Saturday, 3 December 2016

Construction of the Lengha Bodice

The original sketch below indicates some of the inspiration for the decorative work and an idea for the structure of the skirt
Inner front section with plaster covering
This project started about 6 months ago, although the idea has been in my head for at least 3 years! Initially I couldn't think of a means to construct the base for the 3-d Indian Lengha style  'dress', but once I hit on the idea of constructing a paper pattern and adhering the hand made paper to it, I could begin. I had tried my hand at pattern cutting and construction when I finished my art degree, and made wedding dresses and garments designed for odd shapes, so this was just another pattern cutting challenge! I decided to create the piece in 4 sections, front and back bodice and front and back skirt. The sections would be laced together by means of ribbon through eyelet holes running along the side and upper and lower edges of the pieces. 
The back section showing the inner surface with the
start of the Modroc strips for strengthening.
The plastic straws were to keep the holes I created for eyelet threading
The basic pattern was constructed in sturdy brown paper, darted and folded to create a 'bodice 'form. The inside was strengthened with Modroc, a plaster infused cotton 'scrim' which is lightweight and a lot less expensive than using resin on both inner and outer surfaces to create the rigidity I was after.

Keeping the front and back together as they dried to ensure they would still fit
once the paper covering and the plaster dried.

The front bodice section with its covering of hand made paper
mainly made from domestic shredded waste paper. It has been moulded
whilst wet.

This took a few weeks of construction. The inner plaster surface was sealed with PVA glue and painted with several coats of white water based paint.

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