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Hand Sewing a
Robe à la Française
Over the course of nine months, I designed and hand-sewed an 18th-century ball gown and its undergarments, and hand-painted matching shoes. I started this project with no prior hand-sewing or garment-design experience, and it proved to be a long-term exercise in following instructions and patience.
I took this project on in preparation for Chateau Versailles' annual costume ball, and in the four months leading up to the event, I was sewing for an average of 5 hours a day, 5 days a week.
My vision for the dress was "Midnight in the Garden," and I was very inspired by the artwork in one of my favorite films, The Last Unicorn, along with Eyvind Earle's enchanted forests and gardens.
I learned hand-sewing techniques, how to handle different fabrics, how to alter a pattern, a variety of ruffle and fabric flower patterns, embroidery basics, hand-painting techniques for leather shoes, and how to translate a concept (midnight in the garden) into a garment—and a story.
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