The Goose Girl: Finally Finished

A labor of love this was indeed. From the initial musings of an inspiration thanks to the Foundations Reveled 2021 Contest to the final photoshoot, it has been quite the journey. I am incredibly proud of the work I’ve done here and the level of detail this blog has held me accountable in doing it.

I’d like to share here the process of getting dressed in the full garment as well as the incredible photos taken by Taran Schatz who was gracious enough to drive from a state away to come romp around in the woods and take lots and lots of photos.

Initially, the petticoat is placed over the chemise and secured. With little suede slippers, I felt like I had just stepped into a fairytale, and I was still only in my undergarments!

Next, the lovely structured stays are laced up with loops left at the middle of the eyelets so it could easily be tightened by the wearer in either direction (top or bottom). I opted to have it laced from bottom to top (untraditionally) so that all the tension would be focused at the waistline. Plus, it gives a pretty little bow at the top then.

The front of the stays with bows at the shoulders. The smocking on the chemise at the neckline is nicely seen here too.
The top, back of the stays where the final bow is tied. The neckline of the chemise is just below the stays and is visible through the 2″ gap left at the back of the stays to accentuate the lacing.

Next, the skirt is brought up and over the head, settled at the hips, and closed at the sides.

Here, all those gorgeous cartridge pleats are visible again against the rich tones of the stays. We can also see the details of the cuff smocking.

Lastly, the apron is tied around the waist and we are ready for action!

I donned my green cotton headscarf (and some thick wool socks & snow boots) and we headed out to the woods, the Kettle Moraine woods to be exact. We had found an area of the woods that was accessible from short section of the Ice Age Trail which spans more than 1000 miles, traversing through the state of Wisconsin. Though we were in the deep of winter, the spot gave me goose bumps thinking about how much it resembled the pond and woods described in the story. All that was missing were the birch trees.

Since the photographer is a good friend, we just played in the snow and took a TON of photos. Here is a selection of some of my favorites, though I may add more as Taran edits more.

I cannot say enough about how wonderfully the day turned out, nor how grateful I am to Taran Schatz for his artistic vision in capturing this full garment. Though, it doesn’t end with the photos! Check out below for the garment reveal video.

With the photos and video complete, I officially was able to finish the project and submit to the contest. Phew! Here’s to hoping the garment is noticed amidst the incredible talent I’ve seen from other makers in this wholesome world.

I’ll take a moment here to again thank all the people in my life that have given me support along the way. Friends who took my calls every time I got stuck, laced me up every time I needed to do a fitting, and made sure I was warm in the snow during the photoshoot. The family members that begged to see pictures of the process and listen to my ramblings over holiday Zoom calls. The owner of Studio RicRac who always wanted to hear about progress when I’d stop in at her shop. Foundations Revealed & Cathy Hay for giving a space and a platform for this kind of art work to be encouraged and celebrated. Shannon Hale for inspiring me to become a reader by finding The Goose Girl.

I will not forget every bit of support along the way of this project.

I am incredibly pleased to see the project done, to see all the hours come to fruition, though I am also sad to be done. It has been a beautiful experience to work towards this goal. To allow myself the time and mental space to freely create, to gather the right pieces, and follow a line of inspiration that had no demands of “well, where will you ever wear that?”. The joy I felt when wearing the completed garment is unlike any I have had in a long time. This project gave me something to focus on and find pure joy during the tumultuous time that 2020 has been. The Goose Girl has inspired me to do more quality projects, to continue to take the time to explore technique, to grow as an artist.

I’m not sure what is coming down the pipeline for me, but I am excited and hungry for more.

If you wish to go back and see the process for any of the elements of the design, click the links to each section below:

The Goose Girl: Intro

The Goose Girl: Bodice Beginnings to Boning

The Goose Girl: Petticoat

The Goose Girl: Peasant Skirt

The Goose Girl: Bodice Finishings to Flare

The Goose Girl: Shift, Chemise, Smock….thing

The Goose Girl: Scarves and Aprons

The Goose Girl: Scarves and Aprons

All the elements of the Goose Girl garment were complete and wearable, but a couple final touches were left. Apologies are in order for how late this is in getting out for when I finished it, and honestly, lack of photos in this post. Here is a lot more of my musings, and not too much process to be shown.

