Saturday, May 11, 2013

Garden Party

After the fashions, the food, the monuments and the sites, Paris is best known for its lush gardens and parks. The Jardin d'Acclimatation (botanical garden), the Tuileries, Palais Royale gardens, the Champs de Mars, Jardin de Luxembourg, Parc Monceau have the best floral arrangements in the city. But what is even more wonderful about the city is how every little nook and cranny--from the round-about at the Rond Point des Champs Élysées to the modest planter boxes on the balconies of the city's inhabitants--is abound with fragrant buds and blooms.

This spring is particularly pretty in the French capital. Like the parks around them, current fashions spotted on the street are abloom with fresh flowered prints splashed over either simple sheath or shift dresses, fit and flared silhouettes, even pants with matching little 60's jackets a la 1960's. The look is unassuming fresh and quintessentially youthful.

The dolls were more than willing to exchange their hip hop fashions for something so pretty. I used the quilter's squares we bought last week at the Marché St. Pierre. The flower prints were perfectly in scale with the dolls' proportions. I even went back and revisited the floral printed jeans we saw in Monoprix and two weeks ago.

The bottom of Sissilie's fit and flare dress features a gathered flared skirt. Most people make a gathered skirt using the simple, predictable way: a rectangle with a running stitch along the top edge which is then drawn close to the waist. The problem is that it creates a bell shape--the volume around the waist dissipates at the hem, so all of the initial fullness runs out and the fabric pulls your silhouette back towards the body. With the pattern featured today, there is as much fullness at the hem as there is at the waist. Since the length from the waist to the hem is equal all around the way around the doll, your skirt will bounce up and flare away from body (like the dresses in those romantic perfume commercials).

First, refer to the pattern section of this blog for instructions on drafting the 4-gore skirt. As shown, draw a line from the bottom of the dart straight down to the hem (cutting along this line) Fold the dart out, thus releasing the volume into the hem of the skirt. Take this dartless pattern piece and cut into 4 pieces.

Spread those pieces equally apart as much or little as the desired fullness. Remember, the thicker the fabric, more fullness equals more bulk, especially around the waist. Conversely, if you use a lightweight or flimsy fabric (like chiffon), you can add lots more volume.

Create the new pattern piece by tracing the new silhouette around the cut pieces. Add seam allowance and repeat for the back skirt. Whatever amount of spread you made in the front, you should maintain in the back, unless you are designing a dress with more fullness planned for the back.

For my dress, I have attached my skirt to a basic bodice. However, if you are making a skirt, I would recommend using ribbon or grosgrain cut slightly wider than the doll's waist for the waistband. Close with Velcro or hook & eye.

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1 comment:

  1. I absolutely looove "Garden Party". What makes this particular scene so special is the scale - not only the floral background setting - but the fabrics and accessories, so well juxtaposed against the garden, make a successful composition. For example, the the tiny print of the dress, all in rose and purple blends, mix so well into the garden setting making for a luscious happy scene, all to scale and as believable as a an actual "Vogue" style photo shoot.

    Same goes for the sassy lady in casual floral chic pencil pants, black tank and fantasy white bouclé neck decor. This pattern is repeated throughout the garden's flowers and shrubs. This is no dolly dress making, but a true to scale miniature creation composed of sophisticated models, haute couture and stunning backgrounds. Make me more! - "Olympia"


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