Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Bodice

Designer Sarah Beth Johnson's updated take on the bodice detailing of Sarah Goodwin's floral cotton print dress, c. 1846-50

Designer Sarah Beth Johnson on Sarah Parker Rice Goodwin

Seacoast designer, Sarah Beth Johnson, found inspiration in Sarah Goodwin's dress. She comments:

"What I took from the original dress as my inspiration were patterns. I loved the combination of a tiny floral print with bold stripes. Pair that with a flirty, multi-layered ruffle skirt, and I had an idea for an 80's-style party dress, with a nod to the 19th century.
Lace details and a bold belt brought this design together for me. I love developing young, modern twists on fabulous trends from fashion's history and this Portsmouth piece intrigued me."

Sarah's work will appear in the upcoming 2012 exhibition and publication.

Sarah Parker Rice Goodwin's Floral Print Dress, c. 1846-50

Sarah Parker Rice Goodwin (1805-1896)

Sarah’s floral print cotton dress (c. 1846-1850) was produced at the Portsmouth Steam Factory. The dates are consistent with the operation of the Steam Factory which was owned by her husband, New Hampshire’s Civil War Governor, Ichabod Goodwin. The dress was photographed on site at the Goodwin Mansion in Sarah’s own chamber; she would have worn this dress while in her early to mid 40s. Sarah had seven children; four died at a young age. In terms of contemporary sizing, the dress would have been an approximate size two or four. However, the wrists and forearms are so incredibly small in diameter, that only a teenager or very slim woman with slight bone structure would be able to wear the dress today. The dress stands at 51 1/2 inches.

While the use of a single patterned cotton (small rosy pink buds alternate with floral garlands creating a pink bands or “stripes”) may appear straightforward at first glance, the dress is a very complex and sophisticated affair, with layered frothy, near-diaphanous tiers, counterbalanced by a sharply drawn and pleated bodice. The petite crocheted buttons, 10 lining each sleeve and cuff, and the 13 hook and eye back closures reveal that it would have been impossible for her to dress unassisted. The stylishly cut neckline and complex sleeves all required perfect fabric matching to create the diagonals of the skirt, which contrast with the orderly, symmetrical bodice.

Photography, Ellen McDermott
Design layout, Brian Smestad, Blue Tree
Mannequin and styling, Astrida Schaeffer
Sketches, Sarah Beth Johnson, March 2011
Goodwin dress, Gift of Alice Decatur Armsden, #1997.166
Shoot assistants, Brielly McGlaughlin & Sam Hall

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Designer Sarah J preliminary sketch inspired by Sarah Goodwin's print floral dress

Designer Sarah J preliminary sketch inspired by Sarah Goodwin... on Twitpic

Sketch, courtesy of Sarah Beth Johnson
Mannequin, designed by Astrida Schaeffer
Dress, Gift of Mrs. Armsden Decatur
Strawbery Banke Museum Textile and Costume Collection