How To Follow Your Dream: The Peacock Dress, attempt #3

How To Follow Your Dream: The Peacock Dress, attempt #3


– Have you ever promised somebody that you would do something
and then discovered that maybe you’ve bitten off slightly more than you could chew? Guilty. About five years ago, I
promised to make a dress. In return for raising a vast
amount of money for charity. And I knew at the time that it
would be a huge undertaking, everybody knew it would
be a huge undertaking, that was the whole point,
that was why it raised so much money, everybody went, yeah
I’ll pay to see you try that! And it hasn’t come off yet,
and that was five years later. And there have been two failed attempts, and it’s time to try number three. So the first time I tried
to make the peacock dress, I tried to do it on my own. And it turned out that wouldn’t work because it was way more work
than one person could do. It would have taken me 30 years, and I would have had
no wrist strength left. For anybody who sews will know that RSI and carpal tunnel syndrome
are a constant hazard. So, I tried again. And I thought again, and I thought, well if the dress exists already
somebody must have done it, somebody’s done it successfully, so I must be able to do it, too. So how did the people who
originally made it succeed at it? When Worth designed and
commissioned this dress, in 1902, he did not do all
the embroidery himself. His seamstresses did not
do all the embroidery. The embroidery was done in India. An embroidery house in Mumbai
who were willing to do it, they said it would take them 3 weeks, and it would cost $8,000.00. It’s no longer about taking a
vast amount of time to do it, now it’s about raising a bunch of money. And I’m not about to crowd fund that because I’ve already spent
two years fundraising. So I decided I’d have to come
up with the money another way. So I came back to Kedleston
where the dress is kept. And proposed that maybe they
would like to commission me to make a reproduction of the dress. And they said yes, and there
was a great plan afoot, and it fell through at the last hurdle. And unfortunately for the last year or two I haven’t been able to
say anything about it, because that project was so secret, because there was no budget in place, I couldn’t say anything about
what we were planning to do, because it might not come off and in the event that it
turned out that was true, it didn’t come to pass, so
now we’re back at square one. So now I’d find another
way to do it again. I’m not done yet. So what do you do when you
have a vast ambitious project that you really want to do, but is really really intimidating? So intimidating that you
could create the most fabulous sewing space you could ever
want in order to do it in, and yet you can’t get into the
sewing room to even begin it. Or you start piecemeal and you
do a bit here and a bit there but it isn’t good enough, it
isn’t how you envisioned it, so you keep stopping and starting. And it just doesn’t seem
to get any momentum going. The answer I believe, and
what I’m trying to do today, is to come back to the
beginning and rediscover the inspiration that
started you off on this path in the first place. And that’s why I’m back here at Kedleston. (light chatter and footsteps) Ah, so that was a pretty
unbelievable experience. Umm, I went in to see the
dress as I’ve done many times before and as I saw awhile
ago and somebody posted on facebook, that there was
a sample that I had left with the house manager, has
been put inside the case. The sample is not only in the case, the description next to
the dress is now largely something that I wrote, although
it’s been changed a bit. There are now much more
accurate details about it, my name is on that piece,
and on a little note by the sample that’s in the case. The room guides are saying
that that sample of embroidery has made all the difference,
that people are so much more interested and able to
see and ask questions and it’s increased the
interest in the dress now and they’re all terribly excited. They’re still telling
people about this lady who’s recreating the dress, there was the, I met a room guide Sarah
who was so happy to see me that she’d met me years
ago when I first came to look at the dress and
she said that even today, she must have told a
hundred people to go to thepeacockdress.com and see my site. So it’s not only, it seems it’s not only all of the 300 people who
originally donated money for the Haitian orphanage
to see this done, I’m now, my name is now
known here, because my name is on the bit of paper
that’s inside the glass case with the peacock dress. So everybody wants to know
when it’s gonna be finished. So whether or not this is possible, I’ve said in the past, “Throw your heart “over the fence and the rest will follow.” I guess it’s time to follow.

26 Replies to “How To Follow Your Dream: The Peacock Dress, attempt #3”

  1. I have every faith in this project. If it was done once, it can be done again. As you wrote on your blog, RedThreaded's ironwork dress is proof that Worth's seamstresses didn't use magic to create their dresses, they used real techniques that can be replicated. You can do it!

