Miss Wendy again!
I have a few hunks of fabric that really want
to be gowns, one a very
pretty pinky peach love birds silk damask and the other a lavender silk
taffeta. I’d planned the lavender to be a sacque, so I figured it was
off limits to me for the Garden Party since we’re doing very serious,
very specific research for this event (it’s not enough to say “well,
it’s her mother’s old gown” in this case. We want to document
everything...). I’ve been having trouble finding a damask I like to
copy, though, original or portrait. Then I came across this:
This is a portrait by
Jean-Honoré Fragonard, “The Love Letter.” I haven’t found out who the
girl in the painting is, I’m not sure that anyone knows, actually. The
portrait is in the Metropolitan
Museum of Art and is dated circa 1770, which is perfect for me! The
girl is pretty young and that silk is gorgeous and depending on what
image of the painting I look at I think it’s light green, light blue,
grey, or even lavender, so my silk will work wonderfully!
I can even think about making this gown, though, I’m going to need to
decide what I need under it. The only shifts I have are pretty coarse,
not to mention the longer seams are machine done. I also have to figure
out if I need pocket hoops or hip rolls for this.
there’s that cap. I think I want to copy the portrait exactly (Maybe
I’ll pose for a photo recreating it! I don’t think that dog is a shih
tzu like my family’s dog, but I could still use our dog for it!), so I
need to work out that cap and hair. I don’t know anything about doing
hair other than a plain bun, so that’ll take a lot of practice (and/or
The great thing about this gown is that other
than that cuff, I can’t see any of the trim. That means I get to trim it
however I want! I’ll have to look at other silk gowns and get ideas.
Plus, until I started thinking about this specific painting, it had
never occurred to me to notice how much trim is on the sleeves versus
the front of the gown. Can I have more on the front than the sleeves? Or
does knowing that the cuffs are pretty simple mean the front should be
too? So I’ll keep looking through books and start paying attention to
Now that I have a look to copy, my next
step is to come up with everything I’ll need to recreate it and figure
out what I have to get my hands on!