Tuesday 24 May 2011

Start to Finish - creating the Dove Grey Silk Wiggle Dress

 This dress was a commission I designed and created specifically for a customer, a real couture garment in all manner of speaking and the way of working I like best, focusing on one dress for one woman. 

The occasion for the dress is a day at the races and the inspiration, elegant 1950s wiggle dresses to match a fantastically designed hat in grey and black lace. 
The fabric was a heavyweight pure silk satin, very drapey and very very difficult to control when it comes to hand pleating. Many a time I had to walk out of the studio as the silk kept slipping through my hands and refused to be pinned. It makes up for it in it's beauty. 

I have photographed the dress from start to finish as I always find it amazing how a dress evolves from a flat piece of silk into a structured dress.

The muslin base of the dress is where we start and make sure the fit of this is perfect before anything else continues. The light boning is then added to give structure and form.

The outer silk bodice is cut, sewn and added to the muslin base..........

 The chiffon lining is cut (from the same pattern as the bodice) and is pinned in place to the muslin base bodice. The outer silk is quite heavy in this dress and due to the muslin base there is no need to add another heavy lining which would add unneccessary bulk. The dress is for the summer so it is also important to keep the wearer cool.

The skirt and facings are cut and sewn and added to the bodice.

The facings are hand stitched in place to the chiffon lining and a lining for the skirt is cut and added.

The main section of the dress is nearly complete. It needs hemming and a very good steam to remove the creases created from working with the silk. 

The sash is added and pinned in place ready to be hand stitched for the finished dress. The chairs are for me to sit on whilst hand stitching the waist so I'm at the correct eye level (and I don't hurt my back too much).