Sewing

Frothy fairy dresses

I’m sewing a frothy goddess frock – just for the fun of it.

It’s a nice break from the UFPro pile, and commissions, and historical costuming I’m working on, all of which have specific requirements for their creation.

The dress was kind of inspired by this week’s poll.  I don’t understand all this modern vampire and werewolf and zombie craze.  I want to be a fairy.  It turns out that I’m not the only one who wants to be a fairy – well over half of you have the same impulse.  So I’m making a fairy frock.  Not a tinker belle fairy frock, sort of a fairy godmother meets the traditional faerie queen fairy.  A study in contrast: natural materials with an etherial feel, elegant formality and whimsical fun.

I liked the idea of making a dress that looks a bit like a sarong tied around you, and a bit like a Regency gown.  One that blends total relaxation and classical formality.

The fabric is an ivory cotton voile with tiny woven-in stripes of silver, perfect for a earthy but celestial frock.

My quick, drape it on a mannequin prototype.

The first prototype was lovely, but had unfortunate hip-widening tendencies:

It's lovely, but even Isabelle looks larger than normal in it.

So re-did the skirt a little, and the bodice a lot (my prototype just had the fabric draped on a bra), and, in a lucky stroke of brilliance, I found a length of antique rayon tulle I have had for years, and it draped perfectly around the dress.

Pretty!

I thought about leaving the dress as a strapless, but the effect is too wide from front to back - the single sleeve strap really lengthens and slims the figure

Strapless is pretty from the front, but a bit fussier and not quite as 'goddess'

The mess on the left is my massive pile of working projects. Shame on me. Don't you love Felicity's cameo?

See how much slimmer the side view is with the strap? Even in an unfocused shot!

Swoon! (and did you notice that I have a bust in this dress!?!)

The side back view is still a little messy - I'm going to tidy it up

The back is visually too wide. And the swoop of tulle should join to the centre back waist seam, not disappear into the skirt

I’ve got a whole list of things I want to do to make the dress look better:

  • add another layer of lining under the skirt
  • drape another layer of fabric over the bodice to hide the seam lines
  • re-hang the skirt from the bodice to get rid of some of the wrinkling and odd hang of the skirt
  • re-cut a straight skirt seam into a diagonal to improve the fall of the skirt.
  • re-pleat the back pleating of the skirt – it’s too wide, and makes the back look wider
  • add false Regency-inspired back seams to help visually narrow the back.

In other words, I’ve pretty much completely taken the dress apart, and am re-putting it back together.  But at least I know exactly what I am aiming for this time!

In addition to my fixes, I plan to raid my stash of vintage lace scraps, and ornament the dress with all the froth and flowers my minimalist soul can stand.  I’m going to strew little lace flowers all over the antique tulle to hide the old mends in it.  And add lace to the bodice.  And to the train.  Or at least that’s the plan.

9 Comments

  1. Natalie says

    I can’t wait to see the finished dress. Gorgeous!

  2. Wow that is very, very close to the wedding dress I’ll be making for next February! 🙂

    • It’s a great wedding dress design! If Mr D and I were getting married now, this is what I would go with! (P.S. Are you sure your client doesn’t want me to make it 😉 )

      • She’s not my client hon she is my best galpal of 30 years plus, and nobody gets a look-in but me – she’s made that VERY clear! 🙂

          • Well, I’d quite like to get someone else to make it, and as I can’t, I will very liikely be bouncing ideas off yiz during the process so be warned!!

  3. I’m so in awe of your skills, LOVE peeking in at your draping process.

    Now, this may be too frou frou or craftsy, but why not tiny silk flowers scattered about? You could clump them around the bottom- as if your skirt picked up mud but upon touching the enchanted fabric turned to tiny flowers (which are not mud colored).

    • Great idea Steph! I was already thinking about something similar, but will figure it out as a drape it – to see what works and what doesn’t.

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