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The Performance Dress

Added May 9, 2010

by hellagabrielle

Buffalo, New Yor...






My little sister asked me to make her a dress to perform in (she is a mezzo-soprano studying at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music). Inspired by the selections she would be singing from Carmen, Lakme, and Samson et Dalila, we wanted to go with something long and flowy, and sort of phoencian-inspired. What we came up with was a low-cut, bustier-style bodice with a long, A-line skirt with a chiffon overlay. Because she would be onstage, we glizted up the skirt with a subtle gold beading pattern that is concentrated at the waistline and becomes more dispersed down the skirt.
This was a long back and forth project that involved many emails, mailing mock-ups back and forth, and long hours for me, watching 3 seasons of Mad Men and beading on the couch.
I think what came out of the process was incredibly chic, well-fitted dress. And I am super proud of myself.

Some other specs: the dress is fully lined and finished with french seams. Invisible zip in center-back.
The pattern was designed and hand-drafted by me according to her measurements.

You can read more about the process on my blog

Material Notes

Since my sister is a vegan, and doesn’t wear silks, we went the poly route, which was incidentally a cost-effective route as well. The base fabric is a synthetic brocade (which is actually quite lovely, but prone to fraying). And the sheer overlay is a polyester chiffon. Inside there is a cotton lining.




Garment Type
Classic, Evening Wear, Romantic
Chiffon, Cotton, Other, Polyester


My Sister

2 Comments Sign in to add a post

  • N584811376_1041_large

    May 11, 2010, 03.47 PMby hellagabrielle

    Thanks! And yes, she is.

  • Uv_paint_large

    May 9, 2010, 10.11 PMby Isabel Alexander

    Wow you did a good job. Lucky sister, haha

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