This is the first of a series detailing my three-piece 2016 Make it with Wool entry.
In an effort to present wool as unexpectedly fresh and light, I am creating Vogue's 1949 Kimono Blouse from pattern 6970 with large draped collar in sand-colored superfine gabardine. This wool gabardine has such a subtle sheen due to its ultra-fine weave, it's nearly satin! Having this lustrous fabric is exciting as I think this ensemble should 'sparkle' in places.
The second piece is the 1944 wrap Skirt originally by McCall. I sewed it in a lightly woven Pendleton with Fleur de Lis and paisley figures in charcoal tones:
The detail below the pattern front shows the Hong Kong seams wrapped in silk habotai with which I also lined the skirt in a dark navy.
I first spotted this Pendleton at the 2014 MiWW state final and thought it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen in wool! I did not win the piece (it was the gratis piece for that year from Pendleton Woolen Mills), but I did track 1-1/2 yards of it down and knew just what to do! I used the fabric's woven border at the hem and the drape of the left faced section of the skirt went perfectly with Gail Patrice deni-fuse interfacing.
The idea is that the blouse and skirt are soft, sculptured pieces.
As for the color scheme, I am following a palette of colors I enjoyed on Stinson Beach four years ago. The charcoal of the skirt and the sand of the gabardine both match colors on each end of the mussel shells I picked up from the beach. I wanted to pull deep blue out of the charcoal woven for some reason (perhaps that seashell's strong influence on me?) so lining it in navy was so suitable.
That said, enter the otherwise 'blue' aspect of the project; the corselet.
I am accessorizing the blouse and skirt with a Tunisian crocheted corselet. The pattern is from Vogue Knitting, Holiday 2004 (seen here). To satisfy the competition's requirement of wool content, I chose Madeline Tosh Merino Light for this piece. The variegated blues in the merino stitched corselet make up the range of blues through the center of the sea shells.
I had made a Tunisian stitched corset in Alchemy's bamboo 8 years ago, only wider than the version I am now doing. With the large blouse collar and the fact that I am short-waist-ed, I did not want to be engulfed in the wider original version of the stitched corset.
I understand the history of the Tunisian Simple Stitch to be murky, yet the idea of the dense stitch for warm sailor sweaters or Sontag's in the 1800's is clear. I say this is 'Not your mother's afghan stitch' because as a kid in the 70's, I remember the sunburst-patterned afghan in gold, almond and yellow swathed over couch at any given time. I like the idea that Tunisian-stitched items started out as very pragmatic, then leaped to one of THE hand stitches in 1970's throws and now has come back as wearable art.
As I like to play on paradox, my concept in the merino-stitched piece dictates what is thought of as a very dense, grid stitch becomes so light and de-materialized is almost ethereal in a very structural corselet! The wool becomes translucent when crocheted over spiral steel dressmaking bones and the grid stitch pattern opens up when stretched around the midriff.
As in my submission last year, I explored different graphic scales between each piece. I mentioned how smooth the gabardine blouse is and made a step up to the grainy weave in the Pendleton skirt. The final transition takes place in the pixilated stitches of the corset, being the piece which separates the blouse and skirt.
More construction details coming up in the next post!