Monday, December 3, 2012

Sally Deconstructed

I made a lot of costumes before I started this blog, so I really have nothing about the processes I went through other than a few pictures I took.  So I've decided that I'd like to revisit some of my pre-blog works and talk a little more in depth about them... 

And I wanted to start with Sally the Ragdoll because I was really pleased with how this one turned out.  

When I approached this costume, I knew immediately that I DIDN'T want to do this.



It's the Sally Sack Dress!!!  If you've ever seen the movie, you'd know that Sally has curves.  



See?  There's a waist and hips and even boobs.  The costume above doesn't flatter at all.  And even when I've seen other Sallys?... Sallies?...  Salllai?... that were hand made, a lot of girls make a straight shift or a straight a-line dress and those don't really flatter their bodies, either.

So... first I needed to find a flattering dress pattern



BAM!  Simplicity 5189.  Look at View D -- the first rendering in the second row.  It's PERFECT.  V-neckline.  Knee length.  Cute flounce sleeves.  And princess seams that will show off a womanly figure and give this dress -- and the wearer -- a shape.

The dress is a 6 panel dress.  1 Center front panel,  2 Side Front panels, 1 center back panel and 2 side back panels.

View B in the bottom right corner would also been good.  You'd just need to shorten the length.

The dress DOES feature a little tie-back thing, that I omitted.  But that's such an easy omission.

Here's where the crazy came in.





Me and Michelle (the wearer and one of the awesomest Sally's ever) spent several hours pinning scraps and remnants of fabric from my stash onto my mannequin -- trying to figure out the best composition.  We wanted to make sure all of the fabrics looked good next to each other... fit into the overall look of the dress... and still managed to keep the dress looking like the reference photos...

P.S.  EVERY SINGLE REFERENCE PICTURE WAS DIFFERENT!!!  Colors, patterns, etc. varied from drawing to drawing and figure to figure. (I relied heavily on figures and statuettes for this project.)

I also sketched out the layout and different sections and, I guess, patchwork, of the dress so I had one solid reference to work from.  I had to take artistic license on some parts. 

So once fabrics were decided, I took several pictures so I'd remember where they all went.  I think I even cut out swatches and glued them to the sketch I drew.

Then I a made the dress as per the pattern from muslin.

Once I had a life size dress to work with, I transferred the patches onto the the muslin.



Looking pretty good, huh?

Well here's where all hell breaks loose. 

I took the dress apart--now each of the 6 panels had the patches drawn on them. So then I had to painstakingly cut each section out of all of the different fabrics for each panel.  

If you look at the pic above you can see that the center front panel is divided into 8 sections -- each of those sections is a different fabric. 

So I had to cut out and sew each section of fabric to make each panel...THEN I could sew the panels together...



Here I have all of the fabric sections pinned together... I did this mostly to make sure it still looked good together and all of the fabrics still worked together.

The other tricky part was when a fabric crossed panels. I had to make sure that the fabrics lined up perfectly so that the two bits of fabric still looked like one.

THE HARDEST PART was the dark blue light blue stripe that wraps around the entire dress--that's all 6 panels.  AND it starts out really wide and narrows to a point as it wraps around from the bottom of the front hem to the back waist.  Oh, AND the stripe was 2 different fabrics that had to be pieced together to look like 1.  It was definitely a challenge.

The rest of it was pretty easy...  just slashing up the bottom hem to look more tattered... And then going in and sewing the giant "stitches" which were done with yarn. 

So, yeah, this was a REALLY cool project. The coolest thing is that I paid nothing to make this dress.  It was all made from fabric in my stash.  If you look closely, there's even a little bit of the fabric I used for Jack on this dress.  

See the final dress HERE.



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