Some people imagine a design in their head, put it down on paper, and then translate it into a 3-D garment. Voila! My mind doesn't work that way. Except for that one time...
The Shabby Apple dress started with the fabric. Isn't it amazing?
We found it, my mother and I, in the 'fabric district' in Toronto while I was in fashion design school. I snatched it up, made it into a skirt, and threw it in my closet (in a bag of course!). There it stayed for seven years because it didn't fit anymore.
Enter design contest. Exit budget. I'm big into making the most of what I have, so I sorted through my old bins of fabric in search of some inspiration. Right there on the top of a bin was the extra yardage from that old skirt. Oh joy! Some fabric with potential!!!! Not only that, it got me thinking: I have a skirt already designed. Could things get any simpler? The skirt had been made for an elective creative thinking type class, so it had to be - and was - designed out of a single pattern piece (a very Project Runway'esque challenge in the days before Project Runway). It was essentially a rectangle with all of the fullness pulled to the back by pleats. (Sorry, I'd post a pic, but that was way before the digital era!) When I pulled it out with the idea of turning it into a dress, the draped back reminded me of vintage work. I wanted to translate that old school vintage glamour into the top. I worked piping into the midsection in order to add elegance to the top in a tailored sort of way. I also liked the way it echoed the top stitching on the skirt pleats. The rest seemed happy in an ultra simple state, so I didn't add any foof. Here is the original version of the dress (sans sleeves, etc.)
Though it wasn't near finished, I though it was pretty fetching, but something was amiss. After a wee bit of market research, I realized my fabric-heavy dress was not within the target price point. (What a buzz kill, right ?!?!) I needed to edit.
I decided to keep the old skirt for posterity sake, and create a new one. Now, I like a challenge, but let me tell you....that extra yardage was not big. I'm still not sure how a entirely new skirt and sleeves were extracted from a yard of fabric, but I think the whole event was reminiscent of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes. Good thing my weight gaining diet failed!
In the new version, I created the pleat detail without the fullness. It was totally worth it. The lighter dress is exactly that - lighter. More free. And really, you have to touch this fabric to appreciate how sensational it feels. Soooo soft and feminine and luxurious. And believe it or not, it covered a full slip (yeah, sorry, I didn't have time to line the poor thing before the deadline) and a regular old bra with my nursing pads in it! This is a momma friendly dress, my friends...though, I'm sorry to say, I don't think you could nurse in it without some unzipping going on. Maybe I'll make another one with a covered button closure in the front for those of us with children who might never wean. TMI? Sorry. On that note...
Hope you like it! Thanks for reading.