit tells its own story thanks to you!
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certainsundries
Your project is so cheerful and personal! Thank you for showing us a bit of yourself that way. The various pleat work is so wonderful!
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bernadettebanner
I love the colors in this! It’s so whimsical and cheerful—and this totally looks like something you could get lots of wear out of!
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Renee
I love how you've blended the corset with the bodice. The little frill at the back is just so cute! The colors in the whole ensemble are eye-catching and fun, and it's wonderful how you've been able to incorporate your heritage into it.
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kitty mortensen
It entry is positively radiant, I'm in love with the many details and colours. It is like a small journey just to look at, so lovely
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kirstymitchell
Thus is a really happy creation. Looks like you had real fun with it
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summercloud
This is such a fun outfit! I love how incorporated your corset is in it. It looks like something you could actually wear for a day and be stylish AND comfortable. And cute! Fantastic work.
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lyrisdesign
Gorgeous, I love the way you have brought together all the elements of this outfit.
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Anni
B.e.a.u.t.i.f.u.l.!! Ohhh, and the details, I'm in love!
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Meri Pinyol
I love the colors and fabrics combinations.
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hannahjoy
This outfit makes me smile, there is so much joy in it. I think it is particularly wonderful that you had a chance to research your heritage stories and persevered to find your own connections to create a new story of rebirth. A beautiful idea and beautifully constructed.
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royalblack
There are so many beautiful details to discover in your entry!
I always enjoy when participants use there own heritage as inspiration. What a lovely design!

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lcostigliolo
What a fun outfit. I love all the details and decorations. I really enjoyed reading about how you incorporated your heritage into the theme. Wonderful!
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Love a peplum! You have created a fun piece - and beautifully executed.
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Annemarie
Oh, the colors! The mix of fabrics! This really encapsulates folk costume and it radiates joy. (And I love the crown too.)
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paulay71
I love your use of different fabrics, pattern and the colours you have use to create your piece.
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marloes dadswell
I am in love with that little ruffle on the back of the bodice. I love how you have braided in so many elements of your heritage into your design.
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latelierdelafleur
Your outfit is a perfect harbinger of spring! Your colour pairings are so dreamy, and I especially love your fancy trim!
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jema
Gorgeous fit, and such a fun use of fabrics and colours, it's most definitely spring-time in Latvia!
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brevierbird
My mother was born in Riga -- I too, have a Latvian heritage! As soon as I saw your amazing outfit, I knew exactly where it came from. Well done... its gorgeous! I have photos of my great aunt in her national costume and, Baiba, you nailed it! What beautiful work.
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