The Gaudí Dress

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screenshotIt is my best friend and favourite wordsmith’s birthday today; Sara modelled her birthday dress this weekend on a mini-adventure to the park to take over the see-saw from toddlers. Sara is the real deal–she gets paid to write. Livin’ the dream, she is. She also has excellent taste in hats, making her the perfect model: Colour photo of a young woman leaning against a column on the porch of an old stately home; she wears a hat and a dress. The pattern for the dress was actually very simple; I drafted a regular old bodice, made the darts into seams, and extended the armholes into fluttery sleeves. I didn’t need a pattern for the skirt–it’s just a single rectangle gathered at the top with one seam at the back. I could have put in a hidden side zipper, but I kind of like the look of a back zipper, and I find there’s more wiggle room for adjusting the size. Not that it needed adjustment–by some miracle I managed to turn Sara’s measurements into a dress that fits! I can barely do that with dresses for me. I either used up all my luck, or I have improved my accuracy in regards to seam allowances. Sara has a sophisticated, pretty, and polished sense of style. I tried a new way of getting feedback on a “commission” (well, it’s pretty obvious, I just hadn’t done it before)–I drew a couple of dresses and asked her which design features she liked best. Colour photograph of a young woman in a hat and dress standing in a park.Our friend Katy pointed out that the cool mosaic pattern on the fabric looked a lot like the mosaic of noted Spanish artist Antoni Gaudí’s salamander statue. I had never heard of Gaudí, but a quick Google search brought up a number of his architectural works that I am familiar with–I just never knew the artist behind the works!

Salamander in Parc Güell, Barcelona by Antoni Gaudí. Image credit: Baikonur.

There was a big textile sale going on when I bought the fabric for this dress. If I’m going for a walk I usually just head down to Queen Street because it’s artsy-fartsy there and all the stores value pretty window displays. I go for a lot of walks, so I’m roaming about Toronto’s “Fabric District” a lot; if there’s a sale I take a peek. I’ve found that most of the stores are pretty consistent with their pricing, so keeping an eye on the fabric and waiting for a sale is the only way to really get a deal.

Colour photograph of a young woman in a dress on a children's see-saw in a park.

We claimed the see-saw when it was toddler-free.

Time to complete: four or five movies
Pattern: original design
Fabric: printed chiffon from Affordable Textiles on Queen St. in Toronto
New skill: working with chiffon
Hidden stuff: I attached a solid-coloured blue underskirt because the overskirt is very sheer (shocking! scandalous!)

Thank you, Sara, for modelling! Haaaaaaaappy birthday!

You can keep up with Sara on Twitter @sallytates.

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