Sunday, November 15, 2009

Have pattern, need fabric

Ok, I think I have chosen a pattern for the upcoming party. Thanks to all of you who sent in suggestions :)

I was having some trouble choosing the right pattern because I liked them all. As well, it's hard for both Ian and me to visualize what the pattern would look like on my body. I'm a little bit shorter and stockier than the pattern envelope illustration, you know. :) I've been known to fall in love with an illustration and then when it's made up, I don't love the garment on me.

I don't want to go to a lot of trouble tracing, grading, and making something for the party only to find out that it looks awful. So I drew a figure with my own body proportions - in other words, I made a croquis for my own body - and sketched each dress on a copy of that figure. It was immediately obvious that some dresses are not at all suitable for me. They looked awful in the drawing, and if I can't get a dress to look good in a sketch, it's not going to look good on me.

Ian and I then surveyed the remaining designs to pick our top three. From there, we chose our favourite:

... in the shorter version, of course. What do you think?

This is a vintage pattern from 1964 designed by Pauline Trigere that I already have in my collection. I love the asymmetry of this design as well as the bow thingy (note that I can adjust the bow size to suit my height and weight). A sheath dress tends to look good on me, and asymmetry is fairly stylish right now. Actually, this is a fairly timeless silhouette.

Now I need to find fabric for this dress (well, I need to trace the pattern, grade it, and make a muslin, but finding the right fabric could be time-consuming). The pattern calls for crepe, peau de soie/duchess, shantung/duppioni, taffeta, faille, or brocade for the dress and taffeta, satin, or peau de soie/duchess for the bow. I read those suggestions to mean that the whole dress needs to be made in a fabric with some body and structure.

I think a fairly matte, less reflective fabric would be best for the dress. Shiny fabrics emphasize every lump and bump - and I have a few of those! I also don't want any fabric that rustles too much, so that lets out taffeta and shantung. I've been looking online and I love love love the look of dutchess satin, 4-ply silk crepe, silk zibilene, hemp/silk fabric, and silk/wool fabric... but the price for all of these is a bit much, even though I only need just over two meters of any one type. My fabric tastes are something else, aren't they?

I'm going to look at my local fabric store, even though it doesn't have anything in the way of those really nice fabrics, in case there are some good polyester substitutes. I could also do some layering with lace or something over a shinier fabric to dull it down or add some texture. The possibilities are endless!

Before choosing fabric for the bow, I think I need to figure out what I'm doing for the body of the dress. The only thought about the bow that I've had so far is that an organza or something like that would be nice. Mostly I think the bow should be a different - shinier, brighter, eye-catching - texture than the dress, to draw the eye up to my face.

But no matter which fabric type I go with, I have another issue: colour. Do I stick with black? I love black, and it's always safe to do a little black dress... but is it too safe? The biggest benefit is that there are lots and lots of black fabrics out there so it's easy to find it and match it to other things. At the same time, I'm feeling drawn towards dark reds, burgundies, and purples. These other colours would work, look good on me, and are very current, but it's harder to match colours. What do you think?

A recent issue of Threads magazine describes how to add a foundation to a strapless dress to make it fit better. This is done by adding an inner corset-type thing; some Vogue patterns are now including a foundation in their patterns. I'm going to review the article and see if I want to use this technique with this dress, even though it's not quite strapless, or if I want to buy the shaper/corset I'd been talking about. Adding a foundation to a dress adds a bit of a couture element to the garment and definitely helps it fit better. Of course this might be way more work than I'm prepared to do, but it's something that I want to investigate.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ooooooo! That's pretty! I will definitely want pictures :) Love, Mom