I did finally finish a blue mantle for Our Lady. The combination is really lovely, I think.
One thing I wanted to try is making a different dress for underneath. I have a lovely cherry/rose sort of colored satin that is light and drapey. I want to see how that would work for a different style of dress. The original image has a carved drapey gown. Not sure I can duplicate the look, but it would be interesting to experiment.
The blue mantle is still underway, as I got sidetracked making a lovely lace mantilla… made from the remnant lace I scrounged at a couple of shops in Barcelona:
It was fun learning to sew the embroidered laces (for now tacked together gently without any knots, so they can be undone and redone if necessary), and it seemed quite possible that it’s not too difficult to embroider on netting to make one’s own designs. I used a piece of sheer gold-white organza underneath as a support, though I’m not sure that’s necessary.
The gold underdress proved to be a struggle. I did a range of mock-ups with a light cotton, trying to get the fit I wanted: ‘A frame’ as it were, with the hands visible and the right amount of extension around the ankles. Multiple tries with modified rectangles and semi-circles didn’t work at all.
Doing the sewing in the gold satin was a bit hampered by the lack of an iron in the airbnb where I am staying. I discover (duh) that fabric that doesn’t wrinkle easily also doesn’t iron easily. Some fabrics will ‘cold press’ if left under a heavy book overnight. Not this one. So, this will have to be a “please don’t look at the back!” dress for now. Another time I’ll make a tidier one. Nonetheless I think it’s going to work well with the red overdress.
So the rough idea for the red overdress is like this. Off we go to see how it works out!
I stitched the finished overdress shut just below the hands to try it on.
When I lie awake at night I enjoy brainstorming what I will do to resolve this or that problem. I did try folding and pleating the gold underskirt in various ways but I don’t like the result at all. I think it might be better if it were simply narrower altogether. I will probably cut a new one entirely, as the existing one is quite cool and might have a good use in a different context.
I know that some people like to work spontaneously, but I am gifted with the love of planning. So this is how I’m strategizing the new dress and mantle for Our Lady of Aparecida.
My main goals are as follows: 1) to make a red dress for her to wear under the blue mantle; I’d like the dress to be quite complex and include a gold under-gown (see below) 2) to make a white wimple of some sort 3) to make a new blue mantle 4) to make a dramatic Spanish-style floor-length lace mantilla
Another thing that is striking in this image is the ermine-lined cloak. I have some fake fur, quite light and fine, which could be used to trim the mantle. I’m thinking perhaps an inner trim (using inner and outer trims is interesting! The mantle will be initially lined with cotton (the weight used for bedsheets) to provide stability for the beading and embroidery. Once that decoration is done (which I will probably do on a hoop before even cutting the fabric), I will line the mantle with gold satin to cover the inner stitching. I couldn’t find blue velvet but got a lovely heavy textured ‘silk’ (polyester) which has some body.
Once the dress is done, I plan to make a wimple and veil like a religious sister might use, just of white satin, falling above the hands in front and almost to the waist in back. I plan to cover this with a layer of decorative lace so it isn’t too plain. That and the mantle (which normally has a hood, though I could do it just with a high collar in back, like a priest’s cope) will have a fixed hole for the crown pin, trimmed with stitching so it’s stronger and in a fixed place (as opposed to stabbing the pin in a different spot each time).
And finally, I am a huge fan of the Spanish style mantillas, and have a stash of Spanish lace, so I intend to make a lovely light cloud-like mantilla that will go from the head to the floor. Bridal, as it were.
This image of mine is only about 10 inches high, so we will be exercising our clumsy fingers and bad eyes to do this! But it should be very fun. I’ll post as I go… including surely many re-stitchings when I do it wrong the first time!