Author: The Dreamstress

Felicity the cat thedreamstress.com

Felicity lends a paw

All last week I was frantically sewing in order to finish two new dresses and four new hats for the Katherine Mansfield Garden Party (because sometimes I’m just no good at all at being sensible and restrained!). Felicity, lovely helpful sewing cat that she is, seemed to sense the haste, and did her best to lend a paw.  She generally likes to hang out with me while I sew, but I’ve never seen her put such a concerted effort into being there for the entire process. Her main concern seemed to be that the fabric would run away and hide if she didn’t sit on at all times, so she spent most of the week curled up on whatever I was working on, firmly holding it in place.  Very helpful that! First she sat on the linen: Then she sat on the lace: Then on the rayon slip fabric: And then on the other linen: Before returning to the partly sewn white linen, to make sure it didn’t attempt a mid-construction escape. Even with the fabric under …

Courtesy of Tony McKay Photography and Glory Days Magazine

“A perfect day for a garden party” The Katherine Mansfield Garden Party at Hamilton Gardens

Last weekend I flew up to Hamilton to give a talk on Katherine Mansfield and Garden Party fashions at the Glory Days Salon at the Katherine Mansfield Garden Party at Hamilton Gardens. Hamilton doesn’t have a reputation for being the most interesting city in New Zealand, and I wasn’t sure what to expect.  I’m happy to say that I had an absolutely marvellous time, and that everyone I met and interacted with was absolutely delightful. The point of the garden party is to raise money for a new Katherine Mansfield garden at Hamilton Gardens, which will recreate the garden described in Mansfield’s The Garden Party (that’s a link to the story, and if you haven’t read it, do.  It’s delicious.  The more I read Mansfield the more I love her, and the more I understand why Virginia Woolf said that Mansfield was the only person who ever produced writing that she envied). The Hamilton Gardens are just spectacular.  I wish I’d had a week to explore them!  And the Garden Party was fabulous.  Hamilton Garden’s sets …

Rate the Dress: Summer Whites of the 1870s

Huzzah!  We have a winner!  Last week I showed a court dress in black satin with gold embroidery, and, with only 4 out of 30 votes coming in at anything but a perfect 10, the dress scored a truly spectacular 9.8 out of 10, which is pretty much as close as I think we’ll ever get to a perfect 10!  (such a change from Charles of the week before, who actually did better than I thought – 6.3 out of 10, for “Fantastic outfit, wrong wearer” as HoiLei succinctly put it.) This dress is inspired by the recent weather: it has been HOT.  Not too bad in Wellington, but I spent the weekend in Hamilton and it was 30 degrees and 60% humidity, and I had models in period dress, and there was a lot of discussion about how you handled that kind of heat historically. Here is one example of how: Superficially this dress is the complete opposite of last weeks: light cotton instead of heavy silk, white instead of black, an overall impression of lightness …