Mademoiselle Emily

Did you ever channel a white cat, a wedding gown and  Jean Harlow?

Well then you know it comes out an Art Gown, and that Art Gown is dedicated to;

Georgiann Carlson from Rethinking Life blog. Georgiann’s blog is full of art, Chicklets, creative writing, flowers, Chicago, Emily and opinions.

Deciding it must be a Harlow 1930’s style movie star gown, dictated a bias cut.

Admittedly, being a rank amateur in working with bias, I was cursed with many problems. Nonetheless, it’s a challenge I’ve wanted to tackle for a long time.

Designers, like Chanel and Vionnet,  championed the anti-corset generation. Finally, women could feel more comfortable in their clothes.

At a liquidation sale, I found an 18″ wide bordeur lace for $0.50/yard.

What costs $0.50 these days? I bought 75 yards.

Thinking like a cat, I decided to shred the lace.

Using scissors for claws, I deconstructed the 18″ wide lace into many strips of lace; 3/4″ – 2″ wide. I also got many decals out of it.

The decal 2nd from the left, was gathered up into the flowers that adorn Mademoiselle Emily.

At the same sale, I found an old high quality satin coat lining for $0.75/yd.

The fabric was cut on bias, à la Madeleine Vionnet. (Click on left side pic  to read about this amazing designer.

The bias fell on the Judy for about 10 days, before it was cut into.

Mademoiselle Emily has many gorgeous angles.

 ⭐️Mini-Me has a special announcement! ⭐️

by Holly – House of Heart

She is fine

like Dynasty porcelain.

Her words are the chimes of

a host of carillons that ring

True and wise, as clear as bells.

Her hair is a storm

Of Harlow platinum

eyes, a deluge of diamonds.  

Not to give in to Winter

She winks  over her shoulder,

saunters Emmy’s catwalk

adorned in Chanel and Lavender. 


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Mademoiselle Emily looks out to the dining room. The other Art Gowns were aghast when she announced that there would be no dinner party, and that she would prefer to paint a portrait of each Art Gown.

Now, the Art Gowns are bickering over who will be first to sit for her!

We all know cats have 9 lives. Here are 9 tails, one for each of Mademoiselle Emily’s 9 lives: 1. a small pointed front tail w/ dagger  – 2. one handsome centre back tail w/ lace trim –  3. two side back tails of voile w/picot lace border – 4. 2 x side centre voile w/picot fluffs – 5. Center back fluffy tail

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Tails become tales in a who-done-it with humour, about a man becoming who he has pretended to be. I have it in my mind that there are 9 tales, like a cat has 9 lives. The next book is “eight black lives”.

Nicky is an actor, vain, jaded and tired of Hollywood fluff. He holes up, brooding in his New York apartment only to accept yet another “detective” role scheduled to shoot in his grey and gritty home turf. As stalkers move in and a real life murder taps him on the shoulder, Nicky enters a dangerous Neo Noir world. Peril looms to all those around him, including his love Lara and their unborn son. With the chill of premonition creeping over him, and wielding his “detective” skills, Nicky must awaken the true man within before time runs out.

You can read it for free. Just click on the cover and download the PDF.

Art Gown Mademoiselle Emily designed & made: © Resa McConaghy

Story & Character Art Gown Mademoiselle Emily © Resa McConaghy

Photos © Resa McConaghy

Poem: Gigi © Holly Hunter

♥️Thank you, Holly!♥️

🌹Many Thanks to Georgiann for all her inspiration. She has written 2 books. If you visit her blog you will see them on her sidebar. Click on them, and you will be able to buy them.🌹

Here is something I’ve never shown on Art Gowns, before now.

From the first scraps of an idea, to the end product.

It’s a long & fab journey!

Johnny photo bombs the shot when Resa tries to capture a dramatic moment with Mademoiselle Emily.


