Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Homecoming Dress

This department store dress was brought to me to recreate in purple. The client liked the design style and fit, but not the color. I've never copied RTW before, but felt confident that by using a combination of patterns and my own skills, I could complete the project in the 3 weeks provided.

McCalls 5623 was used for the bodice, which was nice because it offers fitting options for different cup sizes. The RTW dress was a size 4 and the cup was too big, so I was very glad to be able to accomodate her in that area! The RTW dress also had a bias cut underskirt, so I used McCalls 5100 for that part, with modifications. I needed a flat upper skirt edge, and extended it the required amount to obtain the necessary length from waist to bust. I also used the muslin to determine the correct size to cut. As for the chiffon overskirt, with only gathering in the CF and CB, I used 1.5 yards of 60" wide chiffon, and drafted that part myself.

The bodice was constructed first, basting the lace pieces to the underlying satin, then stitching the bodice together. An additional bodice of just satin was made for the lining. Because the top edge would be wrapped in satin (I thought the RTW top edge was piping, but it wasn't), I basted the two bodices wrong sides together.

The bias skirt was then constructed of satin, but CB seam left open for the invisible zipper. I stabilized the CB skirt edges with 1" wide fusible interfacing to prevent stretching with zipper placement. The chiffon overskirt was measured and CF and sides marked, pinned, and gathered at CF and CB. The bodice and skirt layers were then attached to complete the dress body.
The bow and sash were made of bias cut strips (3.25" wide), folding in half, stitched at 5/8", turned right side out and pressed to produce a 1" finished width. The band was hand sewn over the bodice/skirt seam. The bow was hand sewn into place and tacked down to stay open. I then installed the invisible zipper and closed the CB skirt seams separately, so the chiffon was still flow fully.
I used a narrow hem to complete the CB chiffon seam. The top bodice edge seam was then finished with a strip of bias cut satin, but here is where I would've changed a couple of things. I should've made the trim more narrow to better match the RTW dress, and attached the straps at this point. Not a big deal, though...












To add the sparkles, I used the BeJeweler Stone Styler and heat fix Swarovski Crystals from Sue's Sparklers. I placed the crystals randomly, but evenly spaced apart all over the lace bodice. Super easy, and adds a professional flair, the task was tedious, but completely worth it.
A hem, hook & eye to finish the job.

All fabrics were purchased at JoAnn's.

My client is very, very happy, as am I. This project was scary at first, as it was my first attempt at copying RTW, it had been a long time since I worked with these fabrics, and this dress was for the daughter of a coworker. Not only did it turn out great, it's bringing in more business, so it's a win-win for me.

*Yes, I know there's no view of the back... yet. This dress was too tiny to zip completely on my dress form, so when I get pics of The Girl in The Dress, I will update this post!

Coming Soon: Halloween Costumes and a Silk Jersey BWOF dress for a November family wedding!

14 comments:

Amanda S. said...

This is beautiful! You did a super job and the color is really pretty.

luckylibbet said...

Oh, that dress is SO PRETTY! And such a professional sewing job. Your copy looks just like the original except for color, just as your client wanted. Awesome!

connie b said...

Excellent with a capital E!!! Kudos on a job well done.

Kris C. said...

Very cute! And I like the original, too - I was expecting a much uglier green. :)

Paula said...

That looks great. Can't say I'm surprised. You've always been great at this.....but it looks wonderful. So good, I want to go put that dress on right now and I don't even like to wear dresses! :)

Lindsay T said...

Give yourself a big pat on the back! Fabulous job.

Gwen said...

Wow, it is beautiful! I imagine that your co-worker and her daughter were THRILLED!! The style she wanted, the color she wanted AND a better fit! :)

Adrienne said...

BEAUTIFUL!!!!

colour by number said...

It looks great! I would be so nervous to sew for someone else. By the way, I love your Mccalls 5477 jacket! I have the pattern in my stash.

Summerset said...

You've done a fabulous job! These type of jobs aren't always easy to pull off, but the dress is beautiful!

Anna M. said...

What a beautiful dress! You did a lovely job! I'm sure she is so very pleased with how it turned out! =)

designdreamer said...

VERY well done. Looking forward to seeing the back, as I don't understand your explanation of how you did it, and I've encountered this problem more than once myself - sheer outer fabric, and what to do with the zipper.

Bunny said...

You xeroxed this one! Great job! I can see this definitely bringing in the business.

Anonymous said...

You did a wonderful job.