Posts Tagged ‘purple

18
Nov
10

Accessorizing

Early on in our custom design process, I let Rachel know that if she was interested I could custom make her veil to coordinate with her gown. She was delighted with the possibility but had no ideas about what specifically she would want. I think our mutual friend Ann-Michelle was the first to suggest she consider a fascinator instead of the traditional veil. As soon as we began thinking on that track it was clearly the right call for Rachel and her wedding day.

Again we perused the internet for inspiration. Rachel liked the look of a couple of photos with flower fascinators that had wispy feathers sort of sweeping out around them. On a shopping trip together to find flowers for the gown, we found some feathers dyed a deep purpley magenta that were just perfect! These, together with flowers Rachel selected to match the bouquet she would carry, and some stunning iridescent beads that matched the Dupioni exactly, came together to make a beautiful accessory for her hair, that coordinated wonderfully with her gown.

17
Nov
10

Change of plans

After Rachel’s fabric fitting, I worked on embellishing the skirt. Our original design plan had been to dot the skirt with small purple fabric flowers, and adding a sprinkling of beads and sequins around them for some extra sparkle. It sounded good, it worked in the sketch, it had been gorgeous in a couple of inspiration photos we drew from. In real life, on her gown, it was all wrong. The contrast between the deep purple and pale ivory was too stark, and the small flowers made the skirt looked almost polka dotted. Adding that to the mixed textures and silk pick ups that we were already using, and the skirt was far too busy. I sent Rachel pictures of the gown with the flowers pinned in place, and she replied first asking me to thin them out, and then asking if we could rethink them altogether. Rachel apologized but I let her know – this is part of the custom process, and it’s precisely the reason why I send progress photos! Sometimes what sounds good in theory turns out a bit different in practice. It was time to rethink things.

Over the course of a couple of days we emailed back and forth. I sent photos of a number of possible alternatives, adding flowers at the hem instead of dotting throughout, beading small sections of the skirt with purple beads, clear beads, small ones and large ones, sections matching the beading on the bodice, random scatterings and little flower shaped bead clusters, long trailing “vines” of ivory thread and clear sequins. I tried to do just enough of each sample to let her see, without devoting too much time to any of them and without overhandling the fabrics.

Ultimately, Rachel decided she didn’t want purple beads or purple thread in the skirt; the contrast was just too much. She liked the look of the ivory “vines” with sequins, and asked if I could do this but also scatter in a few of the beaded flowers (in clear beads) for a bit of texture. I can’t begin to tell you how glad I am that she wanted to change plans; the end result is so much better than what we’d designed at first, such a better fit for Rachel and for her wedding.

14
Nov
10

First fabric fitting

Fabric fittings are exciting. By this point we’ve been working together to design and create a beautiful garment, but we’ve been working in pictures, sketches, mock ups. At this point, I’m able to show my client the *actual* garment we’re creating. And in the case of a bride, it’s the first time she wears the gown she will wear on her wedding day.

Rachel first fabric fitting was FUN. Only one minor, nitpicky change was needed for a perfect fit (when I pointed it out she told me it was too small to matter; but I told her “No, we’re going to FIX it.”) Rachel brought the shoes she planned to wear on her wedding day (awesome, awesome shoes) and I marked the hemline of the skirt. We discussed the pick ups I would soon be pinning in the over skirt (I cheated in the last post and showed you a photo post-pickups because I’d neglected to take a picture of the earlier step). We both oohed and aaahed excitedly over how well the purple fabric complimented her complexion and hair color, how beautiful her figure looked in the gown, how adorable her shoes were. And we took a picture for her to share with her friends and for me to share with you! After this, we were ready for me to begin working on the finishing touches for her gown.

But coming next… a surprising change in plans.

14
Nov
10

Skirting the issue

Rachel’s gown included a skirt with four layers in all – the Dupioni over skirt, ivory tulle over satin for the under skirt, and of course lining. I had to sew the tulle layer twice; my iron has a Teflon shoe and so it does not melt fabrics, which unfortunately allowed me to neglect to turn the temperature down low enough for the delicate tulle fabric. It didn’t melt, but it shrank badly the first time. I didn’t notice my mistake until I’d sewn the entire tulle layer, pinned it to the satin, and realized it was a good six inches shorter than the satin layer! Thankfully I buy tulle by the bolt and had plenty on hand to correct my error quickly, without any delays to Rachel.

Aside from that sewing up the skirt went beautifully and and without much to comment on; we’d pretty well perfected the shape and fit in our muslin fittings. I basted the bodice to the skirts and let Rachel know we were ready for a fitting … in her *actual* gown! Stay tuned for more. 🙂

31
Oct
10

Designing the Gown

Yesterday I had the great privilege of attending Rachel’s wedding, helping her get dressed in her custom gown, and celebrating the beautiful day she and her loved ones shared.  Now that the wedding day is past (and she succeeded in surprising her fiancĂ©e with the design) I can share photos with you all! But you’ll have to wait a bit  for pics of the completed gown – I’m going to take you through the custom creation process with me first.

