I was chatting to my sister a few weeks ago and she was asked to be an emcee at her friend’s wedding in Bangkok. So the question that followed next was if I could make something for her to wear. She told me to think about it and get back to her. I didn’t have a problem in making her something but the problem was I didn’t know what to make. I thought about a long silk Fortuny dress but she later told me the wedding was going to be outdoors and she would be on the move the whole day.
At times like this I let the materials that I already have, do the designing. While digging around my luggage of fabrics, I saw a ‘lace’ type of fabric I got as a remnant a few years back. And I thought to myself that it has been sitting in the luggage for too long and what better occasion to use it that right now. So using the texture, colour and weight of the fabric as a guidance, I bought this pastel pink silk chiffon to accompany it. But to my horror, when the fabric arrived in the post, the pink was horrendous. It was basically too pink. That will teach me to buy stuff off the internet. Not wanting to waste the material, I decided to dye it in tea to age it a bit.
From the samples above , the original colour is on the right. If I remember correctly, the samples ranged from soaking in a single tea bag bath for 2 minutes, 4 minutes and a double bath (4 minutes + 4 minutes). I like the results of the 4 minutes sample (the third from the left) as it aged the fabric and made it look more sophisticated and vintage.
With the colour sorted out, I decided to make a sleeveless shirt with the lace as the main focus point and the silk chiffon acting as details to the lace.
I have to admit that at this point, the top was done but I wasn’t really sure of what to do with the bottom. Make it simple? Add a peplum? Gathers? However, one thing for sure was that I did not have enough of the chiffon left and I actually need a similar colour fabric to act as a backing/lining. I think luck was on my side that day as I went into John Lewis and saw this amazing silk cupro fabric in a similar colour. And it was reduced as well.
From there onwards, the design just came together and I ended up with floating pleats as the bottom half of the dress.
The whole dress came together quite well. It’s not an amazing dress but for its purpose, it’s one of a kind and will fit my sister very well. And I’m quite happy that I managed to sort out a few technical issues as well such as getting in and out of the dress (the waist is elasticated) and most importantly cutting and sewing silk chiffon.
It’s funny how sometimes materials can ‘speak’ to you. They can tell you if they work well with other materials or if they will drape in a certain way. And by using one material as the focus point and build everything around it, everything else usually falls into place. Although I didn’t have a complete image of the dress to start of with, it slowly came together as I handled and experimented with the materials.
I guess the saying ‘Never try, Never know’ is especially true in this occasion.