I rearranged the studio and plugged my machine back in at a new (temporary) location while I work on the creative projects I have slated for June. All this while dust and destruction are happening in the studio!
I have a very special project that I'm working on, that I don't want my mom (or dad) to know about yet. But first a bit of background on my parents.
My mother and father will celebrate their 40th (!) wedding anniversary this July. They are a great example of what (IMHO) a beautiful marriage should be- a partnership that is generous, caring, and loving with out condition. I wanted to so something special for them for their big milestone anniversary, but what?
Earlier this year, my mom gave me her wedding gown to see if I could "do something" with it... perhaps restyle it into a modern gown, just to use as a portfolio piece, something along those lines. Well, I took the dress which was in pretty bad condition, disassembled it and soaked it in Oxy clean for way longer than recommended. (I figured it would be worthless as it was, so I had nothing to lose by soaking it). All this time, I told my mom that I tried to use it, but it was in fact, pretty useless and chucked it (sometimes white lies have to happen to keep surprises fun!). Really what I have been doing is designing and planning a dress for her to wear for her 40th anniversary! (and the Oxy clean worked, it's no longer yellow and spotty)
My parents, married in 1974, look like it. They were beautiful, and this photo and the clothes they wore definitely date their wedding to this era. Mom wore an Edwardian style, long sleeved, high neck, organza, A-line gown, trimmed in cotton lace. Here are my parents on their wedding day... (and yes, my dad is in a brown velvet tux!)
My mom always said if she had to do the wedding dress over again, she would do it a bit more glam, so I'll see if I can't work in some sparkle somewhere...
Anyway, I wanted to create a dress she would want to wear again, and hopefully wear more than once! A short dress with a more fitted silhouette would be ideal, since those are the types of dresses she prefers for more standard dress-up occasions. Also I wanted to use the original dress fabric, but break up the white. I considered dying it, but wanted a print in some fashion, so I came up with another plan.
I created a custom print with Spoonflower to use as the base of the dress, under the original organza and lace. I wanted the fabric to have special meaning, even though it wasn't originally part of the dress, so I chose a wedding photo and made a print from a picture of my mother's wedding bouquet... here it is:
I then took the 4th picture (farthest to the right) and had it printed on Organic cotton sateen in a very large scale, so the flowers are pretty much big streaks and spots of color, very abstract, which is what I was going for. Here is the resulting fabric:
Back to the design of the dress. I knew it was to be:
I fiddled around with the dress fabric first, then came up with sketches. They are not set in stone, just a few ideas. As I am draping and sewing, I see places where the design needs adjustment, which is why one drapes and sews before diving into the real fabric! here's my fiddling and sketch page:
And here is some of my draping and sewing progress (only in muslin right now):
The caplet will be out of the cotton lace, rows and rows of it sewn together. The front will be seamed with the pin-tucked organza going down the center. At least that's the plan for now. The skirt portion will sit at the true waist (I need to lengthen my muslin a bit) I am thinking the skirt will have a high-low hem line, I was originally kicking around a tulip skirt, but I think it might be too much.
Anyway, that's all of my progress for now. And please, don't tell my mom!
I'm Denise Meyer, apparel designer in State College, PA, saving the world one clothing problem at a time!