Austin is a good art friend of mine who invited me to his school's prom. From the very beginning Austin and I had a specific image in our mind of what we wanted to create for our outfits. The theme of the prom was Great Gatsby so we both knew from the start that we wanted to take inspiration from that era. Every item that we're wearing was carefully added to coordinate with the other's outfit. My navy blue gown went with his navy blue velvet, smoking jacket. His gold tie clip and cuffs matched the gold specks in the fabric of my gown. The angles of my seam placements matched the angles of the design in his cuff links and tie clip. Each piece was created to fit together in order to create a whole image and story.
^photo credit: Austin
^He spray painted his laces gold to go with my dress.
The dress construction:
I have answered this question at least 150 times ever since I first started sewing "are you going to make your own prom dress?" The answer was always pretty much self explanatory if you knew how many hours of the day I spend in my room sewing.
The dress was completely hand drafted. Over 23 separate pattern pieces were drafted for this dress. It felt so much like a jig saw puzzle while drafting and measuring everything out. I used two different kinds of chiffon for the overlay. One was a plain, navy chiffon, and the other was a navy chiffon with small, gold dotted, grid lines which I used in the detailing of the dress. If you've ever worked with chiffon before you'll know that it's not the most user friendly of all the fabrics. I had to be very thoughtful of the grainline, otherwise the pattern would distort itself when it was moved to the sewing machine and the fit would be off.
The dress was sewn using all french seams to keep the overlay from unraveling and completely falling apart. Also I've found french seams to look sleeker when working with see-through fabric. The seam placements are actually details of the dress itself. Everything was cut out to create a triangle shape. The skirt seams were placed to create a triangle effect going down towards the skirt; this is also echoed in pleated seam around the v-shaped neckline in the front and back.
There are a total of 5 godets in the front, side and back using the gold speckled fabric so when I walked the gold would pop, but only very subtly. There's a slight train in the back godet of the dress, but nothing too long. I wanted to be sure that I could still dance without getting stepped on all night.
The lining is a completely separate dress made from bright cobalt satin fabric. At first I was going to use navy for the lining, but when I held the under the overlay, the detail of the french seams were lost. With the cobalt it was still blue enough to look navy, but at the same time show off the detail of the seams.
I was working on the dress far into the early morning (4am) of the day of the prom. I finished sewing the last detail of my dress literally 30 minutes before I left to get ready with the other girls. Overall I'd say around 90 hours went into the construction of this dress.
Instagram photo while working on the skirt seams.
I went to the prom with not only an awesome friend, but also an incredible artist! Austin has a knack for details and the ability to think from every side of a project; that's a wonderful aesthetic for an artist. He is a Junior in high school right now and hopes to attend an art school to pursue his passion for design. Keep a look out for his work in a few years, because he has the talent and dedication to pursue his dream and make it big time. Here are just a couple of his design works from this year:
Overall this felt more like an art collaboration project than a dance, but I think that's what made it so much fun. It got me really excited for college, because I know I'll have so many more collaborative projects with talented students in my field of study.
I hope you'll all having a wonderful start of the weekend!