During our initial conversations, Rachel had imagined an A-lined, mid-calf length, strapless gown for a beach side wedding. But following her friend Maria’s wedding (where Rachel was maid-of-honor), Rachel discovered a newfound fondness for ballroom style gowns – Maria’s had been stunning, she told me. Meanwhile, Rachel had felt out her fiancĂ©e Dan to see his thoughts on a shorter gown, and he expressed a strong preference for something full length. The final factor that made her rethink her original designs – and this was not a small shift – was that after viewing a number of locations they decided against the beach and picked a completely different venue. Instead, they were married under the spreading branches of a majestic oak tree at Cross Creek Ranch in Dover, Florida, with the reception in a refurbished open-air stable on the site. The site had a Southern, country, old Florida feel to it, and it meant a different theme for the wedding day than their initial ideas.

So Rachel wanted a fuller, longer skirt and a more formal feel for her gown. She also had begun to rethink having a strapless gown and expressed that she was open to other suggestions if I had any recommendations. Finally, Rachel had mentioned from the start that she wanted her gown to have purple accents. Each time we spoke, she brought the color purple up again – it’s her favorite color, and it was clear that she really wanted to include it. But she mentioned, almost offhandedly, that she didn’t want there to be “too much” purple, and I couldn’t tell whether she had a preconceived preference for how much was too much, or if she just had a vague sense that wedding gowns were supposed to be primarily white.

So, for our design consultation, I tried to gather a variety of images to discuss different design elements. Among them, I looked for multiple examples of colored gowns – from the all-white dress with a few purple beads or floral accents, to gowns that had colored trains, colored sashes, colored bands of fabric along the neckline, to those entirely in color without a bit of white on them. As we sat and reviewed the options, Rachel was very surprised to see bridal gowns in full color that still somehow looked bridal, and she was clearly excited to consider a colorful break from the all-white tradition. She particularly loved a photo I showed her of a quincinera dress which had a fitted lavender bodice leading into a lavender overskirt gathered into pick ups over a white satin ballgown skirt. Her gown would, of course, be purple rather than lavender, and she didn’t particularly care for the enormous bow spilling down from the hip or for the embroidery through the skirt, but the amount of color and the pick ups were really exciting to her.

I’d also gathered multiple photos of different necklines and closures to show her some of the possibilities, and I was delighted when she expressed fondness for the neckline I’d hoped to recommend as my favorite for her – an off the shoulder strap and a laced up corset back. Rachel has a full bust and it was important to her that this not be the focal point of her gown. I let her know I thought a well positioned off the shoulder strap could really help to balance out her bust and to lift the eye up towards her face. (On the other hand, I suspect a strapless gown, especially if it were cut straight across the top, could easily have made her bust look wider).

Rachel also still really loved the floral accents on one of the photos she had first shown me – purple fabric flowers dotting the gown. And so we decided to use some small flowers through the ivory underskirt on her gown.

Once we had the main elements decided upon, we went over the color in more detail. There are so many shades of purple – from a bluish violet color to burgandy that is as red as it is purple. The right shade was going to really matter – their shift to the ranch venue had been accompanied by a stronger autumn influence for the theme and decor at their wedding. And this meant that whichever shade of purple we chose was going to be accompanied by orange accents: pumpkins on haystacks outside the stable, orange and purple floral arrangements. Rachel was excited but also nervous, not wanting the colors to clash. I pulled every length of purple fabric in my stash, regardless of the type or fiber content, and we compared the colors to an orange swatch to find a shade that seemed to work well. We held the color up to her face, her hair, to make sure it was flattering to Rachel herself. And then I cut a swatch of it for each of us to have when searching for just the right fabric for her gown. We also compared our preferred purple to swatches of white, ivory, and cream colored fabrics from my stash, since Rachel wasn’t entirely sure what shade she wanted. Ivory was the best color with the purple, hands down, and since she’d been leaning slightly towards ivory to begin with it was decided easily.

After all of these considerations, the result was a design that was very different from her original thoughts, but really ideal for Rachel’s figure, personality, and wedding plans. I put together a new sketch for Rachel that evening to be sure we were understanding each other well on all the details. We were both simply giddy and I could scarcely wait to begin working on the dress!

11
Jun
10

Button up white dress

My client came to me in search of a fitted, below knee length white dress with a high boat neckline similar to the neckline on a dress Jackie Kennedy wore, but without any more details than that in mind. For a simple silhouette in a solid white fabric, small details can mean the difference between super chic and fairly plain, so she and I spent some time talking about a range of options for fabric types and details of the garment construction, among them the choices that were available for the closure on her dress. When I mentioned the possibility of buttons instead of a zipper, she nearly jumped out of her seat. “What sort of buttons could I have?” she asked. “Any kind you want,” I told her. She hand selected the buttons herself and picked out a matching pair of heels to complete the outfit. Simple, stylish and comfortable but far from everyday.