165 thoughts on “Mademoiselle Emily

    1. Thank you, Ralph! She is a very elegant girl. It’s nice to be appreciated by you, and the family in Graz! Sending hugs and kisses for all! xoxoxoxo ❤

  1. Harlean Carpenter. Jean Harlow. What a woman. Died too soon. She was a scrap of an idea to an end product in many ways and that is hard to be as I know you know. Wonderful, wonderful post. And your gowns…. God, your gowns. xxx

    1. Thank you, Shehanne! Harlow was just coming into her own, when her life ended. Boy, could she wear bias! I love her outfits in Dinner at Eight! Just stunning, and now I have finally made a bias cut gown. Yay! xoxoxoxo

  2. I’m overwhelmed. The gown is stunning and absolutely gorgeous. The pictures are incredible, showing the gown from every beautiful angle. The poem from Holly is amazing. Emily will be thrilled to have such a wonderful gown named after her. I can never thank you enough for this precious gift. I’m so very grateful. And Holly, thank you for the lovely poem. You two work well together. 🙂 My heart is filled with love for you both.

    Harlow would have LOVED this gown. Shimmering and falling perfectly.

    Resa, you outdid yourself. You need a One-Woman show and Holly needs to publish a poetry book.

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Such a priceless show of generosity. Thank you, thank you, thank you. ❤ ❤ ❤

    1. You are so welcome!
      I’m thrilled you are enjoying the admiration Holly and I have for you, that is the heart of this post…. of Mademoiselle Emily.
      OH, what about Holly doing slam poetry at an Art Gowns show? 😀
      I wish I could draw as well as I make gowns. I’d draw a million of them.

      1. I just came back to watch the video of the dress being made. I love looking at that. And wouldn’t that be the most perfect evening? Your gowns, and Slam Poetry. I can’t imagine anything more wonderful. Thank you again for your kind words. ❤

  3. Reblogged this on Rethinking Life and commented:
    This post is a priceless gift. I’m overwhelmed by Resa’s generosity. The time put into the gorgeous gown,named after my beloved cat. And the beautiful poem written for me by the poet Holly. I’m forever grateful for the friendship of these tow amazing women. I can never thank them enough. Please enjoy Resa’s post.

  4. I forgot to tell you how much I love the final photo. The shading is fantastic and it’s the perfect ending to your fabulous post. I love it. Seeing the trim, and pieces of lace was so interesting. Thank you for making this wonderful post for me,,,and for Emily. ❤

    1. Yeah, that last shot was a try at doing some interesting photography…. with my IPhone! Lol!
      The trim was very relaxing to cut out. Did you see Johnny on the chair in the second last pic? He’s sooo special! I think he knew this Art Gown was partly for Emily, his long distance girl friend. xo ❤

    1. Aww, thank you dear Cindy! Yeah, we’ve met some very neat people out here! Can you believe I’ve made 23 Art Gowns, now? They really are getting better in a way. Although each is a special beauty, like Autumn Orchid, and you!

        1. Mademoiselle Emily is a Star!
          I’m grateful to be able to be an artist in a way I know how.
          After I got over the novelty of becoming a brain surgeon, I settled on designing.
          Of all the arts and crafts I’ve done, movies/tv costumes designed, I never imagined once I would end up in Art Gowns.
          Gowns seemed beautiful, but shallow. However, these are Art Gowns, and they are deep…. deeper than your average gown.

          1. There’s a story behind each gown. An organic meaning that comes from the place myths are born. Your gowns fill a need and bring myths to life. Holly’s poetry fills a need as well. Both are spiritual and remind us who we are.

            1. Thank you! I found it refreshing that I came up with the idea that Mademoiselle Emily would not throw a dinner party for the Art Gowns, as is the tradition. Well, like you, she goes her own way, and is an artist. So, she will paint their portraits! Spiritual food, instead of body food.

