Saturday, May 1, 2010

at last!

this has got to be one of the most involved dress "remodels" I've ever done. I didn't change much structurally, but the superficial work took me months to finish.

here's the original dress: a Maggy London shirtdress, 100% linen, made in Italy, looks to be 1980s vintage. I swapped for this online. It was too big AND too short, but I liked the basic structure of the dress, so I decided to commit to a big makeover.

First, I took in the sides. Then I let out the hem on the bottom. Still too short; I'd have to lengthen it. Then I bleached the dress, hoping to get a pale pink. I wound up with bright bubblegum - not exactly good. So now, I'd need to dye it.

I had always wanted to try shibori, so I did. I shibori stitched it, and dyed it in a rust-coloured-dye that I'd hand mixed. I wasn't terribly careful about mixing the dye powders evenly, nor about turning it quite as often as I probably ought to. However, I like the result, particularly the little speckles of red and navy that punctuate the overall rust colour. I also tossed a wide strip of baby pink linen from my stash into the dye, wadding it up so it would have a kind of uneven, tye-dye wash of colour over it when finished. I added this strip to the bottom of the dress to lengthen it.

However, now that I'd basically tye-dyed this dress, it reminded me a bit too much of my hippie hometown and I needed something a bit crisper.

Inspired by an artist that Kayte featured on her blog, love forever, I decided to take on large masses of random embroidered running stitches. It was late summer by the time I got to this part, and I was thinking about rainstorms in the red rock country in Utah, where my partner and I have gone mountain biking a few times. I chose the grey and blues based on this idea of clouds building out over the fantastic rock formations at Arches National Park. The back is roughly freehand and a bit imperfect, but the narrower bands which run down the front of the dress and wrap around the back (so that the whole dress is basically encompassed in a continuous band of embroidery, at hem and neck in the back) were measured out strictly with a ruler.

And I've been stitching, off and on, since September. Voila! Done - finally! - and totally worth the effort. I am going to sport this with my wide cognac leather belt all spring!


Savvy Psychic said...

Wow. My goodness. Stunning.

Anonymous said...

That is beautiful! Very inspiring.