I spent a good chunk of yesterday going through various fashion books and my study group samples, looking for ideas. Fortunately the Fine Threads study group is pretty big, so in just three years of membership I had over a hundred samples to peruse! And then I have started collecting fashion books and clipping pictures from the haute couture shows, so I am slowly amassing quite a collection of fashion ideas.
I started by clipping all the interesting-looking bits into my Evernote notebook. Then I went through them and wrote down all the things I liked (or didn’t like) about the piece. Then I jotted down some of the ideas/thoughts/feelings that went through my head as I thought about the piece. And then I went back and looked at the ideas again.
Here are the two fashion plates I liked best:
The bodice of the first, if converted to red/orange/gold, would make beautiful “flames”. The devore would be fairly simple (I think) – rayon chenille on a 60/2 silk tabby ground – and well worth trying. On the second ensemble, I liked the skirt, which (converted to yellows and oranges) would capture the feel of fire.
I then drafted up a Photoshop mockup to see roughly what it would look like:
I like this idea a lot, and will work on making it a reality. I may do the phoenix in devore, or I may change the title to “Fire” and just do it without the phoenix imagery.
The real challenge to the outfit is the bottom. The fabric is very light and sheer, meaning the handwoven fabric should also be light and sheer. Which means a godawful amount of yardage in superfine silk. But I have over five pounds of 140/2 silk that Lillian Whipple was kind enough to sell me, and that should be more than enough to get me over the learning curve of working with such fine silk. Now I just have to drape a mockup of the skirt to figure out how heinous an amount of yardage would be involved (and how much hemming!). If it’s more than twenty yards of 24″ fabric, the deal is off. I think I could weave 20 yards of 140/2 silk, if I kept at it and ate it in small bits. More than that seems pretty daunting. I’ll weave a sample beforehand, of course. I could also weave it in 60/2 silk, but then the fabric might be too heavy.
Since I still have fifteen-ish yards of white 60/2 silk on the loom, I think the next step is to do some experiments with rayon chenille and devore. There is quite a bit of experimentation I can do, so I better start dyeing! This will be super exciting.
I think it’s also time for me to get back to my draping exercises. I could draft the bodice as a flat pattern, but the skirt will need to be draped, probably in a sheer fabric. Which means getting my act together and learning how to drape things properly.
Whew! What a lot to do. It’s a good thing I have almost two years to the next Convergence.