    1. Carolee! Thank you! She is an elegant girl. I’s partly because I found long leftover yardages for next to no money, so was able to be more sleek in my approach. Usually, I’m chipping away with a bit of this and that.
      LOL Contessa Fiori was made from an old vest (over dyed) black curtain sheers for $1.00/yd, half of a vintage saree and a vintage men’s suit lining brought up from a basement, after a long life of storage.
      The next Art Gown will be a complete UTurn. Well, every woman is unique, and so it follows with the Art Gowns!

  5. Oh, wow, my sweet friend! I’ll say again, you have magical hands! You transform everything you touch to an absolute beauty! What an Art Gown, Resa! My goodness, all that work!!!!! You have my admiration!!!! Love and many hugs and xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo to you and to the cat in you and next to you! 😉 xoxoxoxoxo

  6. That is one belting dressing gown, madam. Very impressive indeed. All flowing and lovely. Grey is underrated, non? I like the colour. Not as drab as some folks make out. In fact, rather glorious.

    1. Thank you!!! Very glorious indeed! Yes, she just drools around the Art Gowns room looking fabulous!
      Yes, it is a very pale grey (underrated colour) satin. However, when light hits it, the sheen is exposed as a silver. In the drape’s folds, the valleys are dark and the highlights are very platinum. ❦

  7. I am utterly impressed Resa, On the Bias, I know how difficult that can be, and your skill in dissecting that wonderful broad lace bargain find you get a big thumbs up from me..
    I worked with lace alot, in making undergarments, and also know the painstaking effort you put into that skill of making your lace go further and uniquely special.

    Holly’s poem most certain captured the magic of Mademoiselle Emily’s fine porcelain gown and to see the amount of work and detail you have put in is Stunning!.. Really Stunning..

    You dear Resa are have amazing talent.. And so loved every one of your images..
    AMAZING!!!!! 💖

      1. You make a great collaboration and loved your words Holly.. Knowing the craft and skill needed to not only create the pattern, cut the fabric, sew and find the trims, That lace is amazing isn’t it.. Oh to have Resa make a wedding gown.. Who would need David and Elizabeth Emanuel, lol… with Resa’s skills.. 🙂

          1. Sue is very lovely! I’m working my way down the comments. There was a huge snow fall yesterday, last night and still continuing. So, in the wee hours of the morning, the furnace died. It was quite chilly in here. Anyway, heat is back on, and I have some time to sit at the computer! NOTHING like winter!!!!

              1. WOW… What a wonderful portfolio and I have only just explored your first page here and the magazine article on page 14-15.. So impressed with your work and skill Resa.. and those designs look stunning on the stars of both sexes.. 🙂 ❤

    1. Yay!!! Thank you, Sue! ❤
      I get to live in a Zen state when I am sewing my girls together, as everything is stitched by hand. Of course I'm able use a sewing machine, but it does not promote the calm, meditative state that hand stitching does.
      Ah the lace, yes, I enjoyed cutting it up…. more peace and quiet. Lol, there's lots uncut left, and it will be used in different ways in the future.
      The bias was a challenge. Although, it was more of a challenge for Vionnet, as fabrics were only 36" wide in those days, and the yardage for a gown had to be pieced together.
      The fabric I used is 60" wide. This meant I could drape a 60" square, which on bias yielded a 90" length. I did the darts on bias…. french dart style. Again that shaping would have been pieced together in Vionnet's day..
      Nonetheless, the stretching/ hanging out of the bias, and the twisted distortion was a challenge. It never stops. If you get to see an actual piece from the 30's that has been hanging all these years, one side is longer than the other, and a size 6 has skinnied itself into a size 2.

      It's so neat that you are from the industry, and that we can talk shop.
      Comprehensive designing with fabrics knowledge, pattern making & sewing skills, is almost a thing of the past. Yt, I hang onto it, as a noble art form.