28
May
09

A more colorful post!

After all the plain white fabric in my recent post, it seems worthwhile to show you a bit of color today:

Lycra Before

Granted, the photo above is fairly stark. This is our “Before” picture. Yesterday, I dyed. Dying is always a little exciting for me. Plain white turns to brilliant colors, and sooo many details can impact how well the end product turns out. I’ve been playing with dyes for quite a while now and I’m still learning new things I can do.

Stove top dying is my usual MO. It’s relatively convenient to set up and clean up, and you can get a nice hot heat on the stove which helps the dye set brilliantly. I’ve learned though that it’s a poor choice for larger projects because even in a 2 gallon stock pot, a couple yards of fabric get crowded quickly – and then you end up with an uneven dye job (not good). Yesterday I wanted to avoid the hassle of dying in the washing machine, but I didn’t want to risk blotchy fabric. So in a moment of inspiration I decided to cut my fabric pieces out first and dye them pre-cut, just a few at a time! (Since the nylon Lycra blend I was working with was a knit fabric, I didn’t have to worry about it fraying after I cut it). It worked superbly.

First a shot of my practice swatches as I perfected the color mix in my pot. Attempts 1 through 3 are laid out from left to right, with the farthest right swatch being the purple chiffon fabric I wanted to match. (Actually, I wanted the Lycra to be just slightly darker than the chiffon).

Dye Attempts

Once the dye mix met my satisfaction, I took the plunge and dyed the pre-cut pieces of fabric for my project, separated into two halves so I wouldn’t overcrowd the pot, and pre-soaked in water so the fabric would drink up the dye nice and evenly. Beautiful. I cleaned up my workspace and then I hand washed the dyed fabric bits with just a bit of detergent and rinsed them thoroughly several times so that any bleeding they were going to do happened before they were sewn to other fabrics. I hung them to drip dry, and waited. Here’s the “After” pic:

Lycra After

With the fabric dyed, washed, and dried I was ready to get started on a new Latin style ballroom dance costume! Now two days ago I had taken the time before hand to cut, serge, and iron a small mountain of little purple chiffon triangles, which were to be used in the Latin dress’ skirt. Here they are, waiting patiently while I dyed:

Ready Triangles

And with those components – the hand dyed Lycra and ready chiffon triangles, I was ready to put together a beautiful dress. The built-in body suit went together with no problems whatsoever: front to back, elastic through the legs, bra cups sewn in place. Then the outer dress – front to back, serge the raw edges, leaving a slit up each side which had to be hemmed. I was making great time! Thought I might even finish the dress before bedtime. On to the hem at the bottom. Fold, press, stitch, right?

Wrong.

*Shakes head.* If I had taken the time to set up my professional quality iron this wouldn’t have happened. I have a beautiful gravity feed iron with a Teflon shoe that doesn’t melt fabrics. But, setting this up requires me to drill a hook in the wall from which to hand the bottle of water that feeds the iron. Putting the hook in the wall with any ease requires knowing where our power screwdriver is. I think it’s in one of the boxes in the garage. Probably. And in the meantime I’m using the regular, run of the mill, daily use iron that we’ve had for years. And it MELTED a tiny little spot on the skirt.

Scortched Hem

If you sew, you’ll sympathize. Heck if you do any long, time consuming type of project that can be ruined in an instant, you’ll sympathize. At this point I’d been working on the dress all day. Pattern drafting, cutting, soaking, dying, washing, drying, sewing, serging… melting. I called my husband and asked for his painfully honest opinion. No, I couldn’t cut the hem even shorter (it was super short already). No I couldn’t leave the melted spot there and just pretend it hadn’t happened (not that I really would have considered that option). Yes, I really did need to redo the outer dress. Yes, that really did mean cutting, soaking, dying, washing, drying, sewing, and serging all over again.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH!!

It was one of those gut wrenching, tear jerking, frustrating moments that are just kind of sickening. Acknowledging that a two second error, just that tiniest moment of leaving the iron in one spot too long, was going to cost me HOURS to repair. I balked. I whined. I contemplated crying. And then I took a deep breath and put the stock pot back on the stove. More water. More salt. More dye. More heat. More test swatches. More precut fabric. More rinses. More washing. More drying. More sewing. More serging. And somehow a few hours later I’d caught back up. I was tired but optomistic once again. I could look at the *new* outer dress, smile at my success, and even admit to myself that the dye turned out better the second time. And I got to move forward.

The dozens and dozens of chiffon triangles made their way, one at a time, to the skirt before I went to bed. This morning the outer dress and bodysuit went together, I finished the raw edges all around, and took the very important step off sewing in my beautiful “Goff Couture” label. 🙂

Here she is, all finished and just waiting for some bling. (I’ll be gluing around 15 gross of Swarovski rhinestones all over the place once the stones arrive).

Purple Latin Front Purple Latin Back




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