armed with much inspiration and courage from my friend mary (one of several dear mary friends) and her 1840s sewing expertise, i have completed my first really big 1840s sewing endeavor: a gown for tashi. i cut it out and started on it in may or june, but set it aside as the summer became busier. and i questioned my fabric choice that i had originally belabored - although i loved it, it didn't really seem to match tashi and here serene personality. then a few weeks ago our artist friend michael bedard asked tashi to pose as sarah granger kimball for a painting, or series of paintings he is planning based on the beginnings of the relief society in nauvoo. sarah was well educated and cultured and married one of the wealthiest men in nauvoo - and i had the inspiration for finishing the gown that fit her (sarah's) personality. it's as authentic as i could make it without time to sew entirely by hand. it came together smoothly and was a joy to work on. serpentine stripes were the height of fashion in the 1840s. the fabrics were sophisticated and colorful, and intricately detailed then, not plain and drab as we are prone to imagine.
this was my first experience with cartridge pleating a skirt and stitching each little pleat to the waistband, stiffened with horsehair braid, by hand. the bodice is fully lined and full of boning.
these photos were taken during the practice photo shoot, there have been two more since. her ringlets weren't holding (we were copying the hairstyle from a portrait of sarah granger kimball.) we got better at managing the ringlets in subsequent shoots.
the photos were taken at the sarah granger kimball home. this first painting is planned to be sarah enjoying the flowers in her beautiful gardens.