Material Witness will focus on extreme textile process. Images will be posted here showing the history of my work, new work, developing projects and inspiration.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Victorian Tea Dresses

Michelle being her sweet self.
Michelle and her little pony.

My niece Michelle has always had enormous enthusiasm for anything she pursues.
People in my family always get a bit compulsive when feeling passion for an idea, an object, a pursuit or a person. I'm like that.

Michelle, however, can take it one step further. When she was small she developed a passion for My Little Pony. She hauled around a suitcase with her at five years old. The suitcase contained her collection of ponies. There were fifty of them! They all had a name and a history. They all lined up perfectly before bed and they all had to be petted and combed. All of them developed a seperate neigh. She, produced the sounds for each pony.

She was tiny and skinny. Her suitcase went with her everywhere and she developed little muscles in her arms from hauling it. I can still see her long hair swinging and her little bent form dragging her burden. She was not to be challenged.

Michelle has grown into a beautiful and intelligent young woman. She works in a non-traditional job for a woman and does environmental inspections on oil wells. She can hold her own in the toughest environment.

She owns horses now and is an accomplished equestrian. She can drive large trucks and can think her way out of a gunny sack.

She is going to an event with her boyfriend this spring and wants to wear Victorian clothing. It is the 100th anniversary of her boyfriend's family's hotel. They are having a late Victorian Era celebration and everyone will be in costume.

So we have been discussing costumes compulsively. Trying to get it perfect. I am a doting Aunt when pleased with my nieces. So my mind is now filled with chemise and petticoats, bustles and hats. I am trying to reconstruct garments from thrift store wedding dresses.

Please share ideas if you know of patterns or sites that might help me make her the belle of the tea.

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