A Closer Inspection
Okay, so the toile is done and I have a hundred questions about how the dress is finished, i.e, how is the collar attached? How are the cuffs constructed? and what do the lace frills look like close up? These and many more needed to be answered on my trip.
I'm very glad I chose to get the toile ready in preparation as I have been able to get a realistic expectation of the proportion of the dress and how it fits together which means I can concentrate on the finer details of the original garment.
On seeing the dress again I was not disappointed. It is a long journey to Berrington, now for the second time, but this first hand research is absolutely imperative to the direct outcome of how successful my reproduction will be.
Along with Althea, the collection curator, I was able to spread the dress out, take photos and touch it, going over all the construction details with a fine tooth comb to reveal their secrets. I thought I would write and sketch during my time, but this in fact did not happen. I have always been blessed with a very vibrant photographic memory, so instead I focused on getting a real grasp of the garment from a sensory perspective; the textures the colours and so on. I discussed with Althea how different areas where constructed and we both learnt many new things, including how the hem was finished and how the cuffs are attached and I really got a good picture in my head of how I was going to proceed with my own version. All the time I took lots of photos of all the little details to have a solid record that I could refer back to, for me, the detail photos are a much better source of accurate information than anything I could draw or describe.
Althea seemed suitably impressed with my toile which made me feel confident and ready to get on with the real deal. The trip also helped me make that final decision on top fabrics as I need to purchase my material for the start of the next week of the project.
I really cannot stress enough about how much this visit has helped me. There is no way I could produce a faithful reproduction without the information gathered from looking carefully over the original which will in turn give me the information to make better decisions about my own work based on relevant research. Of course, I will not be able to copy all the fabrics and materials/ lace etc. exactly, but I will be able to explore my choices more efficiently, use my own independent judgement, hopefully with a very successful outcome.
Here are the photos I took on the second vist- there are quite a few of them, but as I am not printing them all off in my workbook I am putting them up here.