  2. Cathy, I am sure you will achieve your goal, because you are one determined lady! Like all works of art, timing is everything. When the time is right all the stars will align, and your masterpiece will come together. I know I can't wait to see this dress come to life!

  3. Just send us all a bit to embroider/bead/whatever you need and it will be done in no time. Your welcome 😛

  4. I just fell down this rabbit hole. However, as I begin to explore, I believe that you raised the funds by agreeing that the viewers could watch you try. They have been. You have been. I am very much in favor of continuing to try. However, wouldn't it be true to say that you have allowed them to watch? You succeeded.

  5. cheerleads You can do it Cathy! And if you need to crowdfund to make it happen, then let it be so. It's a scary situation, but you can do it!

  6. As a creator I felt such joy for you, breaking to tears and being silly. This is so thrilling and beautiful.

  7. Have you considered making the stages of the dress, to show separately? Showing how a dress is made up in chronological order would educate the public on an entertaining way. This would make a bigger and more interesting display without completing the entire dress.
    Birdy

  8. You can do anything if you put your mind and talents to it! Philippians 4: 13. I will pray for you to get it done, Doctor Hay! ~Janet in Canada

  9. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. If it could ever be that easy. I don't think it can be done. Your talent and expertise are beyond question but I don't see how the beading can be done today. If embroideres could be found ( one person couldn't do it in a lifetime), who could afford it? I admire your ambition but is this even possible?

  10. Well, lookee there are your name right there on that slip of paper in the corner with that piece gorgeous beadwork in that very special glass cabinet with that AMAZING and historic dress! Eeep! How very exciting!! <3

  11. I'm working up the insanity to start a beatle wing garment of some sort. Lots of prep work and decisions. Best wishes 😊

  12. This video made me tear up. You are such a lovely and open person that my heart just makes this little jump, all the way over the fence it might! I started an historical sewing class a few months ago, in which I'll be learning and attempting within 12 months how to make a 1780s middleclass wear regional to my town. I have no sewing experience but what a love I have for history and specifically the clothes that bring us so much closer to the people daily living in those times past by. The coming months scare me a little as I have obviously never done this before and am afraid of failure. But, my friend. I have stumbled across your inspiring channel thanks to Bernadette, and it couldn't have come at a better time. Even tho you do not know me and probably never will (altho a meet and greet would be fab) I do want you to know that you make me feel as tho I in fact can do this class successfully, which in itself means taking a baby step to my bigger goals that I have when it comes to historical costuming. I just have to show up and that's more than extremely comforting to know. Thank you Cathy, all the love,
    Bibi

  13. Aawww… <3 Huge hugs from here!
    Seems like you've been pushing and pulling on that dream for so long, and then finally the ball starts rolling and you're now left hanging after it being dragged by the pulling rope. This thing just WANTS to happen, and you know that, I can tell. 🙂 You have no clue how, but it will happen. The universe will somehow help you. More trouble to come, for sure. But OH, will you succeed. Yeah, you will! GO; GIRL! <3

  14. Can you not get many embroiderers to embroider a patch that will all get sewn together ? I was once a part of something similar but for a quilt and it was great fun. The finished quilt hangs in Canberra.

  15. Really, please devote some time to show us how you do your hair. Every video it's worn in another beautiful way.

  16. I love that your sample is in the case because I think the average viewer doesn't realise how faded and tarnished clothes from history can become and they end up with a picture of history that has a muted filter on it when really just imagine how this dress would have glowed.

  17. I am excited to see this come together I saw crowdfunding mentioned in another comment and would really like to contribute if possible because today I'm feeling quite the same. My knitting project today (a beautiful cabled sweater) is feeling way more daunting that it did before and I'm really struggling. Your video today is the first I have ever watched of yours and it arrived on my feed exactly when I needed to hear that message. You have inspired me so Im going to go back to the beginning and try again and stick to it. Thank you!

  18. I know nothing so this suggestion I am about to give may be totally unrealistic. What if you didn’t do it by yourself but with the help of a community of skilled volunteers?

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