9.21.2019

Design Process: A Gown Gone Crazy

puff sleeve

I have been having a time and a half working out this dress for the NYC Ballet's Fall Gala. A TIME AND A HALF. Said Gala is this Thursday. In hopes of getting ahead of the curve, I started stitching soon after my birthday, when my Mom presented me with this g-o-r-g-e-o-u-s bazin print. Isn't it amazing? IT'S THE MOST BEAUTIFUL PRINT I'VE EVER SEEN.

side view

It's also turned out to be one of the trickiest! Once I really took a look at the layout, I realized it had a heavy directional repeat. The smaller suns run along both selvages, the larger suns lay smack bang in the middle. Then there are lions within each sun. (Cuz the birthday girl is a Leo.) The smaller lions' feet point towards the selvage, the larger lions' feet alternate every other sun. And ALL feet are marching along the crossgrain, so using this print on the lengthwise grain means your lions are ass over teakettle. To boot, you can't use both sides of this print like other forms of wax pint, as this has a (super cool) shiny, embossed jacquard print on the "good" side of the fabric.

front view

I took a full day to carefully cut a twelve-paneled maxi skirt, making sure I got all of the suns in the mix. Then spent another day on the bodice, eeking out a sun section for the sleeve. I'm talking days of cutting only--not stitching! Sewing it up was a slow train as well, french seams and underlining and boning and all that jazz.

These are not complaints, I LOVED figuring out this stuff! But after all that, I didn't like her. Maybe I spent too long looking at her! But I developed an eye twitch with the placement of the smaller suns. I felt like my gaze was drawn was to knee level, snared by those larger suns.  


So the three center front panels got a haircut from the waist down. 


It seemed like I could finagle the rest of the length into some sort of bustle...which, to be honest, looking at these pics, maybe I should have done. But each french seamed panel kept getting separate haircuts, until I was at the point where I should've just shortened it all at the waist in one go. 


With a fully shortened skirt, I tried MORE options...these are just a few pinned up. I went back in and added more panels for fullness, which I somehow don't have a picture of? That's ridic. Hold on a sec.


She'd need a crinoline, and I need my head checked. The amount of iterations she's gone through at this point is approaching Hollywood levels of reboot.

As I was scrolling through my own IG feed last night, like a diary, trying to find clues on where I began and where I might end, I came across another red carpet attempt that didn't make it to the finish line, and thought....maybe I should get that peanut butter in this chocolate.


I DON'T KNOW MAN I JUST DON'T KNOW!

This is often how things go around here! I thought y'all might like to see the process. I hope you don't get too attached to any of these as it may turn out to be something completely different...but feel free to tell me your favorite, or share more ideas! 

I am bound and determined to be somewhere solid with this by Sunday night, like, WEARABLE solid, since I start rehearsals for a workshop of a new musical on Monday, and I am NOT GOING TO SPEND THREE WEEKDAY EVENINGS SLAM SEWING. I'm not! I'm so super not! I have other options, and if I don't get her done by then, she shall marinate before I cut into her any more than I already have! 

29 comments:

  1. Holy moly! That bustle! #๐Ÿ˜ Thanks for the glimpse into the process, I find I appreciate all your glorious outcomes all the more for having seen behind the curtain (as it were...)

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  2. I like the sleeveless shorter version in the middle collage but please feel free to disregard my opinion. I understand you're working through this and have a different point of view than I'm seeing. BTW, I have faith that you can get this finished by Sunday evening and good luck with the workshop.

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  3. One shoulder, short sleeve, high low skirt with bustle [don't overthink it, just hoick it up! Great fun...

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  4. A new musical...time for an up-'doo, rigidly classic, until the top flops out like a wild vase, or someone who is wound tightly but explodes in the most amazing of ways.

    Is that your character, or should it be???

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    1. This basically describes my journey through NY from morning to night!!

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  5. I think a shorter fuller skirt. Do not like the placement of the lion in the front of the skirt in picture one. My preference for a bodice would be one shoulder without a sleeve.

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    1. Yeah placing those lions on the skirt is really turning out to be a beast!!! I'm leaning towards no sleeve, if not strapless.

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  6. I am 70+ and have quite a different shape than once upon a time. Nonetheless I would love for you to design my everyday wardrobe and have your mother pick out the fabric. You have a fantastic look and seeing some of your creations always makes me smile.

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  7. OTOH, I love you adding the other dress on ... the oonaballoona fabric sandwich is always fabulous.
    Thank you for sharing the process!

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    1. Heeheee! That sandwich always comes in when my brain gets stuck!

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  8. I cannot sew a stitch, but I love reading your blog and seeing your ideas emerge! Break a leg with the new musical!

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  9. I am not a fan of one-sleeved garments, unless you are some sort of Amazon or Praetorian guard and need your sword arm free.

    I really like the combination of dark and bright in the last photo. So, that option gets my vote. For what it's worth.

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    1. BWAHAHAHAHAA same here!!! I don't know what came over me with the one sleeved vibe!!

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  10. That bustle is glorious. as is the bodice with the pleats and three suns across the bust. Good luck!!!

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    1. My Dad has chimed in that this is the exact combo I should do!

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  11. Wow....bless you & break a needle???
    Or leg????

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  12. Love, love, love the one with no sleeves on the right of the photo where you have 3 pictured next to each other. Only someone with toned arms and shoulders could wear that, and you fit the bill. Plus, it directs the attention up to your face, and you want people to notice your dress, but you also want the person wearing it to be noticed. Also the bustle. Oh my, that bustle has me swooning. You gotta do the bustle. Those are my thoughts, which are considerably more than $.02 worth.

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    1. That's three votes for that specific combo, three times a charm! I might have to go for that version. I love that it people are putting that together out of all these pictured versions!

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  13. Oh no! I loved the first version. The one sleeve and bustle version is adorable too though.

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i thankya truly for taking the time to comment, i love a good conversation-- and hope you know my thanks are always implied, if not always written!