This dress is the first article of clothing that I've made for someone else (well, for a person--sorry to say, Barbies, you all don't count). I designed this for a friend of mine for her upcoming Day/Night dance for school. She asked for a dress that could be worn equally as well during the day as at night. Besides requesting me to use black chiffon and to incorporate white, she also really wanted a gold, silver, or yellow bow. I searched high and low at the local fabric store for her first choices of gold or silver fabric, but I couldn't find any that would properly shift the dress throughout the various alter egos of 24 hours. (It's also the first time that I realized that as fabric, gold can look like mustard and that silver can look grey. Not quite the same as true gold and silver, right? Super weird.)
The finished dress is mainly made out of black chiffon with black lining, white eyelet, and a textured, fresh yellow cotton. I really, really hope it fits! We live too far apart to have done a proper slew of fittings, and I also can't fit into the dress to try it on for size!
These fabrics might look familiar from a previous post about my upcoming projects for the summer. I dubbed them the "mango cotton" and the "grape-colored fabric"--I must have subconsciously labeled them with fruit names. Neither had any delicious, fruity name on the labels at the end of their bolts. Now that I've completed the vest, the combination of the names and the visual combination of the richly colored fabrics remind me of Indonesia and eating the native geometric, highly faceted fruits with their sweet aromas.
My initial idea was to make a dress out of the mango cotton and the grape-colored fabric, but I didn't want too many lines interrupting the continuous design of the grape fabric. I wasn't too keen on a tent-style dress either. While flipping through photos for inspiration, I firmly decided that I have been making far too many dresses. So, the dress idea turned into a vest idea, and the vest turned into a top with the mango cotton layered underneath the grape fabric.
I used McCall's 5933, but I had to make major alterations to get rid of the gap in the shoulder area. Otherwise, the whole vest front tilted awkwardly away from my chest. Bringing the two front edges together resulted with the vest's shoulder area drooping off of my back. Since I also had to reposition the darts, I can't say that this was a fantastic pattern to work with, but it was a fairly good starting block if one has other (major) plans for it. Hems were lengthened and hand-sewn to eliminate a harsh thread line. Buttons are a clear tangerine.
I got sick of seeing heaps of white or sand-colored fabric with multicolored--often neon bright--stitches. I've often created muslins to work out the kinks in patterns, but I've never known what to do with them after their useful purpose has been, well, used. I feel too guilty to toss them out, but they're just too plain ugly to wear.
This dress was supposed to be a wearable muslin for a more elegant combination of fabrics. (I've used this fabric once before for a sundress that I made but have not worn yet.) It needed a bit more than just the stripes to made it fully wearable, so I added a red embroidery stitch, a few round wooden beads, and a vintage leather belt.
(Yes, I left that sentence intentionally short.) It seems ironic that such a simplistic function like draping allows the cardigan to be aesthetically stunning. Although I had an array of colored knits to choose from, I chose black. I believe it most closely identifies with the simplistic sense of lines and the classic identity that draped material has had throughout antiquity.
I have seen unending variations of this cardigan in stores and always have found it to be an interesting design. Even so, I never bought one and was never compelled to make one: I rationalized that it was simple enough to make, but I also thought that there were more interesting projects to make--well, at the time. I was reintroduced to the cardigan on Couture et Tricot and was amazed by the linked video. The video illustrates the amazing versatility of a similar cardigan, the DKNY Cozy. The talented Tany of Couture et Tricot used Simplicity 2603, so I decided to give it a try. Wonderful, wonderful pattern!
As a mini dress, pictured with a vintage leather belt.
Five other variations, although certainly not all of them
If viewed as a reflection of art history, the perfect topper for this embodiment of drapery would be YSL's caged boots. Even what is ethereal is ephemeral, and the ephemeral state of things makes life seem like a caged slideshow of images, sensations, feelings.
(This wasn't much of a pattern review, so see my actual review for Simplicity 2603 here.)
I am finally back to sewing! I was much too busy for a few weeks and also had a stack of alterations to do on existing stuff. There isn't much creativity attached with sewing on a few extra buttons here and there and hemming pants, so I haven't posted anything.
I still have to take photos of what I've been making this past week, so I'll put up a photos over the next few days. So far, I've completed my project with the onyx knit (as shown in one of my earlier posts--my gosh, there was so much of it) and will start tomorrow on the quick project of the paint brushed charmeuse and striped faux fur.
Here are the few photos that I took when I was at the Musee des Art Decoratif's exhibit on Madeleine Vionnet. I passed through the first floor with no problems, but I was yelled at on the second floor by a grumpy security guard (who later yelled at two other groups of tourists in other exhibits). Consequently, I only have photos from the first floor, and even these photos reflect just a small portion of what was shown.
Look familiar? This probably was the inspirational doll for Tissus Reine. Vionnet used this doll to create smaller prototypes of her dresses.
The one above looks more spectacular up close. The concept (whose fine details I've currently forgotten) was simple yet genius. The pieces are identical for the front and back.
Possibly my favorite piece.
Beautiful beading. The photo again doesn't do it justice. It almost looked like sand that had been washed upon fine fabric.
I loved nearly every piece, so I think that it would be wise for me to invest in a book with Vionnet's collection. I checked the book shop at the museum, and it sold one for about sixty euros--alas, a bit too high for me. I'm hoping that I can find the identical book somewhere online for less.
What an amazing, yet tiring trip! I still am in the process of going through all of the photos that I took, but here are the ones related to fabric and fashion. I'm going to have to do this in two posts--it'll be too long otherwise.
Paris fabric stores:
The general area around the Sacre Coeur in the Montmarte (a bit seedy) was full of fabric stores:
I had to get a picture of these dolls from across the street. I was scolded in French when I took out my camera while I was inside of the store. The dolls wore outfits that were created from fabric on the tables. I thought it was a really cute idea, and then later saw it's inspirational source at the Musee des Arts Decoratifs (will show in second post).
I snuck a couple on the 2nd floor. A wall full of buttons, bias tape in a plethora of colors and prints on rolls, other notions, fabrics, patterns, etc.
Marche St. Pierre:
Photos from first floor. Sorry that I didn't take more on the other floors!
Excursion to Laduree on Champs Elysees:
Delicious little things! I'm determined to make my own macarons.
Pistachio, Citron, Currant, Coffee
Musee Des Arts Decoratifs:
A must go! I actually enjoyed it more than the Louvre, which is right next door. The Arts Decoratifs building is the one next to the carousel, and the Louvre continues in the wing to the right of it.
They had a wonderful temporary exhibition of Toulouse Lautrec and Madeleine Vionnet. I'm going to post the photos from Vionnet in a separate post to keep things a little easier to follow. I was absolutely awestruck by her work.
Amsterdam's Albert Cuyp street market:
Filled with food, cheap clothing, plenty of fabric stalls with actual stores behind them. I went into a few of the main stores, and they were tightly stacked floor to ceiling with fabric.
I'll be flying in an airplane, looking out a window, watching the clouds go by while on my way to Europe. During my time there, besides doing some extensive sightseeing, I intend to squeeze in time to window shop at Liberty of London and also visit some of Paris's fabric stores around the Sacre Coeur in the 18ème.
I will definitely post photos of my visit! Please check back for them!
Berries, cherries, grapes, apricots, apples, persimmons, and blueberries! I think it's time to go and make a scrumptious pie, cobbler, or danish. Or maybe all three and also make some homemade vanilla ice cream to top it.