Way back in August, at the start of this project, I had found a beautifully embroidered dresser scarf and vintage jacquard ribbon from the vintage shop, Studio RicRac.  These two pieces were the inspiration for the original design and I was determined to incorporate them into the final garment, though I had found other fabrics to use for their intended purpose in the stays.  

The jacquard ribbon had been used in the skirt thus far, but the dresser scarf still remained and it was the perfect size for a small apron.  After some quick plotting, I decided to make the apron double sided with a pocket that Izi could ideally be collecting goose feathers in while in the field with her charges.  This was especially exciting to decide upon since it would mean I wouldn’t have to cut the dresser scarf and could use it in its entirety.

I folded the scarf in half widthwise and whip stitched from about half way from the fold to the end of the fabric, around the bottom curve, and up to the same point on the other side. The whip stitching was done on the fashion side using cream silk thread that I was able to bury in the preexisting lace trim.  

Once set, the pocket apron was whip stitched to the remaining 2 yards of jacquard ribbon that would tie in the back.  

The headscarf was the next accessory for the final garment.  Shannon Hale’s retelling of the classic tale describes Princess Ani as having yellow (blonde) hair that was extremely distinctive from her fellow palace workers and Bayerns who all had dark brown, brunette, or black hair.  It was a defining feature throughout the book that Ani had to keep hidden to protect herself from discovery. It was also an identity that would later come back when she would go with the workers to the king to reveal herself: they called her the Yellow Lady. 

Fortunately for Ani, Shannon Hale’s culture of Bayern women wore headscarves when working in the fields or forest.  In the novel, Ani takes advantage of this cultural garb by wearing her headscarf whenever not alone in her room.  I wanted to be careful when portraying this element as accurate to my chosen interpretation of Bayern as Bavarian.  In researching, I found that headscarves are common in Central and Eastern Europe, but are typically worn by married women.  

I returned to the drawing board at a bit of a loss, unable to find good inspiration.  Then, I stumbled upon the wonderful ladies at Wrapunzel Blog who simply explained any and all kinds of head wraps that they wore as part of their daily dress.  The best and most inspiring part was from Naiomi in her video “Is it Offensive if I Wear a Head Wrap”.  I had stumbled upon the video when I felt at a loss of if my design was wrong to proceed with since I was not wearing it for religious purposes.  But her explanation was beautiful and exactly what I needed to hear to have the confidence to move forward with the concept as fashion and following with cultural inspiration rather than a gimmicky costume. 

Their videos and discussions on dressing modestly are quite lovely, and I recommend them to anyone looking for a calming practice.  After looking more in depth at their discussions and inspiration, I decided to go very simply with their “Royal Wrap” where a single scarf is wrapped twice around the crown of the head. 

To make my wrap, I used one yard of light green cotton quilting fabric I had previously purchased to make bias tape for another project.  I used a store bought scarf I wear in the winter and tested the Royal Wrap method as a template for size of material to cut.  The cotton was a bit stiffer than the soft kits the Wrapunzel ladies use, but I loved the complementary green color to the overall Goose Girl garment and the nod to the character’s green eyes from the novel.

The edges were finished simply with a tiny rolled hem and I left the piece unpressed to leave in the wrinkles and crinkles for added texture.  

On the day of our professional photoshoot of the full garment, I modified the wrap slightly by shifting the length to one side which was wrapped around the crown of the head and leaving the short tail loose.  I felt this gave a nice return to the original inspiration of the Eastern European head scarves which are tied simply at the nape of the neck and left hanging loose. 

A huge thank you to the wonderful resources and ladies at Wrapunzel for the knowledge and confidence to finish the look in this way.