Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Red Carpet Ready: Variations of the Sheath

Now that the holidays are over, and the girls have had a bit of a break, it's time to look forward to the awards season. The Golden Globe Awards Ceremony takes place on Sunday, hence we look forward to the glamorous gowns we know the stars will be wearing. Usually I chose a selection of the most outstanding dresses and present them to you as a source of inspiration. However, this time around, I thought I would select a super simple silhouette, then show you how you can modify it to create your own red carpet sensation for your doll using the base of a strapless, sheath evening gown.

I took advantage of my having to create foundation garments for my new Fashion Royalty dolls. Thus, this project begins with the sheath dress created by draping directly on the doll. Click here for instructions.

Inasmuch as this is something you will use repeatedly create numerous garments, I strongly suggest you take your time to be sure this foundation fits your doll well. Make a full muslin (toile) to check for fit. Then mark the neckline of the strapless dress directly on the muslin, then transfer that to the paper pattern. I have elongated this foundation to the floor.

For my first garment, I have used a gorgeous navy lace. I have laid out the pattern so that the edge is against the decorative edge of the lace. While you could line this garment, I have chosen to leave it sheer and in the style of the late Yves Saint Laurent, I add tiny sequins (or beads) to strategic areas. Very sexy!!!

The lace "coat" is another piece of the same lace. I didn't want to cut it into a specific style, so I simply folded it over the arms and hand stitched it along the arms. I also pinched it in at the waist in the back and hand stitched it down for added shape.

Normally I don't pink gowns with fishtails. But for many, the fishtail gown is the quintessential "glamour gown." I don't like dresses that simply flair out the silhouettes at the side into some sort of silly fin.

On the other hand, you can create something much prettier by taking a length of fabric (hemmed with the ends stitched together), gathering it and adding it to the dress. Though I've used the same fabric, feel free to use tulle or incorporate even more fabric for a more voluminous tail. The "flower" on one side of the dress was made by scooping up a bunch of scraps, twisting them into a pouf and sewing them in place. The stole is a long tube I chose not to iron.

One of the great things about the sheath dress is that it can serve as a base for draping.

On this jade brocade dress, again, I started out with my foundation. Then I literally sculpted the fabric on top of the bust by puckering and twisting a scrap of fabric which is pinned then stitched in place. See a demonstration as to how it's done by looking at this post.

Now, we will make a large bow for the back. It starts with a long tube. Press lightly then create a bow as shown in the illustration. Crisscross the two sides then pinch it in the middle. Wrap the middle with a small strip of fabric. Tie and stitch middle of the tie to the the loops.

Now add this to the back of the dress. You will sew it to one side of the back. Use a snap to hold this bow to the other side of the dress. Do not try to tie a traditional as it will not be as nice.

Now, for the piece de la resistance! The dress at the top of this post. The simple sheath is regal with the addition of panels to either side.

I cut two squares. On each square I cut one corner off. Turn the edges down on the side and top. Create soft pleats at the top. Hand stitch them down using slip stitches and add each panel to the side of the dress. Tack in place. I created my own bows using the fabric which I allowed to unravel. You can use ribbon or even small broaches, instead. I add a bow to each side as well as one placed at the center of the back. Tact down to the dress at the side waist. Mark the hem into a curve and cut.

There are endless possibilities using this simple dress. Add a train to the back or a swag to one side of the dress. Create stoles, trains or top off with a short bolero or a cocoon. Most of inspired by the divas of the 1950's silver screen. See you on the red carpet!!!!

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  1. Another great tutorial FDS, and your navy lace gown is gorgeous!

  2. Thank you for the kind words. Glad you enjoyed it.


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