Anatomy of a dress.
It started with an idea after I saw some very embellished bowl gown on Pinterest and evolved in to the dress you see in the photo above. Little did I know what I was getting myself into, but by the time I realized it, it was too late to back up.
So, I saw the dress and decided to make my own version, but make it very subtle and the vision I had in my head was the dress looking very pale and kind of hazy.
I drafted the pattern and made a muslin for the top part to make sure the fitting was right.
I had two yards of ivory silk dupioni, but i thought the dress need some crispness so I ordered silk taffeta from a site in India, where I ordered silk in the past.
While waiting for the shipment to arrive, I concentrated on learning how to do silk ribbon embroidery. I did in the past a few roses on a front of a dress and liked the results, but this was a big project.
Ordered some books with lots on how to pictures and started practicing.
I also created a stencil to be used for the panels of the skirt.
The package finally arrived and instead of a light cream with gold sheen, it was KHAKI. Yep ready for uniforms but not this dress.
Searched etsy and found a nice light butter color silk taffeta.
Waited some more, it arrived. CRAP.
It had no sheen and looked like nothing I have envisioned. SOOOOOOO, back to the silk dupioni, and using the new taffeta for lining.
The dress looked good but I wanted extra security for the top. So I added a pleated band across the shoulder and the bust line.
That seemed to do the trick and held everything in place.
Since I wanted to create a hazy look to the dress, I airbrushed all along the bottom half of the skirt with lavender textile color. I had a friend, Bill Kibler hold the dress while I was spraying.
The look was very subtle and you kind of notice it in the light.
Now it was time for the real work to begin. The ribbon embroidery. I opted to use a pinwheel technique, since the results a flat flowers which I liked, the thing is that most silk embroidery is done from front to back but since at this point the dress was finished I did not have access to the back except for an opening in the center back. I had to devise a way of working on the surface. It took a while but eventually I managed to do it by using Fabritec to hold one end and secure the seams on the top, the right side of the fabric. That took about three weeks.
I ordered silk ribbons in 4mm and 7mm. Since I dyed the ribbons I opted to order mostly white and when not found off white or light pink. All in all I ordered around 300 yards of ribbons.
I used textile dyes to dye the ribbons and kept a written formula of each color so if need be I can get the same color for more ribbons.
Than the roses making process started. some roses had a one color center and then got another color for the outside edges.
After a week or two of doing it I questioned myself what on earth posses me to do this project. Of course since I was talking to myself I used a lot more colorful language.
But I persisted. It was too late to back off.