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Friday, February 24, 2012

Lost in the Woods

I am working an exciting project right now that has been a long time in the making... the "Lost in the Woods" collection, a fairytale-inspired collection of dresses, starring all those famous gals who wound up wandering through the forest, and looking fabulous all the while- Goldilocks, Snow White, Little Red Riding Hood, and Alice in Wonderland. It would also be fun to add Hansel and Gretel but I have enough on my plate as it is. I should mention, of course, that these are adult versions of these characters.... Goldilocks the exception who is more like the ultimate spoiled teenager. These are characters who are beautiful and feminine, but also fierce. They do not need a man to rescue them. They may be vulnerable but they are not weak. I find it interesting that so many fairytales follow this common thread of being lost in the woods, searching for something, be it a refuge, a grandmother... in the case of Goldilocks, mischief... and in the case of Alice, a deeper meaning to life- what's beneath the surface of things?

I cast the models for this very carefully. They each have a wonderful quality of the character they portray which made it obvious to me who they should be. I always draw inspiration from the model as a muse so it is an important part of the process for me.

I still have a lot to do, dying fabric, cutting, sewing, fitting, so I foresee the next couple weeks being pretty full up with finishing these dresses. Two are almost finished. Two are barely begun. But I did some good concept drawings today so I think I am going to be on track. A lot of Alice's dress is going to evolve on the mannequin- I know what the skirt is going to be but not the top. The skirt is going to be full length, circular cut, with lots of ruffles of different fabrics in close shades of gray and gray-blue going around it up the whole thing.I just got some beautiful cotton lace for Goldilock's dress which was very inspiring for me.

Here are some photos of the Little Red dress in progress- it's the only one I have taken photos of so far. Would love to hear anyone's comments!
After dyeing the silk chiffon and silk habotai a brilliant flame red, I pressed the fabric and cut out the pieces from the pattern I drafted. The tricky detail of this dress is lots of tiny pleats at the waistline. I had to mark the pleats with pins....
Sewing the pleats was the most time consuming part of this dress. The bodice has a little raglan seam- for lack of a better term- I suppose you could say shoulder yoke- anyway it makes the shoulder fit more nicely and strengthened the shoulder as well because I made it two layers thick.
Then I pinned the main pieces of the dress on the mannequin to see how it looked....
Sexy! But the pleats were going toward the side seam a bit much so I added a triangular insert in the side seam to give the skirt a little more flowiness. And I added the sleeves which will be gathered at the bottom into a band. The bottom of the skirt is going to be sheer red chiffon. At this point I realized the neck facing would show through, so I am finishing it with a band instead. The back has a sexy cutout. There will also be a hood of some sort to complete the ensemble.
I will try to post more photos of my progress on this project but no promises... like I said I have a lot more work to do!