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 décolletage 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.