A Pink Shepherdess

I made a major change to my website today: the blog has been officially moved to the front page! I have decided to go back to my original roots. I started blogging about sewing a long decade ago, but with the emergence of social media, I put blogging on the slow burn and focused on quick-sharing and micro-blogging. It worked well… for a time. Nowadays, the algorithms being what they are (= terrible) for reach, I decided I might as well go back to writing longer posts about my costuming projects. Social media and micro-blogging aren’t always suitable for projects that have a long back story, that are more complex, or that I could talk about forever 😉

As I said in last week’s post about the blue linen dress, I have a huge backlog of costumes I should write about. Back in April, in the midst of my preparation for my final exams, my creative brain got stuck on making a historically-inspired shepherdess costume. Why a shepherdess costume, you might wonder?

La Couturière Parisienne wrote an interesting article about using 18th century art for costume study:

“During the early 18th century there emerged a highly romanticised view of country life as being free of the rules and regulations that ruled the court, with the shepherds and shepherdesses, nymphs and fauns of ancient Greek legend as a model. Renderings of lower class life can therefore not be regarded as accurate anymore; any shepherdess encountered in an 18th century painting is suspect of being a “countrified” court lady. In fact, many members of the nobility had their portraits painted in “shepherdess” costume.”

(You can read the rest of the article here.)

In other words, shepherdesses, nymphs and fauns were the 18th century equivalent to today’s fancy dress and cosplay. What’s not to love? Unfortunately, my list of planned costumes being already so long, and my budget so small, I quickly abandoned the idea… until I realized I had everything I needed.

I found two orphan petticoats for which there are no matching gowns (all UFOs that would definitely never be finished) and a totally non-HA but very pretty apron (a curtain that cost me 1 euro at the thrift shop!). Then, I had a brain wave about a historically-inspired pair of stays and chemise I made last summer for a ‘boudoir’ photo shoot. The stays are silk, incredibly pretty, and can totally be worn as an outer garment. I filled in the front gap with an embroidered stomacher from a previous costume… And there you go, I had everything I needed to make a shepherdess costume! All that was left to do was to decorate the outfit with some flowers, and re-purpose a hat I have lying around with ribbons and flowers.

I jumped on the opportunity to wear my brand-new-but-not-so-new costume at Elfia in Haarzuilens (Netherlands) at the end of April. I wore the outfit with a different chemise than originally planned, but the overall look remained the same and true to the vision I had in my mind. It’s frothy, frilly, flowery, and pink. I love it!

This project has been so satisfying; money is incredibly tight for me this year as I’m starting my own business and the clients aren’t lining up at the door so quickly. Not having to spend one single euro in order to make a new outfit has been highly gratifying. Having a closet full of costumes does come in handy!