Yes, I had WAY too much fun with the mannequins. Ahem. Moving along...
Boobs. They happened.
Every garment presented a new challenge. The most difficult was the Harriet Aiken dress, which had to be arranged on one of the lovely boobalicious mannequins. These mannequins belong to a nice, modern design firm which uses them to display nice, modern clothing to represent the nice, modern feminine ideal. Which meant that the nearly 6-foot tall mannequins had 25-inch waists and 38-inch bosoms. I had already decided to display Harriet in a seated position, if possible. Luckily this was the ONLY posture that allowed the dress to close at the waist and sit more or less correctly on the form around the... intrusive interior objects.
Before the nerds among us get bothered by the sight of the 1849 dress arranged on the 1880's love seat, you should know that this was for an 1863-themed event. Bwahhahaha!!
None of the mannequins was designed to "sit," so this was an engineering marvel. Ultimately, Harriet was jacked up in a sitting position through the artful use of a fleece blanket from my car, three books that I relocated from the library shelves and one of her own legs.
The rest of the garments were arranged on the standing mannequins, with an eye towards giving them a "reason" to be wherever they were. The dress below was oriented next to the pianoforte as though the intended wearer (French Governess Pauline Boudet, in theory) was at attendance on a pupil.
I really did not want to have the mannequins lined up in the hallway, or clumped in a convenient corner. It was my hope that as people wandered through the house on the day of the event, they could catch glimpses of the garments in a "natural" setting. (However natural a gaggle of decapitated plastic women can be.) Despite the invitation to display the clothing and address the tour groups about it, I wanted it to be in the background. People came to see the house, not my stitchery. And truly, since I designed every garment to be as close to average day garb as possible for the intended wearer, the clothing made more sense "walking around" than it ever could have in a glass box.
Plus, it was fun spooking people. (Including myself). Walking quickly from one room to the next was a perfect recipe for "finding" one of the mannequins unexpectedly. As I look at these pictures, I can still hear Pearl the housekeeper screaming as she came around the bottom of the steps...
What mannequins, Pearl?
Next time: A little less talk and a lot more of my mother in a polyester dress!