Sunday, June 20, 2010

Museum Inspired

This knit dress is inspired by one I saw at The Metropolitian of Art Museum's exhibit, "American Woman Fashioning A National Identity" which I saw friday evening with some friends.  The piece that inspired me was in the first segment of the exhibit called, "Heiresses".  It was a pink Worth dress that is just briefly shown in the You Tube video on the museum's site.  The feature that caught my attention on this dress was the feathery flower-like embroidery that was on the skirt and the train.

Coming home friday evening, that piece played over and over in my head.  So much so that I started to run through my fabric collection to see if I had something on hand that might "work" with what I saw.  Then I remembered a knit piece that was two floral panels that I'd purchased from Fabric Mart earlier this year...bought to make something for vacation...but stored away when we decided not to do an island but instead go to Vegas.

This morning while mulling things over I thought it would be interesting to use my TNT dress pattern as the basis of this dress.  I've never used it for a stretchy knit fabric but thought it would be an interesting combination if handled properly.

So here's the finished dress:


Some stats:

Fabric:
2 panels of 60" polyester knit from Fabric Mart
2 yards of tricot beige lining from fabric.com

Notions:
1 - 9" black invisible zipper
stay tape
fusible knit interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply

Cutting Techniques:
The success of this dress is based upon the placement of the design since it's so prominent.  Normally this dress is cut on the fold...but for this instance I used a center front seam believing that it would help me manipulate the design better. 


I also changed the neckline ~ making it a v-neckline instead of the u-neck that the dress usually has.  This was also inspired by my trip uptown to the museum.  I took the bus up Madison Avenue and spent the trip looking at all of the goods displayed in the designer store windows.  There are alot of v-necklines being shown...so this is reflected in the neckline choice for this dress.

The other consideration that needed to be made during the cutting process were the white bands in the fabric separating the panels, I did not want them to interfere with the look of the dress.  So while I incorporated the white band into the front of the dress to carry the design across the front, it was omitted in the back pieces for more of a dramatic & slimming effect.

Construction Techniques:
Since I was working with a knit, I had to determine how I would handle the seams.  I really wanted them to lay flat without bulk so I opted to finish the fabric edges by serging them in their flat state and then stitch the dress together on the sewing machine.

I also opted to put a lining in this dress...well you know how I feel about unlined knit dresses on plus size women so this dress is lined with a tricot lining fabric that I've used in my last two knit dresses.


There is a 9" invisible zipper in this dress.  I wasn't sure how stretchy the dress would be once it was lined and I thought that adding a small zipper to give me a bigger opening for my head wasn't a bad thing! *LOL*  So I used a lightweight knit fusible interfacing cut 1" wide and 1" longer than the zipper (1" wide x 10" long).


This was done to stabilize the zipper opening and made the insertion of the invisible zipper a breeze.


I also added the darts that are in the original dress pattern.  To insure that the darts didn't stretch out, I used stay tape when sewing them down.  This will guarantee that the darts don't grow in any direction and affect the fit of the dress.  It also means that the top of the dress conforms to my body and gives me a great fit.



The last piece that makes this dress a success is the lining.  It was applied to the neckline of the dress and flipped inside.  At one point I thought about applying stay tape to the neckline when sewing the lining and the fashion fabric together.  However, after handling the lining, I decided that adding stay tape would be overkill...the lining would be enough to stabilize it.  I made sure to double stitch the neckline and carefully clip the seamline in that area.

The armholes have the lining and the fashion fabric serged together and  turned under then machine stitched down.  Add a machine stitched hem (that does have a little stitch witchery in it for stability) and the dress is done.



The great thing about this dress is that it can be worn with several of the cardigans in my wardrobe as well as a couple of cute little jackets. 


Next up is the Vogue 9666 dress which I've cut out...but this knit dress got pushed in front of it because I was just so excited to see if I could make the idea work.  I'm thinking it's working just fine!

As an aside, as you are seeing/reading my blog now...this is how it will stay!  I'm loving this new background...I can see the design just fine on my netbook, my iTouch and of course my freestanding home computer.  Plus I've had a few friends test drive the text color and size of the print and all can read it.

...as always, more later!

95 comments:

  1. Love love love this dress! Great placement of the floral design.

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  2. Gorgeous! The fabric is perfect! Great job.

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  3. The dress turned out really well. You must be very happy. Looks great with the white cardigan.

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  4. Oh, yes, it works! What a great use of floral panels.

