Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Christmas Decoration 2015, Completed - 18th-Century Gown, DV Style

The Countessa Ephemera's evergreen gown for Christmas 2015 is completed.

Made with three different kinds of evergreen (cedar, blue spruce and yew), hydrangeas and branches. from my property. I also recycled a few decorative elements from past Christmases.

This shot was taken in the dining room, I had to move the table out of the way to get a clear shot. The wall sconces on each side and the valence drapes helps in creating an 18th century mood.

Here seen with the coordinating headdress. If the Countessa still had her head attached to her body, she would strike a very tall figure at 8 feet not counting the branches sticking out from above her flowery wig. On her feet, lovely heels such as these and in her hand a delicate fan.

The gown has been placed outside on my front veranda 
where it will stay fresh and green all winter.

Hope you enjoyed the making of the Countessa's new gown and headdress.
Wishing you all a most lovely holiday season. 

Monday, November 23, 2015

Christmas Decoration 2015, Part III - 18th-Century Gown, DV Style

Now for 'La Grande Robe'. The image above was the inspiration for the Countessa's Christmas gown. Reproducing the distinctive shape, lines and volumes of that era, all the while using my own materials, will create something new and original. The caption underneath translated to English reads: 
Young Lady of Quality Wearing Grand Dress with Elegant Headdress

Protecting my seamstress mannequin is imperative as it will spend the winter months outside. I use thick garbage bags and make sure to seel every opening. 
I then use packing tape to redefine the feminine form.

Since the d├ęcolletage will be apparent, I used prints of 18th-century paintings, cut and glued on the chest and neck.

I first wrapped the chicken wire around the mannequin, then added sleeves and rolls of chicken wire around the hips to support the volume of the skirt.

I added a finer plastic mesh to the front panel for the hydrangea stems.

I defined the edges of the front panel with blue spruce.

Here you can see that the evergreen branches can be weaved through the chicken wire, but the hydrangea stems are thin and better suited for the finer plastic mesh.
I secure the stems with a dab of hot glue.

Front panel almost done.

Detail of chest area. 

It's starting to take shape. 
Come back later.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Christmas Decoration 2015, Part II - 18th-Century Headdress, DV Style

To finish it off, I borrowed some millet from my budgies to simulate 'les boudins' on the neck and shoulders and voila.

I purchased a few things, like little birds and a birdhouse. The big magnolia flowers I recycled 
from previous years and of course, the glass head is reused every year. 
Everything else comes from my garden.

The Countessa's head sits atop my china cabinet in the dining room, waiting patiently for her dress to be created. Come back later for the making of The Countessa's New Gown.