Photo: Torkel Molin
Sweet dreams, chocolate cake and coffee in small golden cups, so many happy memories are sewn into this object of original art.
I love watching movies with stories set in the 18th century, studying images of historical dresses and how to construct them, the patterning and sewing. I do not have any specific pictures on which I have based my design. I use music for inspiration. My entry this year is a simplification of the images that sprang into mind when I listened to Händel, Bach and Purcell. I wanted to capture the frailness of a light and joyful dream with a touch of 18th century dressing without being historically accurate. A wedding veil has been repurposed into the foundation of a light outer shell. Embroidered golden chocolate papers are sewn to this frail tulle shell with reflective threads. The combination reflects golden and white light like in movie dreams.
If you would you like to see more images of how Sweet Dreams came into being, please visit my blog.
The original pattern for my pair of stays was drafted and fitted to my younger self by Anna Kjellsdotter in 2004. Back then I was skinnier, more symmetrical and had boobs. When updating the pattern in 2020 I had to customize it for asymmetry and pressure points. To avoid painful pressure marks from the seams and boning, the inside is made as smooth as possible. I deliberately frayed and left the linings of the jeans fabric unbound. I used a mix of heavy duty green plastic cable ties, steel armoured and non-steel armoured, scavenged from construction sites for boning, and recycled jeans fabric for the inside of the stays.
One way to deal with my asymmetry was to carefully lace up without pulling tight and adjusting the fully boned stays into a position where I felt that my back was supported without pain. When laced up I chalked in my “squish waistline” on the stays and compared where the two lines met on the front panels, then adjusted the lacing holes on one panel to match up. When the waistline and the gap at the back felt good, I started to experiment with bone flexibility and placement. Starting out with all steel armoured boning I pulled out and replaced those bones that hurt or did nothing for the posture, replacing them with softer bones or no bones at all. I found it difficult not to fall into the trap of symmetry when making these adjustments to the pattern and finalising the stays.
Hand sewn pair of stays: foundation sewn from scavenged legs from four pairs of worn-beyond-repair Levies 505 jeans. Lining: sewn from linen tablecloth, cotton and silk ribbon for lacing. Boning: veavy duty green plastic cable ties, steel armoured and non-steel armoured, scavenged from construction sites
Stay cover: repurposed wedding veil, chocolate paper, reflective thread,
Skirt: inner plastic packing from Zoegas Coffee packets.
Accessories: small coffee cup headpiece made from golden paper gift bag
What was it like to compete this year? What would you say to someone who is on the fence about entering next year?
Entering the competition is a good way challenge the seamstress in you and take your corset sewing to the next level. I recommend giving it a try next year.