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  5. Love it! Just gorgeous and so flattering. Looks so comfortable.
    Enjoy wearing it.

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  6. This is my favorite of all your dresses. I just love it, and you look wonderful in it.

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  7. OMG. This is absolutely beautiful. Do tell me when you start to offer classes.

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  8. wow, this is not 'only' a dress,it is a piece of art. i love it!
    barbara

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  9. The new knit dress is a complete WIN! It looks fantastic and so becoming on you. And thanks as always for all the details about how you were able to make the design and the fabric work together to create your vision.

    PS I really like your new redesign of your blog, the dark background is much easier on my eyes, (and shows off your pictures)

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  10. Wow, what a dress! This is really really fabulous! You positioned the pattern just right. The dress is very very becoming.

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  11. What a great result! You look fantastic in this dress. I love the big print and subtle colors.

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  12. the print is placed so strategically I would have never thought you made it, because it looks like something that done after the dress was sewn. Beautiful.

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  13. Love the dress. The way you placed the print is so unique. Just love it.

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  14. That dress is gorgeous, and immensely flattering on you!

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  15. This is a brilliant use of a panel print and the end result is dramatic and flattering. It gives me some inspiration for that crazy panel print I bought in NY. Great tip about stabilising the darts in a knit, I haven't seen that before.

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  16. I love the way you worked the print!

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  17. Wow, totally fantastic dress! That print is gorgeous, and love the way you placed it.

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  18. Great looking dress. Love the use of the fabric.

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  19. Really beautiful and unique!

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  20. Gorgeous. The placement is perfect and I love the v line neckline on you.

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  21. Great dress. Love the cardigan with it.

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  22. that looks gorgeous! Can I ask what pattern you used for it?

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  23. Brilliant. Carolyn, thanks for sharing the process from the first twinkle in your mind's eye to the finished pics. Now I am off to purchase a large supply of tricot to line my future knit dresses. I have been wearing slips and what a PIA.

    Your dress looks just fab-u-lous on its own and even better with a jacket.

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  24. LOOVE the dress - very nice use of the print! And great tips for sewing & stabilizing the knit.

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  25. I'm late as usual, but I have to add my applause to the rest - fantastic use of the print on the piece. As a short round person, I tend to have 'fear of large prints' and don't use them - this is a great way to achieve one forceful vertical!Great dress and great look on you.

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  26. Wow, what a stunning dress! I love the print placement.

    It was fantastic seeing you the other nit. Thank you so much for planning the get-together.

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  27. You look every bit gorgeous in this dress; the vertical structure of the floral design as well as the pointed neckline has a slenderizing and also a lengthening effect. Great choice!

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  28. That is an absolutely stunning dress!

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  29. That dress is great and that fabric is to die for! I agree with you about unlined dresses. But I feel EVERY woman should at least wear a slip under knit dresses. Even some of the thinnest women have lumps and bumps.

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  30. You are brilliant! The dress screams "designer" and looks sensational.

    Barb

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  31. I like!!! So perfect for summer in the city. Supposedly v-necks are the most flattering; it definitely works here. Great job, C!

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  32. Great idea and execution. It looks terrific on you!

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  33. Great fit is right. I'd say it falls in the va-va-voom category. If it were up to me I wouldn't cover it up with a cardy, I'd wear it for date night!

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  34. Awesome Dress!!! love the use of the bold fabric. Also thanks for the info on stablizing darts in knits.

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  35. What a fabulous dress!! A great recovery after the last knit dress disappointment.

    Thanks for the great tip about stabilizing the darts - did you use a straight stay tape or a knit stay tape?

    Lois K

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  36. OMG!!!! Girl, this dress looks fabulous on you!!! Beautiful. I love the placement of the floral pattern nice job as usual.

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  37. This is an absolutely lovely dress.

    mkhughes

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  38. Gorgeous! And extremely flattering. Always a winning combination.

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  39. That is one stunning dress! Great job. Stepping outside your comfort zone isn't so bad, now is it?

    Love the new blog look, too. g

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  40. Girl the dress is so beautiful and i just love the floral on it. Love it love it love it

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  41. This dress is a total winner!!

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  42. I love how such a simple dress can become a spectacular one with some artistic floral design placement! I predict a lot of wear for this one!

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  43. Wow, I am in love with this dress in general and it looks great on you! Very sophisticated.

