I'm excited to share my new indigo shibori handmade dress! I started working on this little frock before I left for summer vacation and I was so excited to finish it when I returned. Nothing like a few weeks away from the studio to light a fire when I return. (A proverbial fire, of course. Don't worry nothing has completely burned down in my studio as of yet. Knock on wood.) I didn't use a pattern for this dress and I have mixed feelings about that but overall I love the way it turned out.
Mixed feelings because I ended up spending quite a bit of time altering the top to make it more fitted. (Notice the hand-stitched darts and the triangle cut into the straps? These were my creative fixes to a top that was too big). I also made the skirt too small the first time but I couldn't bring myself to rip out all those beautiful French seams so I decided to cut the skirt up the center and add another panel in the front and back.
The hand-stitched details made the top fit perfectly and the skirt panels are less noticeable with the pleats. Win win. But it would have been SO much faster if I'd used a pattern. In time, I hope to have a handful of go-to patterns but also embrace improvisation as a creative guide. Is that possible? I'd like to think so.
There are so many hidden details in this dress. There's a poem tucked into one of the pockets and then there's my horoscope constellation embroidered in French knots on the other. That's right, the tiny French knot configuration is actually the constellation for Capricorn. And then the tag was a tiny project all its own--patchworked together and hand-stitched into place.
I wanted this dress to straddle the line between art project and wearable garment and these details helped push it into the art category in my book. (What do you think? I'm experimenting with this idea of attachment in fashion. That if we are more emotionally attached to our garments we will keep them longer. Makes sense, right?)
I'm realizing how much improvisation plays a part in my artwork. And my sewing work is no different. Some of the dresses I've made in the last year feel more like art projects than fashion designs. And I like this space of the hybrid. I like imagining that some of the dresses are evolving from my art practice and some are more straight-forward sewing techniques--teaching myself to follow various patterns and bettering my sewing skills as I go. Goodness sake, I still have so much to learn about sewing.
If I had to give this dress a name I'd call it Cosmic Blue Bodies. That's right, sky inspired. In looking back on my travel photos from our summer vacation I see how many times the skyscapes played into my viewfinder--blue backgrounds with various white clouds slipping past. The patterns and colors of this dress look like those cloudscapes. And something about the various hidden details makes it come to life. Like these details give it breath and maybe a pulse that it might not have had otherwise.
Forgive my awkward modeling in these photos--I still cringe every time I get in front of the lens. If I could afford to hire a model or find a friend with my exact measurements and work schedule I would happily slip back behind the lens and let somebody else model these garments for you. What a dream! For now, me trying to hide behind the camera while appearing in front. There you have it.
(Hi friends. I hope your summer is smashing! I missed you while I was away.)