Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Sixteen Yards of Yellow Fabric


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!

34 comments:

  1. Yikes, that does sound like a major project! Makes complete sense though - it'll be a dress that fits YOU perfectly and made to exacting standards (if memory serves correctly, didn't you have to return an Anthropologie dress because it fell apart after one wear?).

    Looking forward to following the process. And the dress promises to be gorgeous!

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  2. I am crazy about all that yellow! I'm also beyond curious about dress #2 of the midriff yoke drape. Is it the same but with a full skirt? Did you add a neckline variation? You know how curious your readers are Gertie!

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  3. Those yellows are stunning!! I'm totally in a yellow phase right now, so I can't wait to see how this one turns out!!

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  4. Exciting!

    16 yards? That is amazing! I can't wait to see how it goes!

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  5. HURRAH!!! I am so glad you're taking up this project! The yellow is going to be a luscious color for this design; really summery and just a bit vavavoom. ;) I am eagerly looking forward to all your nerdy construction posts--I can't wait!!!!

    ♥ Casey
    blog | elegantmusings.com

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  6. Beautiful color...going to be a stunning dress...

    BTW, were you able to get your hands on the fitted suit pattern?

    Karen

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  7. This is going to turn out gorgeous!

    I love the fabric and the color. Can't wait to see the end result!

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  8. Sitting on the edge of my seat already! Can't wait for this one :)

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  9. For all the fabric cost you, I'll bet the Anthro dress is not built to the same level of quality, fabric and perfection that yours will be. I'm going to wager that the Anthro dress has two layers: the outer and the lining, right? So, no matter what, you already have a better dress than the Anthro dress.

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  10. Advanced BeginnerJuly 20, 2010 at 8:31 AM

    Look forward to seeing it develop. :-)

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  11. I'm super curious how the draping will go with the bust pleating action. I recently made two dresses, same pattern, where I did sort of a similiar thing, draping wise and they look COMPLETELY different! Follow the fabric, indeed! The first dress I was using a lighter, slippery costume satin with a crepe-type back. The second, I used a black satin-like material that was less slippery, but had the slippery on both sides.

    The first dress ended up looking very organic and sort of bowlike - the second folded up very nicely into the pleating action that I wanted (more like your inspiration dress, I think).

    so, with draping in muslin and then changing to a different fabric, I'm curious how that works in general - with the 'follow the fabric' guideline!! Can't wait to see! I even had a problem getting the left and right SIDES on the same dress to look the same! Although, mine was a hack and slash job!

    Yay! and LOVE the yellow! I just bought fabric for my new fall wardrobe and yellow ruled the school, which is completely new for me! where has yellow been all my life? why did I spend the last 15 years in black anyway??!!

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  12. Beautiful! Yellow is such a beautiful color yet so underrated. Sounds like a big task but I'm sure it will end up being well worth the effort.

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  13. I love your choice of yellows! Let us know how the project goes.

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  14. You are intrepid. I can't wait to see this dress! And I'm jealous because that yellow is one of my favorite colors, and as a natural blonde with pinkish skin, I cannot carry that color off to save my life.

    That Anthropologie dress is one of my very favorites in the history of Anthro. As I said, I cannot wait to see this dress!

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  15. I am very impressed with how much you figured out on your own. The pattern piece looks very interesting. This is going to be an amazing dress.

    Trudy
    www.sewingwithtrudy.blogspot.com

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  16. I think my heart started palpitating when I read $160! It's great I've got you to live vicariously through!

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  17. That's a beautiful yellow Gertie. We are all anxiously awaiting the final garment.

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  18. I am really enjoying your blog! You seem to have so much time to sew!! I am currently living overseas in Bangladesh without my sewing machine right now (and it's a muslim country where I can't wear "normal" western clothes) but I am collecting a LOT of beautiful fabric for my return to the States one day. I am "sewing vicariously" through you for awhile, so keep up the good work!

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  19. i am extremely excited to see your dress and i really LOVE that yellow....it looks so happy and combined with the type of dress you will be making..it is going to look AMAZING on you! this is all so new to me that you are going to make a dress by draping it on a body form....it looks like fun..but first i feel i need to make more dresses from patterns first in order to feel more confident....tonight is sewing night yay!...

    xo,
    cb
    www.thecitybirdsnest.blogspot.com

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  20. Oooh! Can't wait to see!
    On a side note, funny that people think sewing is cheaper than buying new. But like you said, apples and oranges, and I'm sure your quality will be MUCH better! And more fulfilling, too. :)

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  21. I do love yellow. A few years ago Susan Khalje wrote an article for Threads that compared a dress that was made twice. Once made as you are doing with couture technique and once as the pattern suggested. There was a very noticeable difference between the two with the couture having more substance to it. Less wrinkling and it just draped more elegantly. If you want to compare pricing you'd need to go to a couture or high end rtw to actually 'save' money when sewing. But, that isn't why we do it is it?

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  22. I'm totally thrilled for you! And who cares how much the dress costs to construct. It's going to fit you perfectly, flatter that adorable body and make you happy. What kind of price tag can you put on that?

    Yay for another Gertie draping adventure! With added bonus of fun event to wear it to!

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  23. I am in awe of this one! You are making so much progress on learning how to drape. One of my (myriad) problems with garment sewing is that I'm really cheap -- I wouldn't trust myself to spend $160 on fabric for even a special dress. I'd be too certain that I would end up with a disappointment. But I'm still at that stage in which many of my projects are "learning experiences" that never get worn, so perhaps I'll get there eventually! In the meantime, your posts are very inspiring!

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  24. This will be a beautiful dress! I can't wait to see it.

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  25. I just had to say...theat exhibit in Nashville is FABULOUS...I just visited myself a few weeks ago. And if you need a hotel - the Union Station which is right across the street from the museum, was so awesome :)

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  26. As I was reading your blog, I thought, I really want a step-by-step construction tutorial! I have the Bridal Couture book, and used it when I made my sister's wedding dress-- it definitely informed my construction process for that dress.

    I am curious where you buy your fabric and notions in NYC? I think the Garment District intimidates me a little.

    Good luck with the dress-- I can't wait to see how it turns out!

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  27. So fun, love the yellow! Being on the small side, I'm interested to see how you build in the bra cups. The instructions must be in the bridal sewing book, I'm guessing? I also find sewing isn't always cheaper, but it is so much more rewarding (and you end up with way better quality!)

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  28. Please, please, please, be sure to include how you construct the bodice and insert the cups.

    I would love to wear a halter dress if I could figure out how to include a bra....

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  29. Nice! I can't wait to see your construction details! I'm excited!

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  30. Gorgeous fabric ! And gorgeous design, too :)

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  31. I'm really impressed with what you're doing here. The yellow is gorgeous, the dress is gorgeous and when combined, will look gorgeous on you. One day I will have the patience to learn to drape. I just realised I a wearing a yellow dress and cardigan almost the same yellow!

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  32. Just had to say a big thank you for mentioning the Golden Age of Couture exhibit in Nashville. We went on Sunday afternoon and I LOVED it. The clothes are beautiful and so inspiring and I probably would never have known about it if I hadn't read about it on your blog! Thank you so much for the suggestion! Can't wait to see your yellow dress!

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  33. Ooo.. how fun! I saw that dress at Anthro and it's beautiful! I'm sure yours will be even better!

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Thanks for your comments; I read each and every one! xo Gertie

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