Custom Katastrophic Silk Chiffon Gown

I just finished an unusual project for myself- designing and sewing a formal gown for a client!  It's such a change from my normal design work of knitwear for every day, but it's interesting and exciting to get to use really rich and beautiful materials, like the silk chiffon and silk velvet I used in this project!  

Here are my sketches for the idea of the dress which I created after meeting with my client and looking at some pictures together of what she liked.  I first wanted to make sure I was a good fit for her as a designer.  Luckily I really liked her inspiration pics and it was easy for us to come up with something we both could get excited about.  You can see some variations, some of which I'd like to start as a jumping off point for other custom dresses:

I really love drawing and it's one of my strong points, so naturally in my design process I rely a lot on my drawings, which is where I make most of the design decisions.  This time since I haven't ever worked with this kind of fabric before I wasn't sure how the design would translate to the finish piece, so it was a bit of an experiment.


DIY Dress Form Part 1: Building the Mold

 This is the SECOND installment of my Ultimate DIY Dress Form Tutorial!  Click here for the Intro post.

BEFORE building your mold, there are several things you have to consider:

* You are going to have to stand very still with excellent
    posture without moving for at least an hour.

* The mold is going to be very fragile.

* If you move or shift, your mold is not going to be accurate.

* You might want to protect your skin if it is particularly

* And lastly and VERY importantly, you CAN'T do this part alone!!!  All the other parts you can do pretty much by yourself, but you can't wrap yourself in plaster bandages and then cut yourself out by yourself!  You need at least one friend to wrap the bandages on you and then cut you out.

* Also, keep in mind that you are going to be basically naked except for a ratty old pair of undies that you are ok with ruining, so you better do this project with someone where there is mutual comfort with seeing most of your bare naked body, and in fact getting very hands on with said body.  In a 100% business way, of course.

p.s. I hope you like this ridiculous picture of me (left) and my friend Rachel (right) who is always adventurous and hilarious, which is pretty much the perfect thing for a project involving getting almost naked and then having to literally stand around like that for a couple hours.

For this stage, you will need:


DIY Dress Form Intro: The Ultimate DIY Dress Form Tutorial Overview

Interested in learning to make your own professional quality custom dress form for around $100?
This is PART 1 of my Ultimate DIY Dress Form Tutorial where I show you how to make a professional and functional personalized form that looks like this: 

Finished Dress Form!  (It's almost too realistic... )

We will be using these materials:
             *medical plaster wraps, 
             *construction foam, and
             *PVC pipes 
             *Quilt padding
             *4 way stretch knit fabric

     I took on this project last year when I decided as a designer I was way overdue for owning a functional dress form.  However, I just didn't have the budget to spend the $300-$600 it would cost to get a decent and professional form.  (I don't care what anyone says... those adjustable forms you can get at the craft store are a joke, if you know anything about draping.)  I had made a DIY dress form several years ago with my bestie, Megan Winn of The Binding Bee, but it was never very functional and I left it in Indiana when I moved to Austin to pursue fashion design.  I decided it was time to try again and do a better job.