Gah! I'm so sorry for my recent silence around these parts. I didn't mean to just disappear like that, but sometimes it happens! For whatever reason, I really wanted to slow down and take my time on this dress. I'm sure a lot of you can relate to the feeling of pressure to push through a project just in order to get it up on your blog, a feeling that I like to shake off every now and again. I also usually make dresses like this with an event in mind - usually an opening at my gallery or some other type of occasion - but (thankfully) my social calendar has been pretty quiet so there was no real rush.
This is the dress I made using my hand painted silk habotai. The entire dress is lined in white rayon bemberg. The pattern is essentially Simplicity 1880 - the same as my earlier, purple version - but with a few modifications:
Obviously this version is sleeveless. I felt like the little cap sleeve on my first version made my shoulders look a tad football-player-ish so I decided to leave them off this time around. Also, it makes it easier to layer under cardigans and such. And whether or not a garment is cardigan-ready can really make-it-or-break-it for me!
I also cut the skirt as a half-circle skirt rather than the four sections that came with the pattern. This eliminated the center seam and the weird fall of the bias that happens with the Simplicity skirt.
And finally I shortened the front bodice pieces by about 1/2 inch in the center, tapering to nothing at the side seams in order to prevent gaping at the center front. While wearing that purple dress I've looked down a fair few times to see that one or both boobs were on high display. I'm not particularly modest, but I still put fixing that issue pretty high up there on my "things I'd do differently..." list.
Hmm... maybe I should have taken some length out of the center back too...
After the initial excitement of painting my own fabric died away, and my joy passed that the dye actually took and didn't, like, wash right down the sink, I had a hard time deciding what to make with my fabric. In my post-fabric-dyeing sobriety I gave the fabric a cold, clear, critical eye, and I sort of felt like it looked like a Target shower curtain. How underwhelming! But really, it depended on my mood. I still loved the watercolor-like bleed of the spots and there are areas where the colors overlap and become really nuanced. But I guess once I had the finished fabric in my hands I felt like I needed to do something really artistic and daring with it. But nothing really seemed quite right. After draping the fabric around myself like a toga for about a week and a half I finally decided to quit over-thinking it and just go with my original plan, whether or not I still felt like it was the 'best' one. And you know what? I'm glad I did. I'm starting to sense that might be the story of my life... You'd think I'd learn...
The original idea for this dress, fabric and all, came from a dress I saw well over a year and a half ago in the window of one of my favorite stores in Houston, Leap. I can't remember who the dress was by, and I think I've tried to describe it to every person I know who works there. There's a possibility the dress was made by Electric Feathers, which wouldn't be surprising because I'm often inspired by their work. Regardless, it was a white, wrap dress with delicate blue brush-like marks hand painted all over it. My fabric came out a bit more spotty than I remember this dress being, and the overall look much more classic, but it's still quite lovely, and fulfills my long desire for that other dress.
Now I just need some occasion to wear it...come on life! Get fancy!