      So happy you came for a visit and got to see Mademoiselle Emily!
      xoxoxo ❤

      1. I am very impressed Resa.. Yes a very NOBLE art form indeed.. And my admiration just grew tenfold to know you stitched by hand the whole garment.. WOW!..
        I often marvel at the gowns depicted in history, the level of attention to detail, the lace, and beadwork plus hand embroidery too that went into the elite garments of the times.. And to think those often poor seamstress’s would go nearly blind so young as they often worked in poor light conditions often long hours only by candle light.
        Your use of fabric and the bais etc shows me just the depth of knowledge you have.
        I have been watching a series which has run several years now on the BBC called the Great British Sewing Bee… If you google it you will find it.. How amateur sewers are challenged to make things and create designs from scratch or transform a garment to another wearable garment.. It sorts the wheat from the chaff lol.. 🙂

        Good to chat with you Resa.. I was 28 years in the ‘Sewing Trade, and then 11 years after that in a complete career change into Support working in mental health..
        Now a days I prefer my knitting to getting my sewing machine out, and painting, though I used to at one time make my own dresses skirts, etc as well as my daughters dresses… Hubby used to joke I would take ages to resew a button on his shirt haha.. A bit like a builder who has little time for DIY.. at home.. 🙂
        Enjoyed our exchange Resa.. Much love to you and take care.. ❤

    1. Thank you! Yeah, Mademoiselle Emily is elegant and a story unto herself. Thank you for the sweet thoughts, especially as this is Valentine’s Day. Many hearts to you! X

  8. WOW…every time you post a new gown I want to say it’s my favourite because they are all so incredible. This one is so classy and elegant, I absolutely love it! I can also picture you cutting all that lace lol ❤ ❤

    1. Thank you darling Sherrie! xoxo Admittedly, I thought of you while I was cutting up the lace… hour after hour, after hour. Well, you get the seized up fingers image! LOL! ❤ ❤

  9. Wow; this is a ‘darling’ dress; so elegant and sophisticated. Resa; it would make a wonderful wedding dress! And, oh my, I can see you cutting the lace with precision and love.. Just wonderful; Gigi and Emily must be so proud…
    Holly’s poem described Georgiann to a tee. Well done to Holly.
    And another well done to you, dear Resa… When did you get the time to write another novel???
    You are a marvel..

    1. Well, I’m still working on the novel, but it’s coming along. I just don’t force anything. All the wonderful creative things I like to do are here. When a mood strikes for sewing or drawing or writing, I go to what I’m feeling to do. That way the session is productive.
      I must say I am particularly drawn to my Art Gowns these days. That includes drawing them.
      My Plastic reflection is etched out… somewhat scathing, so I’ll revisit it with a fresh brain in a few days.
      Yes, Mademoiselle Emily is a beauty. She’s an artist, you know.
      ❤ You are a marvel, too Carolyn, a very bright light! xoxoxoxo

  10. I love that you’ve taken us through Mademoiselle’s journey, as though Cinderella in the making from scraps to gorgeous!! I am very much in wedding mode so I adore this ode to a bridal gown with a 1930s flair all its own. Mini Me is a delight too! Oh and Holly’s wonderful poetry too – what more could I want from a post?!! Your latest gown is divine. Truly divine, Resa.

    1. Hey Christy!
      Thank you so much for this fab comment!
      Crazy, but I found your comment in my SPAM folder.
      Holly found me in hers, which reminded me to check mine. There you were, all by your lonely.
      Anyway, it’s a good rule of thumb to check the . SPAM folder regularly.
      Lol! Cinderella’s journey, is kind of right. Unfortunately, I don’t have a bunch of birds and mice to help me! 😀

    1. Where are these handsome tennis playing men? 😀 The Art Gowns think they’d like a peek see at that!
      Lol! Okay they’re in the Regency Romance, or in your imagination. Is one of them doing the massage?
      I haven’t read Georgette Heyer, but she sounds perfect for the Art Gowns to read as they lounge around.
      Happy to see you here! xx