    So envious you saw that exhibit in person vs online bits. [Jealous West Coaster]

    Do you think we will we be seeing more "inspired by" pieces down the line?

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  44. Oh! I love that fabric!!! I just went to a museum fashion exhibit and I cannot stop thinking about the dresses I saw! I have to go back to take a closer look at the construction of some of them.

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  45. This dress looks fabulous.

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  46. I'm loving this dress. You are so amazing!

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  47. This is by far one of the most interesting and beautiful dresses I've seen made up by you. I love it! A real peace of art!!

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  48. I absolutely *love* this dress, Carolyn! So stylish, so chic, so you! It's utterly fabulous. And thanks for explaining how you pondered the placement. It clearly worked and I'm just getting into playing with big or border print fabrics so it's very helpful.

    Jodi

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  49. You have won an award!
    Come and see: http://missemilyscloset.blogspot.com/2010/06/wow.html

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  50. This dress is awesome!! Really like how you made such a clever use of the floral panels. Looks really nice on you.

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  51. This is the finest thing I've seen you make. It reminds me a Nicola Waite - an Australian designer who specialised in funky clothing for larger women.

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  52. Your inspiration led to such a lovely dress! You look great in this number!!!

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  53. What a lovely use of this fabric- so unique and beautiful on you!

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  54. Beautiful, you are such a great inspiration. Keep it coming, this looks wonderful on you!

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  55. That, is a really really great looking dress! It's so visually interesting!

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  56. Wow, I LOVE THIS DRESS!

    And it looks gorgeous on you.

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  57. Love this dress! It's beautiful!

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  58. All I can say is LOVE IT! What a great design--great for vacation and work!

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  59. Absolutely love this dress on you, Caroline. It is VERY flattering and you are just glowing in it. I'd say your trip to the museum was quite Worth while. ;)

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  60. Great new dress, fantastic fabric.

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  61. Wow, a fantastic dress, very stunning!

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  62. Absolutely, totally stunning dress!!!

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  63. The V Neck looks smashing on you - very summery and pretty.

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  64. Awesome!!!! The dress is beautiful, you are pretty, and you look dynamite in this number!!!!

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  65. Museum worthy! BTW - were you wearing an orange and brownish print dress? I was also at the museum on Friday and saw a woman in the lobby and thought "Gosh, she looks like the Sewing Fanatic". Small world.

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  66. Hi there. I have left you a gift on my blog. What to know what it is? Hop on over and check it out.

    Happy Summer!

    Donna

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  67. Your dress is fantastic! I like the vertical column effect you created with the print, and the fit is just superb.

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  68. Okay, I see that there are already 79 comments on this garment, and I'm probably being redundant . . . but I just super-love this dress on you! What a bold idea, to use this print in such a manner! It paid off very well, as it looks terrific and very flattering!

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  69. Not to creep your style or anything...but that dress has my name written ALL OVER IT! That is absolutely gorgeous. It looks amazing as a stand alone or with your cardigan. I'm JEALOUS - for sure!

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  70. That is *beautiful*, Carolyn! I love the way you used the print.
    ~Sarah B

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  71. Totally love that dress! You made the best possible use of that print. The printed and solid halves are so drama, but somehow still classy and understated.

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  72. What amazing fabric!! You look great in this.

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  73. Stunning!!!! It's a work of Art!

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  74. Thump! That was me hitting the floor in a dead faint over this great=looking dress, Carolyn. Will you make one for me???

    Your friend forever especially if the dress arrives in the mail soon,

    Kathryn

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  75. Wonderful dress! I *still* say you should do more V-necks with your TNT pattern. I always come back to you when I want a great example of someone who uses a basic pattern, and switches it around endlessly.

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  76. It's really beautiful. Great inspiration!

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  77. Oh wow, Oh wow, Oh wow! Can you tell I love this dress? Fabulous job Carolyn.

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  78. Awesome! I love what you did with your fabric.

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  79. The print on the dress is so classic and looks fabulous on you. What a great dress.

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  80. It is gorgeous - very flattering and wonderful use of the fabric design. Wish I could have you on hand to guide me through all the things I wish to sew.

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  81. I know I am very late commenting on this - your museum dress. I found it as a link at the bottom of one of your posts and I HAD to comment.

    This is the most amazing, stunning, gorgeous, beautiful, sensational - did I say stunning?? dress.

    It is a true inspiration - thank you for creating it.

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  82. This dress is totally fantastic!!!

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