Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Creative Process: The Blingy Dress

Finally I am here, with my blingy dress pics and a look into the process of creating a custom item for someone.  I happen to know the person that the dress was commissioned for (a birthday present) and so I had a clue as to her basic style.  She likes whimsy; she is in a band, front and center; she has dark hair and fair skin; she is bold and cheerful.
So I had at least some insight into what she might like; she is also a very original kind of person - very unique and very genuine - with a big happy beautiful smile!
This dress was commissioned by her future mother-in-law.  So to start the process, my first questions to her were about size and colors and lots of info about how far to go with the bling, how subtle to be, etc.

fter I found out the size (medium), which of course I had none in stock, so I started looking around during my shopping trips for a few choices.  I ended up with four very different dresses to choose from.  I then invited the 'commissioner' over to like and decide on one of these or to send me back out looking for more choices.  Luckily, the choice came down between the one on the left, a Patagonia mid-length dress with thin straps and a built-in shelf bra - and made out of a wonderful blue organic cotton and recycled spandex...a nice quality dress.  The other dress we looked strongly at was the lavender - a shorter length, with a cut-out neckline and short sleeves with super swishy 'wings'.  The other two didn't make the cut, which is okay, they will make awesome dresses for                      someone else down the line.  I let the 'commissioner' take her time in deciding, looking at the pros and cons of each dress, and she decided the blue would be the best choice for the recipient. And so the first part of the process was complete.

From here, all of the creative choices regarding the dress and its embellishments were left solely to me.  As luck would have it, I could find nothing from my deep, vast closet of 'raw materials' that was a good match for this dress, its color or its cut.  Luckily I knew of a thrift store that had a couple of racks of Indian tunics, saris, pants, etc.- I found a couple of possibilities and brought them home to see if they would work with the dress.  I looked at them against the dress, both inside under indoor lights and outside in the daylight.  These first two pics are of a lovely woven floral blue woven into copper with copper bling.  It just didn't match like I had hoped it would.  The color would have worked, it just wouldn't really improve the dress or give it the look I was starting to envision.  The warm-toned copper just wasn't complimentary to the cold tone of the blue of the dress.  
I did the same 'testing' with the second outfit I purchased, this one was a tunic and pants with 'bell bottom' embellishments  It was very different material from the first, stiffer and more formal, lots more 'bling'.  Where the first used copper this used silver, which went much better with the cold-toned blue of the dress.  You can see the embroidery and beadwork, sequins, and the fabricin the left-hand picture is from the 'bell bottom' of one of the pants legs. I could see that this was going to be a good match for the dress, keeping the proper tone and giving some lovely bling with some body to it as well. 
Out came the scissors....that point of seemingly no return....and then the pins.  As I started pinning the bodice trim for the front neckline, I could see that I had chosen well...the first 'puzzle piece' was fitting just right!! Yes, I was excited!  It is a good and very special feeling when your vision starts to become a tangible thing.  So I pinned and unpinned and repinned  - until I had it just the way I wanted, or maybe I should be honest....I had it just the way IT wanted to be.  I removed the dress from the dress form and hit the sewing machine!

Lovely, like it was meant to go on this dress...getting excited...what to do next?  
Well, the back seemed I thought I might add a little bit of decoration there....
I used the pieces that I cut off of the piece that I had just put on the front of the dress.  Perfect...I wend below the 'bra bottom' seam so that the embellishments would be a little lower on the back, where the back starts to taper into the waistline.  It seemed like a good place for a little shine.

Now, this all looked really nice, but still a bit plain.   I got down on my hands and knees and pinned one of the 'bell bottom' pieces to the side of the dress, thinking that I would put one on each side at the bottom hem.   The thing was, it just looked too big, took away from the neckline, and even when I made it smaller, it still seemed like it wasn't going to hang right.  I had to walk away for a little while and consider what I wanted for the dress...what would be the finishing touches, pulling the dress together.
I came back to the dress with a clear vision...I took the front hem trim from the Indian tunic and , because it was the right 'puzzle piece', it fit perfectly across the front hemline of the dress, from side seam to side seam. I brought the piece up above the bottom, so that it was kind of framed with the dress's fabric, which emphasized the blue embroidered flowers in the trim.  Easy as pie, this front part....I had a gut feeling that the back might be a little different!
It really wasn't so bad.  I just had some things to consider, such as that the bottom of the piece was frayed and worn from being at the bottom of a pants leg.  So that had to be considered and the rest of the piece brought down to a size that worked with a reduced bottom line.  I placed this 'puzzle piece' above the dress's hemline as well as I did in front.  I looked at it both ways before sewing anything on, and it looked better 'framed' by the dress.  I whittled down the upper portion of the triangle shape so that the piece was the right size, big enough to balance the rest of the dress, but not so big that it was overbearing.

  I think it came out very well.  The 'commissioner' was very pleased, and everyone who knew the recipient felt that she was going to seriously LOVE it!!  Music to my ears!!!

So the saga of the blingy dress comes to a close.  I am going to try to get a picture of the birthday girl in her new, one-of-a-kind GoodKharmaReThreads original garment that was custom made just for her.  Every one should get to have a piece that was made just for makes you feel so special, and you shouldn't have to be rich to feel that special feeling....I hope I am honored with the opportunity to do that for many more is a joy!
I hope you enjoyed this  installment of my blog.  I'll be back soon....every day, every piece is a new adventure!  Keep the positive, the peaceful, the happiness....or maybe not keep it...share it!

No comments:

Post a Comment