  11. Wow 😮 Mademoiselle Emily is gorgeous…. love the colors and shape. It made me think of Downtown Abbey, the British series. I could totally see one of the female characters in that dress. Absolutely. You have another masterpiece, dear Re. Excellent… 👍⭐️👍 love and best wishes. 😘♥️👋

    1. Downton Abbey is a wonderful series. Lol, sometimes it’s hard to follow because I’m so busy looking at all the fabulous wardrobe and sets and props. It is an exquisitely done production.
      I’m honoured that Mademoiselle Emily made you think of such quality.
      Thank you for saying this is “another” masterpiece! I adore you tremendously, Aq! 💜🦄
      I seem to recall that there was still one minor Goddess you hadn’t covered. Let me know if you want to get together on that in the future. Even….. the far future. 💖🌟🥰xo ❤

      1. Absolutely as to Downtown Abbey. Mme Emily would look perfect in any of the three Crawley sisters 💛😉 adore this gown… And You! 😘 I will send you an email soon. Maybe you can tell me more about your ideas for an eventual collaboration in the future, after that. Much love ♥️🥰

  12. This world of poetry and prose. This world all silver and lace. This world of villains and heroes.
    A world that shimmers and slams you with unbearable beauty. This is Resa’s world. Entry is limited to those who believe in magic. I believe! I believe! XXXOOO Virginia

    1. Dearest Virginia,
      I believe in magic, too!
      Unbearable beauty should be more of a constant in the world. How wonderful that would be.
      Belocchio’s world is filled with such beauty.
      Thank you for your wonderful words of magic to me!
      XOXOXOXO Resa 🌹♥️

  13. I didn’t want to go to bed tonight without checking in to see your latest. I was wow’d from the moment I laid eyes on this beautiful masterpiece. Oh Resa you have out done yourself with this creation, Mademoiselle Emily is dripping in elegance in every way – the center back fluffy tail is the perfect touch. Miss Jean Harlow loves the hint of yesteryear. I must say you paired this perfectly with Holly’s writing – whose work I love reading. I’m totally satisfied as I go to sleep this evening – Miss Resa is on her game!

    1. Yay! So glad you stopped by for a bedtime snack! 😀
      Yes, Mademoiselle Emily is a beauty. The Art Gowns just seem to get better and better. Yet, when I look at some of the older ones… I think …. not really!
      It looks like the next Art Gown will be 180 degrees different from this one. Right now I’m thinking peacocks and Mardi Gras.
      Mary, thank you so much for your kind words and support! I hope you had a great sleep last night. You deserve it! Resa xoxo

  14. Dear Resa! This is one of your best. The gown is gorgeous and fits perfectly with how you described what you had in mind. It really captures the old Hollywood vibe. I also like that all the angles and points on the train make me think of Camelot. It’s an unexpected but wonderful combination.
    I was a seamstress when I was young, making and designing all my own clothes. Yes, working with pieces cut on the bias creates another level of unexpected challenges!
    Your book sounds very exciting. Wishing you huge success. Mega hugs!

    1. Ah, Camelot! I hadn’t thought of that, but I get it!
      Thank you for your lovely comment, Teagan!
      You are one of the few who has learned to sew. It seems to have become a luxury these days, as opposed to when you were younger.
      Then, clothes were more expensive than fabrics, and time was all you needed.
      Also, if you wanted something more unique, you had to make it.
      Now, fabrics are really expensive, or really awful, and clothes are so cheap (unless you can afford top end designers) that the term throw away fashion has evolved into our dialect. Wishing you success, too! {{{HUGS}}}

  15. This is just so gorgeous Resa. I want to wear her on stage, the shoulder cloak is divine too. Can you imagine singing Je Veux Vivre in this beauty! it made me think of Juliette.
    I love Holly’s poem and lovely to read Georgianne from your connection too.

