Not the GBSB – week 4 : the Fischer

yellowPaul FischerIt’s the one.  The yellow dress in the painting, ‘Daydreams’ (1905), by the Danish artist, Paul Gustave Fischer. And, at last, I’ve finished it.

Now, strictly speaking, this is NOT week 4 of my ‘Not the GBSB Sew Arty Challenge’. I’ve not sewn like the wind. Indeed,  the Great British Sewing Bee has buzzed off to make some honey, while I’m still cutting, sewing, and (so importantly for this ‘week”s challenge) ironing away. But it is my fourth sew-a-dress-from-a-painting attempt.

And so, less a honey, moneymaking bee, more a pleating, bleating lamb, I introduce to you, my wearable (if your name is Laura Ingalls), Day Dream Dress, based on the dress worn by the day dreamer in Paul Gustave Fischer’s painting of 1905.

So. step one : the pattern

In truth, I adapted an easy top pattern  –

IMG_3709[1]and added two metres of fabric for the skirt. I also had to insert a front panel, pleated horizontally, as well as adding three pleats to the skirt.

I’d adapted the pattern a few times before, minus the pleats  –

so that’s really where I expected the challenge to be. In the pleats.

Step 2 : cutting out and sewing

mustard yellow...
3 metres of mustard yellow…

I used the pattern as much as I could to make the top.

I sewed the two back pieces together ( although I always leave a gap at the neck so that I can slip the top over my head easily
I sewed the two back pieces together (leaving a gap at the neck so that I can slip the top over my head easily)

I cut the single front piece in two (ready for the pleat insert)
I joined the side seams
I joined the shoulder seams
Time to work on the pleated panel
I pinned the pleats in place evenly
I sewed them in place on the reverse of the fabric
pleats – on the reverse
pleats from the front
pleat panel attached to the top
  As you can see, I’m not a perfectionist. The material was creased, and I had a very obvious tension problem. But, I’ve never let a poorly finished garment ( nevermind the threat of it) get in my way once I’ve started. And, as you can plainly see, this time was no exception.

An iron is a very wonderful aid for the mediocre seamstress.

I sewed on, full speed ahead, attaching the skirt as I went.

I then added the pleats.

You might have thought that this would have been easy. But it wasn’t. At least, it wasn’t easy for me.  My two hour top, which I estimated might turn into a four hour dress, turned into a…but I think I’ve shared enough of my shortcomings for now. Let’s just say that I should have used a tape measure, an iron and pins to begin with.

And so, many, many hours later, I came up with a rough approximation of the dress in the Fischer painting. I quickly added a loop and a button at the neck and … Ta dah!

Peas in a pod? Doppelgängerinnen? Twins separated at birth?

Perhaps not.

But if you squint slightly, and look at them at an angle, they do look quite similar. Result! Another successful Sew Arty Challenge.

And look at the pleats.

Oh iron, what a wondrous thing thou art!

And so wearable.

Who would have anticipated the odds on a ‘Little House on the Prairie’ party the same month I make my Paul Fischer dress?

Fate, huh?!

4 thoughts on “Not the GBSB – week 4 : the Fischer”

  1. Dear Izzy
    Well done with trying new techniques. I really feel that your next project ought to be something very grand and opulent such as a Gustav Klimt. Perhaps a simplified version of Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer!

    I can’t wait to see you at a party wearing a gold dress. In fact that reminds me of the wonderful restaurant we went to recently where the waitresses were wearing gold dresses: Quaglino’s at 16 Bury Street, London SW1Y 6AJ. Kind of near the back of Fortum & Mason.

    In fact if you don’t make a gold Gustav Klimt inspired dress, do let me know and perhaps I will!!

    Love Elizabeth

    1. I say, do it Elizabeth. Make that gold Gustav Klimt inspired dress and, if you’re willing, we can post it on this site. I can’t wait to see it. Izzy xxx Quaglino’s sounds fun!

  2. I like the pleats on this dress. Were they difficult to do? You make it sound easy. Good idea to make frocks in paintings. Have you thought of doing a Mondrian?

    1. Hi Phoebe. Thank you. The pleats were ok – I made sure I ironed them in place before I committed to sewing them – just in case. Although, having said that, not sure what I did on the skirt ones. They did go a little wrong. But I didn’t iron them in place properly…Mondrian sounds good. Very arty. Will look into it.

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