|Linen Shift, Pair of Silk Stays, Bustle Skirt|
Photograph: Robert Lucy, 2015
From the wardrobe I've made I find myself gravitating toward certain garments. This skirt and the linen shift worn with it are a semi-uniform. The silk covered corset/ pair of stays is newly completed.
The first skirt in this design was paired with a slip. The next included a lining. In the third version (pictured here) a deep ruffle was added to the lining's lower edge, widening the circle of the hemline when the skirt is worn. An additional development was to come...
There's a soothing quality to wearing a long skirt. It amplifies movement, it cozily blankets one's legs when one is seated. Nevertheless climbing up and down subway stairs required lifting this long skirt's hem--graceful or a bit of a nuisance depending upon whether or not my hands were already full. (In tandem with living in a pedestrian city with fluid public transportation, one tends to bring along a day's worth of provisions, pack-mule-like.) It was awkward to raise the skirt an inch or two off the ground when carrying packages. Eventually solved the dilemma: bustled the skirt!
The white blouse is the upper portion of a knee length linen shift. I'd practically name a child 'linen'. Have made a small collection of these in my favorite fabric. Each one is a little different--the shape of the neckline, the width of the sleeve, etc. The pattern uses basic arithmetic. By now I've written the calculations in a notebook for consistency.
The pair of stays (i.e. corset) was completed this week. They are based on a similar pair made a couple years ago. Having recently modified the original I discovered them to be suddenly, unexpectedly wonderful to wear--comfortable and becoming. Some designs I make once, others I to continue to develop. That is the case with this pair of stays. This pair is reversible with scarlet silk taffeta on one side, marine blue silk on the other. The structure is comprised of 18 steel bones inserted into channels in a muslin core. There are 30 hand sewn eyelets. At the most rapid each eyelet took about 10-15 minutes to sew. Many subway journeys were devoted to sewing eyelets! The eyelets and hand-stitched edge binding were completed over the course of three months. Decided to modernize and grommet the front lacing holes (of which there are 22).
I inhabit these threads with joy.