I'm a sewing enthusiast in Beacon, New York, with a love of all things retro. This site is all about tutorials, tips, inspiration, and lots of spirited discussion about sewing as it relates to fashion history, pop culture, body image, and gender. My first book, Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing, is now out from STC Craft/Melanie Falick Books! Also look for my line "Patterns by Gertie" from Butterick.
Yep, that's what this is! I've been prepping for my next draped design, which is basically a knock-off of a current Anthro design (blogged here).
The inspiration! (Which, in turn, is very 50s-inspired itself.)
I began draping the dress on my own (without the help of my teacher Sharon). I got through the front bodice and hit a major wall. In fact, I was ready to throw my muslin at said wall! Luckily, Sharon came over the next day and sorted me out. It turned out that I was quite close; I just needed some help tweaking it. I didn't document the entire draping process this time (since I had no idea what I was doing), but here's a little peek at start of the bust draping:
The straight grain is the fold running diagonally across the bust. I'm kind of amazed I figured that out on my own! You can also see in the picture above how the fabric is trying to form itself into a dart below the bust apex. Sharon always says you should let the fabric tell you what it wants to do. Cool, huh?
Here's what that pattern piece ended up looking like, in the muslin prep stage:
Interesting, isn't it?
I made a decision to really work on my couture dressmaking skills with this project. I'm going all out, with the help of the book Bridal Couture by Susan Khalje. It's sadly out of print, but you can buy a CD version here.
As for all that yellow fabric? The body of the dress will be a beautiful cotton/viscose faille. The whole thing will be underlined in silk organza - I choose a very bright yellow to make the fashion fabric appear even more vibrant. And then a buttery yellow cotton batiste for the lining. The funny thing is that the fabric ended up costing about $160 - and the Anthro dress costs $158! Anyway, I know I don't need to explain to you all why you can't really compare the costs of the two - apples and oranges and all that.
I've also been gathering notions: horsehair for the hem, grosgrain for the waist stay, boning, bra cups, interfacing, and a zipper. (Whew!)
I'm finishing up another dress made from my last draped pattern, and then I'll be ready to go into full muslin mode on this yellow concoction. I already feel like this will be a very special dress, and I have high hopes of wearing it to the Golden Age of Couture exhibit in Nashville at the end of August. A special exhibit calls for a special dress, right?
I heavily documented the draping and design stage on my last project, but I feel like this one is going to be all about the construction. So I'm looking forward to really getting my inner sewing nerd on and sharing lots of technique pictures with you. More to come!