‘Cause in Vienna…We Were Poetry…

Feeling Pretty...

Take me back again…

I’ll keep this one to a minimum text-wise (you’re welcome)…because the images speak louder than words. As with inspirations here and here…this gown reflects a mood inspired by a city of splendor. Hand-beaded net sparkles over silk tissue taffeta, shirred extravagantly in an excessive need of fabric that fortifies Vienna’s charms.

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Once again, Poppy Parker is my muse…and her attitude is undeniable. Like a memory of sweet and choice harmonies, a draped train passes you by in a rustle. As sung in the immortal song by Linda Ederlove was alive…they were the best days of my life…

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We were poetry…

So let’s break her down…let’s start with how I cam into the fabric choice, shall we?

A child runs in the Cathédrale Saint-Jean-Baptiste de Lyon courtyard

A child runs in the Cathédrale Saint-Jean-Baptiste de Lyon courtyard

I’ll tell the tale of how the fabric was found for the benefit of her wonderful new owner (you know who you are): Around 2002, two friends of mine and I decided we would travel to the Paris Fashion Doll Festival – and then take extra time to wander through the south of France by car. Specifically, one friend’s mother lived near Nice, and we all wanted to go to Lyon – the French center for silk.

Before the cafes open in Lyon

Before the cafes open in Lyon

We had already been shopping in Paris, and I found the wondrous beaded net used as Vienna’s showpiece focus – but finding a fabric to coordinate was not easy. All types of contrasting options were available, but none really seemed like a match made in heaven.

merida

Véro?

So it was in Lyon – after perusing a couple of silk houses there – we came upon Véronique (Véro). In her crowded shop of bins upon bins of rolled silks and various other textiles – all crammed into claustrophobic rooms connected to each other – she came alive as a wild woman in love with la soie. She had a personality that was magnetic, frenetic, and touched with abandon. I was drawn to her sense of style and that mussed mane of hair she swept away from her eyes so she could make a specific point about this organza or that chiffon in her broken English mixed with Lyonnaise French. Her passion was absolute…and today, I can’t help thinking of Merida from Disney’s Brave when I try to picture her round face and fantastical hair (though she was a dirty blonde mixed with some gray, not a redhead like the Disney Princess).

La Soie

La Soie

She and I connected like we knew each other since childhood – and when I produced the fabrics we bought in Paris – she reached out for one taupe beaded net and said, “This is not from Paris – it is from Lyon.” Her recognition of the beaded wonder seemed a bit contrived, until she showed me the very same fabric in her shop – a fabric that was paired with a stunningly simple, yet extraordinary silk tissue taffeta that matched the beaded net perfectly. “They were made for each other, you see – for a fashion house in Paris.” And it was true, the shop in Paris was known for buying remnants from all the couture houses (my dear, dear Maupiou on Rue de la Paix – which closed its doors last year – sorrows).

C'est parfait...

C’est parfait…

Véro could not recall the specific house that used it in its fall collection, but she did verify that the taffeta was custom-dyed to match the beaded net, as specified by the atelier. It should come as no wonder that I bought two yards of it – and loads of other fabrics in Véro’s shop – each having a story about its weave, color or texture – many I still remember – some trivial, and some glorious. You can’t buy that kind of experience…anywhere.

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I had the shape of the dress already in mind, so I made up a toile and started to play with the beaded net – I’m thrilled people admire my beadwork, but I cannot take credit for this treasure I found in Paris…the swirls invoke musical rhythm rising in the air…I had started to work with this in the taffeta years ago – unsuccessfully – I’ll pardon myself as some things in my life around late 2010 were just a little screwed up…

I just didn't work out...

It just didn’t work out…

But this time…I knew exactly what I wanted to do…

Vienna scratch...

Vienna scratch…

And so…it was off to revisit some shirring techniques…

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I wanted to drape the pattern using the actual fabric instead of muslin…just to get the right ‘feel’…right?

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Poppy’s such a patience lady…

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Couldn’t resist pinning up the beaded bit before removing the shirring to flatten the pattern…

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It’s a mess…but it will work…

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Let’s CUT!

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Tissue taffeta is very lightweight…and this gown needs some structure if she’s going to dance all night long…

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Each piece will be underlined with a cotton interfacing (not the fusible kind, please)…

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Even out the shirring once the dress is sewn together…

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Drape the overskirt…I’d love to make the train that long…but she’d trip on it during the samba

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Luscious…

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This is the shape I want for the train…

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Stitch down and trim the overskirt…

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Beeswax is my best friend (pity)…although My Inspiration Angel (Ginny) has turned me on to Silamide (which I WILL check out)…

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And the whole bloody thing has to be lined, which I like because of its finishing characteristics…but hate because it’s a whole second gown inside another, and that could be beaded, hemmed and worn by another stinkin’ doll! Drape me patience, Christian!

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Some finishing touches…and

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Vienna‘ One-of-a-kind gown by Tom Courtney for 16inch Poppy Parker.

Voila.

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We played the game for all it’s worth…

All that our eyes could see…take me back again…Vienna.

9 thoughts on “‘Cause in Vienna…We Were Poetry…

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