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The Maria Dress

Project Lead: Elle Nguyen
Project Assist: Ames Hagon

I picked up this project just after Ames and I started on Ames’ Pearl cosplay (Steven Universe). I was working alongside another fashion enthusiast, Maria of Make Fashion, and she mentioned that she wish she had time to make herself a dress to wear to the upcoming Make Fashion show (April 2017). I took that as an invitation and ask “Can I make you a dress?” and that was how it started.

Maria shared a inspiring Pinterest board with me and mentioned that her preferred color was Sunshine Yellow. She also loves the work of Frida Kahlo. Connecting the dots together, I sketched up a flowy shoulder-to-floor gown, accented with a satin black belt and hand painted floral designs. She gave the thumbs up and the dress making process began.

We also create the first draft on “scrap” cloth. I fitted the draft on Maria, marked the the alterations that need to be made, and altered the original design accordingly.

The funny thing about the whole process was dressing the mannequin between sewing sessions – the 6 foot mannequin has insanely slim, yet super busty measurements and the Maria dress was made for a little 5 foot lady. So parts of the dress were too short for the mannequin, leaving it look like the mannequin was getting party ready for the Calgary Stampede season 😀

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I was the most anxious about hand painting the floral designs on the fabric. This was my first time painting on fabric and I rarely painted anything before – I have more experience painting walls than I do anything artistic. Hand painting the flowers, however, would really pull in Maria’s love for Frida Kahlo’s art – I needed to do this.

I used Jacquard fabric paint for all the artwork on Maria’s yellow chiffon fabric. I only painted with a medium sized pointed round paint brush and played around with different styles to create petals, leaves, and stems. I think I spent about four days figuring out how to place everything, dry and cure the paint, and fix/add more details. I obsessed and obsessed right until show day …

I’m assuming Maria was pretty happy with her dress 😀 She did a few twirls and she did wear it down the runway during the Make Fashion show – all good signs 😀

 

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