Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Late Summer Blooms

In Paris Haute Couture, the creations sent out on the catwalk are truly a sum of its parts. Various elements for the elaborate dresses often originate from a variety of specialized ateliers: embroidery from the house of Lesage, feather work from Lemarie, silk flowers from Legeron.  Today's posting takes its inspiration from a collection I saw by John Galliano, former designer for Christian Dior, from their 2010 Fall Couture show. The dresses were inspired by flowers on the scale of Georgia O'Keefe's magnificent paintings. And though much of it featured hand painted silks, there were some where silk flowers were incorporated into the design. This got me thinking.

After my last post featuring paper dresses, a few people told me how great it was to go to the Dollar Store for material founds. So I went back to see what else could be used for our high fashion designs. Flowers!!!!! Yes, I know they are not the best quality, but with these, you will not feel too intimidated to take them apart to make clothes. The trick in using them in your designs is to.....KEEP IT SIMPLE!!!
Rose petal camisole

What you want is a dress that could, conceivably, appear at a party, on the street or on the red carpet. But let me warn will be tempted to go crazy. Resist. Remember, it's a garment, not a costume! One more tip before we get started. You will not be able to use fabric glue for this project because the glue will show through. Use very tiny stitches, sliding the needle in between the petals and the foundation so as to minimalize the appearance on the wrong side of the garment.

Let's start with the opening photo. I used pink silk roses. Remove them from the stem and remove the plastic stamens. What you will have are just the petals. For our top, I began with the 1-piece camisole cut from pale pink satin. I place the first flatten set of petals, then layer on others. Pin them in place while the doll is still in the camisole. Place pins where you want the stitches to hold down the petals. When you have completed it, remove from the doll and hand stitch the petals in place. My doll is wearing this top over a matching silk satin sarong skirt.

The skirt is the focal point of the next look. Again, you must remove the plastic stamen. For my foundation, I've used the 1-piece skirt pattern. The flowers are folded in half then attached to the skirt both in the front and back. You decide how much flare is desired. My "Tango" skirt has lots of flare. After pinning to the skirt, the flowers are hand stitched in place. The top is quite simple. I wanted something to mimic the veins of the flowers. So I took a small rectangle of silk, wet it thoroughly, then twisted it into ball. I set this out to dry, then carefully unraveled it. The crinkles adhere to the form of the doll and need no hemming. I've attached a bit of ribbon to each end at the back. A single snap holds the top in place.

Use crinkled silk for a simple, but spectacular top.

I wanted something less elaborate for the chrysanthemum skirt. It begins with a straight 1-piece skirt in a contrasting color. When I pulled out the plastic stamen from the middle of the flower, I held the layers together with a pin, then later tacked only the petals down I wanted to stay in place. Here, I've teamed the skirt with the wrap around blouse and a coat (using the straight jacket pattern) made from red felt (found in craft stores).

And then there is the carnation dress. My intention was to do a skirt. The skirt I used is a simple A-lined flared skirt. But while deliberating on which top to do, I decided to do an entire dress. Thus, my dress began with the skirt. I folded the petals in half and added them onto the skirt. After I finished. I took a petal, flattened it (in the same manner as the top shown above), and began to layer more petals over, pinning everything in place. I made sure the doll was completely covered and that you can not see the skirt base beneath, however, it is probably more sensible to add a 1-piece camisole before beginning the top half so that you have something to stitch your layers to.

The Chrysanthemum dress. 

Needless to say, the possibilities are limitless !!!!

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