    1. I had to YouTube Je Veux Vivre. I’m listening to Nadine Sierra sing with Angel Rodriguez on piano, as I type this. What a rich, stunning piece!
      I’m no opera expert, but I would rather be listening to you sing it. Her voice is too, screechy.
      Her gown has a similar temerity. The crowd loves her. They would love you better!
      Anyway, if you were singing it, this gown would be perfect.
      What a great compliment!
      Thank you so much, Charlotte! Now, I’ll take a break from sewing, and do some sketching.

      1. Try this version. I work so much on trying to keep a warm creamy tone at the top, when I first started singing my teacher gave me lots of mezzo songs (lower range) it’s as though I have given my voice its own wings in London with Rosa – so much to learn though now I’ve done this. It is from the opera Roméo et Juliette.

        I hadn’t realised you hand stitched everything, that is such a labour of love but machine stitching satin type material may not have got such a beautiful finish, well not if I were at the pedal anyway. I will imagine I’m in this dress the next time I perform it.

        1. MUCH NICER! That was excellent, and I liked the true(ish) to period Juliette dress.
          However, I know, because of your “creamy at the top”, that I would still like your version better.

          I love that your voice has wings. I want those wings to fly you to the top! Also, your stage presence has another unique quality. You are so alive and filled with joy or other needed emotion.

          Yes, by hand they are sewn. It’s my way of meditating, a Zen exercise.
          How sweet that you will imagine this dress when you perform Je Veux Vivre. Boy, would I love to hear that!
          Romeo and Juliette is my favourite Shakespearean play, although I adore many. I also love the 1968 Franco Zeffirelli movie version. It’s never been bettered, and I doubt that it ever will.
          Okay, Charlotte, go sing your wings off!
          Resa ❦❦❦

      1. It’s not weird lots of people do it. I think Hoather is so unusual people naturally want to correct it 😁. I always chuckle at pronunciations too, it’s ‘ho-the’ but we get hoover, hother, ho-a-the, hoeter.

    1. …Or at least enjoy just looking at! There’s not many places to wear a gown these days, unless you’re a movie star, royalty or an Opera singer. I guess that’s why I call them Art Gowns. They are more for enjoying visually, not so much wearing!
      Hope all is well, and the family is all healthy and happy!

  16. Talk about scrolling down to get to the comments box. Wow.

    Hey, Resa this is gorgeous. Love the color and style. My pervy side likes the way this will show just enough cleavage, It looks like one of those glamorous dresses from the old movies.


    1. Thank you, Lonely

      Well, nothing turns heads to the comments box like a pretty Art Gown.
      I’m so hoping we will collaborate.. me with an Art Gown, you with poetry. I haven’t started the next one, yet.

      I always need a break between Art Gowns. I’m working on gown sketches right now.
      Also, I’m working on a guest post for a blog. Titled “Burn The Bra”, I’m obviously taking the feminist lean on it, based on where and when it came from. However, I hope to take it further into a current and enlightened idea. Who better than Art Gowns to vie for female beauty, and the liberated freedom to be allowed to be beautiful, through the use of applied artistry.

      This Art Gown is like a 1930’s movie. There would be no bra underneath. It would ruin the drape over the bodice. Jean Harlow had the perfect figure for this style. ❦

  17. Wonderful post and a stunning gown, Resa. Mademoiselle Emily looks so feline and feminine at the same time, and so comfortable too. And I also cannot wait to read ‘eight black lives’. Wishing you all the success! xx

    1. Thank you, Inese! I read your Viking post. I love it! Daylight wasting time messed me up, and Sunday is my day to visit my hospitalized friend. I’ll be back to comment on Vikings!! xoxo

  18. A most elegant gown, Resa, and it would have fitted Rita beautifully. The gown brings back the memory of the black and white movies too. Great poem from Holly as well. Thanks for the share. 👍🙂

  19. Stunning, gorgeous, amazing!!! Wow…looks almost like a wedding dress I would wear! Hmmm…I may know who to come to if I ever want my own designer dress. Your art gowns are incredible. No wonder the Lonely Author Blog recommended you so highly!

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