Sunday, April 17, 2011

Getting up close and brushstrokey

Can I just say how much I love technology and what it lets museums do? While I hope to do the grand tour at some point and visit some of my favorite museums in person, its so nice to be able to visit online, zoom in, and see things up close. Lucky for me The Prado has my portrait available for close scrutiny. You just keep clicking and it keeps getting bigger and bigger. Since I was up at 2 AM guess what I was doing?

Panicing. That's what I was doing. I was zooming in and looking at the portrait and writing up lists and getting worried. Not that its too much to do, but too little and will turn out to be too simple and I will get totally dusted by the competition. As much as I love this portrait, the dress is super plain, the partlet is really unusual, and the interest is all in the subject matter and the accessories. The dress is a vast expanse of plain red velvet with minimal trim. It has no embroidery and simple detailing. If I don't find the perfect fabric, do a large, bold girdle and zibellini, and figure out how to make the partlet, there is really nothing there.

That was me at 2 AM. Then I went to bed. When I woke up at 4, things were a bit better. Sanity had asserted itself at least a little. I have no delusions that I really have a shot at placing in the competition. I never did. The plan is just to use the accountability of the challenge to make something beautiful to wear. This dress is beautiful. It will be flattering to me in a way that something with more excessive styling won't be. Red velvet should be something I can locate. If I make a pretty dress that is well made I won't embarrass myself. The accessories are the best part and getting to make them is going to be fun. Not to mention a great deal faster than embroidering something. Now, to figure out that partlet.

Zooming in, the most interesting thing to me is the shoulder. That's where is seems that the decoration is not just plain whitework, but is dimensional. It looks like its puffed or bubbled. Its also made of strips of the puckery detail. Its going to be something I need to play with. Not to mention needing to decide what material is going to be the best to make this work. As soon as I can buy fabric for this I need to get a silk organza and a fine lawn and try out some ideas. As it is I might be headed to the fabric store to grab a few sheers and experiment. I won't get the same effect, but it'll let me experiment with some folding, gathering, smocking etc. Once I get that under control I can figure out how I want to cut the back as well as the serious question of how to get it to lay flat with the strange triangular cut in front.

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