Dress Up! Dresses

Third Time’s a Charm

6th February 2017

Some things are instant. Coffee. Scratch cards. Gratification. Others take time and numerous attempts in order to be perfect. Or close to perfect, without being something else. If anyone ever had a long haul project, I can hardly imagine it taking longer than this dress. 2 years in the making – 3 different versions. Well, I like to think I am finally done with it!

Phase One

Initial idea included the top part only, I had no vision, to be perfectly honest. I always tell my daughter to have a vision before starting any of her projects, but I didn’t follow my advise. Whatever came after the top was made, was based on what I wanted to try to construct, not what I wanted to see in a dress. I am suspecting that many modern designers work this way, judging by the amount of technically advanced pieces that lack artistic value.

I wanted to play around with the bubble/tulip shape to begin with. Kardashian-like proportions were all over the media, therefore visual ‘enhancement’ seemed to fit in well with the trends.

But something was not sitting right with me. I could not put a finger on it, but the dress just kept on hanging there, on my door of unfinished projects. I took a few photos of it, but never accepted the dress as the final version.

Phase Two

It was more than 6 months before I got to it again. After simplifying the shape into a classic [and classy] A-line, I was happy with the shape.

But it was just that – simple, but I wanted and Oomph, and ribbon embroidery was it. There are amazing works of art produced in this technique. But I have never done anything like this before, therefore for a first-time embroidery project I think I did great!

Phase Three

Embroidery execution presented me with a challenge: you see, duchesse sating is not a well suited fabric for this type of embellishment, tightly woven yarns do not move aside to let a whole one-inch wide ribbon through, and punching holes would eventually lead to fraying. But polyester fibres melt! And soldering iron with a fine tip got hot enough to make holes and seal them at the same time. The whole process, including threading the ribbon through the holes, then steaming until there were no ripples in the fabric, took about 15 hours – which gave me a little glimpse into insane prices of couture dresses. Countless hours spent hand embroidering intricate patterns with exquisite high quality materials…




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