Remember Isabella my dressform?
I’ve just bought her a companion. Meet Lady Murasaki:
Murasaki is a vintage Japanese dressform. She’s a size 8 (so one size down from Isabella). She’s also slightly longer – so suitable for draping garments that are fitted over the hips. Doesn’t she have beautiful lines?
She is foam (great for pinning and draping on) with a synthetic taffeta cover which has a bit of foxing from age. Right now I like the evidence of what she has been through; if it gets too bad I’ll re-cover her.
I found her at the Asia Gallery. I’d actually noticed her months ago, but I didn’t have the money for her at the time, and the price was a bit more than I wanted to pay. I also wondered if I really would get much use out of such a small dressform. However, my last three clients have been size 8 or smaller, and I find it easier to draft on a small form and size up than to draft patterns and size them down. The real clincher was the price though: I went by the Asia Gallery on Friday and she was marked down. Dressform for $80 = major happy dance!
I knew almost immediately what I wanted to name her. Isabella is named after the Italian Renaissance arts patron Isabella d’Este, and most of my other sewing equipment also have names related to Renaissance art, but that didn’t suit Murasaki. Instead I named her after the 11th century Japanese poet and writer Murasaki Shikubu, author of The Tale of Genjii.
My interest in Murasaki goes back even further than my interest in Renaissance art patrons. I read a book about her as a early teen, and continued to read up on her and The Tale of Genji. I drove my Japanese language teacher in high school batty by knowing (and using) all sorts of obscure Japanese nouns (starting with her name, murasaki, which means ‘wisteria’ and also the purple colour of wisteia) but being hopeless at grammar.
I don’t immediately have an excuse to use her, but I’m very excited about doing so: she has the perfect seams for draping – so much better than Isabella’s.