The Making of a Dress

Insights into the making of a dress crafting with silk chiffons, crepe de chine and applying couture sewing techniques. What reference book to use to achieve the best results in couture sewing. And, who originated couture pleating? The making of dress by hand pleating bias chiffon Working with a quality chiffon is a good start in hand crafting bias pleats. This technique requires "patiences of an angel" with an awareness of feel in your finger tips. Constructing narrow pleats by delicately folding fabric on to itself, equal width and depth, clean edge, slowly shaping around the bodice pinning in place to hold. Once you start, the process becomes almost meditative as you keep your eye on the marked bias grain. In this attempt in hand pleating, I made a few mistakes. For example, like running out of chiffon and secretly adding more so I could finish the pleated panel. Finally, after being satisfied with the pleated panel and cutting the shape the next step is to wax silk thread to hand sew in between the pleats. This is where your hand sewing skills take centre stage but are hidden in between the pleats. Construction of the dress using couture sewing techniques The dress comprises stylistic and decorative elements using draping, pattern-making and couture sewing techniques. The bodice structure (corselette) includes: boning, three layers of textiles featuring one asymmetric panel of chiffon pleating and the other shaped darts in crepe de chine. The bias skirt made with crepe de chine adding extra wide seams for weight, lined in silk. There were many challenges, one being sewing the skirt side seams and applying the zipper by hand. When constructing the dress, I use many temporary stitches [...]

From Idea to Action: How to start?

What starts the creative process in actually moving from an idea into action? How to start? This is what exactly happened to me over the last 18 months with the - Xeni Cotton Rose Headband. I started reconnecting with my sewing machine with a project called — ‘the face mask’ — well, not really pleased with outcome and feeling disappointed thinking how plain and boring this piece is…… If I was to create what would it be? I played around with the recommended cotton fabric for the mask project cutting different widths of fabric. Remembering ‘How to make a Rose’ from my Couture class at Parson’s. Would the cotton fabric work as a rose? Of Course! I broke all the rules: not cutting on the bias, using cotton fabric instead of silk, cutting on the crossgrain. I like breaking the rules…you never know what will come of it. In the beginning, I had no idea and slowly the design started to take shape into something unexpectedly real. Starting from a feeling of boredom along with stopping and starting because of life and desperately trying to finish this piece. After many long hours of toil, finally the piece is finished. Reflecting, I started to wonder with all the uncertainty in these last months there is certainty in creativity. The process of not knowing, where time stands still, disappointment and excitement all are felt in one moment to the next. And, finally, an extraordinary feeling of accomplishment that encapsulates creativity and beauty. Xeni Cotton Rose Headband Couture Properly named as the name means the ‘protector of plants, flowers’. Featuring a bountiful array of handcrafted cotton roses and rosettes varying sizes from small to large. This piece takes [...]

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