Sunday, September 11, 2011

cherry dress tutorial…or, i walk the line


by far, this dress gave me the most trouble.

i sketched out and subsequently rejected more designs than i can count--either for looking too costumey, being too literal, being simply too ugly

i had picked the fabrics on the fly—five kids at the fabric store, and already late for an appointment. i was nursing five in a back corner of the store and asking myself: “what do i think of when i think of cherries?”

(those top 3, and the solid green in the middle)

a palette of reds, darker and lighter…and a rich green. and i added some of the cherry print fabric to my pile because, well, why not?

and then i put this dress off until the very end—after the “watermelon”, after the “lemonade”, after the “picnic blanket.” playing with different ideas. and when i finally settled on one, it was still a vaguely formed idea

basically, i just started cutting into my fabrics and hoped for the best.
(i do that more often than i care to admit)

i started by cutting my two red fabrics into strips—but angled slightly wider on one end—like a triangle with it’s head cut off.


and then cut my cherry print fabric into thinner strips, which i ironed in half…


then i sewed all my pieces together in groups—one light red, one dark red, cherry strip in the center—and pressed them.


once they were all complete, i sewed all my sections together making one giant circle.


i decided to make it a bubble dress at that point (did you read that part where i said i just started cutting and hoped for the best? yeah. not lyin’.)

i made a lining for the whole dress—just slightly shorter and smaller around. then i sewed the bottoms of both the lining and dress right sides together first—gathering the dress to fit the smaller lining.
next i ran a quick stitch around the top of the dress and lining to attach the two, and used more of the cherry print as a bias tape to cover and enclose the top.

the shorter and smaller lining pulls the dress fabric under and bubbles it out, easy peasy.
now the strap…

i debated a long time on this. would a leaf make it too costume-y? i kept seeing it walking down The Runway…nina yelling “what IS this? it’s aesthetically NOT pleasing.” whilst michael kors rolls his eyes and sighs…frustrated by my literal interpretations.


in the end, i just decided to go for it.

i put the dress right on ms. ava, and pinned a large section of freezer paper where i wanted the strap to be. then drew my shape on the paper, like so:


which i cut out and used as a pattern piece…


i cut two out of the green fabric, and sewed them right sides together, leaving the skinny end of the strap open. i turned it right side out and stitched some “veins” on with green thread.


i made one “normal” strap for the other side, and then attached everything. (the “leaf” i tacked on by hand, sewing only through the bottom layer so no stitches showed on the front of it)

a simple button closure in the back…


and the last minute addition of a high waist tie to give it a little more shape (it was a bit poofier than i normally do (QUICK! name that movie for 10 points!))

and you know what?

quite honestly…


for flying by the seat of my pants…


and walking that dangerous line between “costume” and “wearable but cute”…


i gotta say—in the end…


this dress came out

IMG_5739_5334IMG_5740_5335 IMG_5738_5333

pretty cherry

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