Map Dresses

You may remember that earlier this year I was asked to make a very special dress from the escape and evade maps.  I am delighted to now be able to share the full story with you and show you the pictures.

It all started at the Crafted by Hand Fair in July 2015.  I was approached by fellow exhibitor, Hester Cox (who, by the way, does the most amazing collagraphs and prints, who came over to chat and was asking about map dresses… she asked if it was possible to have a bespoke dress made to order.  “Of course” I said, “that would be no problem”.  Hester mentioned something abut it being for a special occasion and I vaguely heard her say something about a wedding.  “How lovely” I thought, “wearing a map dress for someone’s summer wedding – let’s hope she doesn’t outshine the bride!”.

Hmmm.  It was a little later that I realised that Hester didn’t want an escape and evade map dress to wear to A wedding. She wanted an escape and evade map dress to wear to HERwedding.

At which point I needed a little lie down in a dark room.  And a gin.

Luckily, not only is Hester the nicest and most chilled out person to work with, she is also absolutely gorgeous and quite fankly would have looked great wearing a bin bag.

Getting ready for the first fitting – a toile is made form lining material to check the design before making the dress in the silk maps.

We based the design on a summer dress that Hester owned and loved, but we made the skirt a little fuller for extra ‘swish’ when she danced – and Hester chose a gorgeous contrasting colour silk to line the dress which gave a fabulous pop of colour.

Hester got married to Brian on the 2nd July this year and has very kindly allowed me to share photos of the wedding with you, taken by photographer Jo Denison

It is a simple wrap over style, unlined and in the most amazing condition.  The best part is the note that came with it that reads:

This dress was made by Betty Reeves just after the second world war when clothes and materials were still rationed. She used silk maps made by the RAF to use when flying over Europe. Surplus maps were sold in the local Bath Army surplus shop (near the Forum and the River in Bath). She also bought surplus parachute silk and made a beautiful nightdress. sadly the conventional sewing machine stitch proved too big and the seams frayed rapidly and it was never worn.

As well as the items for sale on our website, we also provide a bespoke service and can make simple blouses, skirts and dresses from the maps to order.  Any of you who have met me at one of the fairs or events over the last couple of years may well have seen my beautiful dress made from maps of Scandinavia.  It is by far my favourite piece of clothing and I feel like a child with a new party dress every time I wear it.  I did suggest to my husband that we should get married again so that I could make wedding dress from the maps…  I won’t print his response here…