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Why have just one dream project when you can have more than you can possibly achieve? Here, in no particular order, are things I’d like to make or achieve but probably never will:

Charles James (American, born Great Britain, 1906–1978)
“Cossack”, 1952
wool; Length at CB: 46 in. (116.8 cm)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Muriel Bultman Francis, 1966 (2009.300.402)

Charles James: American master of draping fabric. I have nowhere and no reason to make or wear this coat, but the lines and fabric appeal to me. This skill level is currently beyond me, but I recognize that I have enough historical clothing that I could get out of the 18th and 19th centuries to concentrate on learning the couture techniques of the 20th century. Many muslins went into making this, and a deep understanding of fabric. One of the best things about the Met’s Charles James collection is the large number of muslins. Costume and clothing designers’ sketches, muslins give us a good sense of how a designer thought, and what steps went into a garment.

Balenciaga is another favorite. Evening gowns, suits, and coats, all deliciously draped.

House of Balenciaga (French, founded 1937)
Rain ensemble, fall/winter 1965–66
cotton ; Length (a): 42 1/2 in. (108 cm) Length (b): 24 in. (61 cm)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Gift of Rachel L. Mellon, 1987 (1987.134.23a, b)

Lest you think I only like coats, the “Tulip” dress is equally interesting.

House of Balenciaga (French, founded 1937)
Evening Dress, 1964
silk ;
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Gift of Baroness Philippe de Rothschild, 1973 (1973.21.8)

Thanks to the V&A, there are digital animations of the construction of the tulip dress, which has deceptively simple pattern pieces. The video was created in support of teh V&A’s Balenciaga exhibition, which I am sorry not to be able to see.

Equally out of reach is this: a remodeled silk lampas gown. The idea is to make the first gown– that is, the gown suitable for the fabric’s earliest date (which is probably not 1790, but closer to 1740-1750) and then alter that gown to the late 18th century style.

Unknown maker. Gown, 1790. French, silk, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Purchase, Irene Lewisohn Bequest, 1964, (C.I.64.32.2)

This last “dream” project is more achievable, though somewhat academic. Silk lampas fabric can be found, and there’s a simpler alteration project in lampas at the V&A

Gown, Spitalfields silk, ,
1740 – 1749 (weaving) 1740 – 1749 (sewing)
1760 – 1769 (altered) 1950 – 1959 (altered)
Given by Mrs H. H. Fraser Victoria and Albert Museum, T.433-1967