Friday, October 12, 2012

Toledo Tea Dress

Tea Dress: 
rayon, silk chiffon, charmeuse
Three tiers, the bottom tier silk chiffon lined with charmeuse.

In other words there are four hems! Most of the design was draped then a flat pattern was made. From there a rough sample was sewn to  test and make necessary modifications. The bodice pattern evolved over the course of three drafts, the sleeve pattern was finalized in two drafts. The tiers came next. 

Was determined to complete the dress for an event on October 7th. The entire process took about three weeks using every available moment and working into the (late) night.

The dominant material is hazy grey/mauve with a tiny abstract bud pattern. There was enough fabric for two tiers. Wanted to add a third layer to make the dress full length. Experimented with the color for the lowest tier. The main fabric was vibrant paired with purple, however, the only similar weight fabric in the purple family on hand was a pale tinted lavender silk crepe. Tried it, leaving it overnight at the bottom of the dress. Walked home in the dark, looking at people on the street observing whether they paired a light top with dark bottoms or vice versa and considered the effect of each of these. In the morning the lighter layer beneath the upper tiers seemed like a dangling participle, an unfinished sentence. The bottom tier had to end the sentence. It required a darker shade. (This also avoided the hazzard of wearing light fabric at curb level in New York City).
Detail: back, sash

Had a piece of mauve charmeuse. Sewed it in but there was too little material for a gathered tier. That is where the chiffon came in. With little time, went to one fabric shop in the garment district. There was plenty of charmeuse yet none was a match or a good substitute. The closest to mauve was a beautiful piece of silk chiffon. There were benefits to using chiffon. Although the photograph makes it less apparent (and doesn't do justice to its color), the chiffon tier is hyper-gathered! It sways and floats slowly back into place. The charmeuse lining behind it protects the delicate material and makes a wonderful sash.

Hemming was an adventure. More on that to come.