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The design inspiration for this dress comes from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream; a story that’s inspired many artists in the past – from directors to illustrators and writers. Mostly inspired by the 1935 black and white film’s adaptation of the play, I began to think about the era of the 1930s as well. I took design elements of that era, including art deco seam detailing, and combined them with the soft, romantic, textural elements that were influenced by nature.
The garment was constructed using the process of draping; using 30 different pattern pieces. Each piece was individually draped on a mannequin and then transferred onto paper and later corrected. Below are photos of the initial design lines and later at the half-pinned muslin stage. This is when only have of the pattern is cut out and pinned to the mannequin to double check shape and alignment before cutting out a full pattern.
The seams were finished using the french seam technique so that the seams wouldn’t unravel later. The raw edges were finished by hand sewing strips of chiffon that were cut on bias and later folded and pressed.
The embellished elements were designed and made by laser cutting silk chiffon. Which guys – lazer cutting is the BOMB! At first when I was developing my initial concept I was hand cutting and burning each edge with a lighter so it wouldn’t fray. When I showed it to my professor she laughed, calling it a “handmade, filthy piece of trash” and told me that I should lazer cut them instead. The light bulb went off, and I will never go back to hand cutting again!
The little frayed puffs are hand cut circles of polyester organza which I then rubbed in my hands to create a frayed effect. They were later hand stitched onto the style lines of the seams.
Through this project I learned so many new techniques, and I can’t speak more highly of my professor, Sachi. Sachi is the most dedicated professor I have ever met. I respect her so much for her skill and knowledge and was so grateful for the amount of time that she poured into our class. I’m hoping to take as many classes with her as possible!
More over on my blog, Esther from the Sticks!