Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Anne Dress gets dressed up

Currently listening to: The Golden Bears "Inspirational Lullaby", The Quails "When I Was A Lifeboat"

This week I've been tackling some of the 18 orders that I've piled up (from Capsule, online, and the custom dress party I had a few weeks ago), and the most exciting piece to come out of all this is a new silk shantung iteration of the Anne Dress, which I'm going to start offering on the site as part of my new Mignonette bridal collection. And to illustrate just how much work goes into making the darn thing, I made a little step-by step guide to the creation of the "Anne":

1. First, you cut out all the pieces. In the case of this version, it was 16 pieces. Whew. Then, you pin them together. Now comes the part that's actually fun: Adding on the ruffle. I love how, when it first gets going, it looks like a beautiful long ribbon on the front of the dress:

and then, as you go, it starts to look more like a bandolier:

I think this picture is cool because it's so symmetrical. It looks like an entirely space-age garment, I think.
Also for this dress I made a new kind of ruffle with a seam on the outside, which gave it a really beautiful line that I'm pretty psyched about.

2. Now it's time to put in the lining. In this case the bride-to-be chose a bright red heavy satin, which turned out gorgeously. For future Annes I might make it a dark teal though. ,
then the lining is added in and flipped inside out so that the ruffle stands up:

3.Now it's zipper time. The lining doesn't look half-bad. Hooray to me.

Now we step back to admire our work. The royal we, of course, unless you count the cats, who only care whether or not my sewing is disturbing their busy schedules of sleeping and licking themselves in various rooms.
4. And on to the sleeves. Here it is without sleeves, which frankly I kinda like. It's very flirty this way. Or maybe it's very Elvira. Either way, it appeals to the femme-fatale image I wish I conveyed.

The ruffle is doing all kinds of wackadoo things so it has to be pinned down and "trained" for the duration.

Ironing the sleeves is always funny because they look like scary, shiny metal gauntlets. * Actually I guess they don't, but at the time they did, which means I was up way too late the night before.

Now everyone knows that I cut fabric on the floor, using a taped-together ruler, and that my sewing machine table is balanced by an old towel. I don't actually like cutting on the floor, but my cutting table is currently being used by the actual Anne to create a scale drawing of the solar system, and she's so darn happy that I don't have the heart to move her.

Now the sleeve is set in and it looks kinda cute, mais non?
Now I iron it again, and then steam it and lint-roll it, all dressed in my fanciest sewing outfit, i.e. my pajamas, even though by this point it's probably 2 in the afternoon.

It is a testament to how much Anne must love me that I could look like this and yet she stays with me. Ah well, we must suffer for our art. And speaking of art:

Et Voila! 49 steps later, a star is born!

But first, the dress takes a quiet moment to contemplate its birth, which Anne graciously captures on film.:

What do you think? Do you like it?