When I was in high school and middle school, I sometimes thought to myself that I was born in the wrong generation. I would sit on the floor of my local library and read the fashion history books, drooling over the cuts and shapes of fashion in the 40s, 50s, 60s, and 70s. When I checked out CDs, somehow I always ended up with those "Top 10 Billboard Hits" of the same eras. As I've gotten a bit older, I've grown very thankful that fate plopped me down in 1988 as opposed to those other times so that I could live through this crazy decade. Do you ever stop to think that it's kind of incredible that, because of the web, there is this diverse splintering of music genres, culture, and fashion? It is totally acceptable for me to wear a polka-dotted 50s-inspired a-line skirt one day and then wear leather leggings and a fringed top the next. We have the freedom to mix floral bellbottoms straight out of the 1970s with a 1940s-looking button-down blouse and no one will think, "Wow, that girl's style looks so outdated." We can pick and choose, mix and match from generation to generation and it's completely A-OK.
But if I had one beef with this decade of fashion, it would have to be that there are very few occasions where it is appropriate to get all dolled up in a long evening gown and sweep into a room. I'm sure some people are appreciative of society's increasing informality, but I just wish there were more opportunities to wear those darn ball gowns. (And this indignant feeling might have something to do with the fact that I just watched "The Last Emperor" about Valentino's dresses... those pieces are handmade works of sewing art. *swoon)
A few summers ago I was really into scouring haute couture fashion blogs for dress inspiration... and then figuring out a way to make the pieces myself. I would spend hours upon hours working on one dress and I'd finish it-- but then have no place to wear it. While I've moved towards making more practical fashion pieces, those fancy dresses will always have a soft spot in my heart. :) This dress, inspired by Fendi's SS/09 is one of my creations from that summer. (The flower t-shirt dress is another.)
How to Make the Fendi-Inspired Flower Dress:
-A dress-- preferably with a zipper
-3 types of fabric for the flowers: a base fabric like cotton or muslin, a stretchy jersey knit-like fabric, and a billowy sheer fabric
-Fabric glue (I use Aleene's)
1.First you need a base dress on which to sew the flowers. You can either get a plain dress at a thrift store or one you have lying around, or you could make a dress from a vintage pattern.
It is a very good idea to make sure the dress has a zipper.
2.Next you need to make the base layer for the flowers. You can choose any color you like, I chose white because it was more summery and similar to the original Fendi dress.
I took squares and little rectangles of muslin and then folded them in and ironed the folds until they resembled circle-like polygons.
Tip: you can use fabric glue to glue down some of the folds if you'd like-- I did on a few and it was very helpful. Also, you can iron multiple layers at a time and it still works.
3.Next you cut out little circles of lightweight fabric and add one layer of that colored fabric on top of your base. Then you need to cut strips of fabric to make the first swirl of fabric. (Jersey knit and other stretchy fabrics work well for this.) With the strips of fabric, you sew little swirls around the base layer and the color layer. This helps things stay in place when you pin the flowers onto the base dress.
Tip: Iron the flowers flat after you are done sewing on swirls. I felt like this helped.
4.Now you need to cut more strips of a more billowy fabric-- I used a sheer fabric. When you cut out these strips, make sure you cut along the bias so that the fabric doesn't shed too much. I think it looks kind of nice when it sheds a little bit, it makes it look more like a flower.
Next you need to pin all of your flowers to the dress. This felt a bit like putting together a puzzle to me, you just need to make sure that there aren't any wide-open spaces.
Then take the sheer fabric strips and sew them over the first swirl making another swirl. This makes the flower look more complicated and locks the flower to the dress. You can cover the entire dress or just do a few spots like the original Fendi dress.
5.Once you've sewn all of the flowers to the dress, you can take some fabric glue and glue down any rogue edges. (You can also hand-stitch these down if you want.)
And you've got it! Here's to hoping I find somewhere to wear this dress. :)