African Dress

I have not posted for awhile because of how busy things have been lately, but I have managed to get a holiday as well as finish this lovely dress for someone special. I finished this last 22nd July and she wore it a wedding on the 29th.  The photo above shows the top with a matching fish-tail silhouette skirt. The fabric is cotton  in African print. The neck detail is made of  these scallop shapes in alternating colour. The sleeve has ‘trapezoidal’ insets at the back (in two differing sizes for some dimensionality), that creates a bit of drama when the arm moves. This particular lady loves dancing, so this was an added touch to create a ‘moment’ for the dress. I haven’t designed and made a dress for awhile, so the project was exhilarating. Frock-making can be quite therapeutic for those of us who find a weird kind of solace in this kind of activity. I can’t explain it eloquently, but it does have that effect on me.
Detail of the scallops on the neckline, as well as the tailored sleeve.
The top in full, with the hem ending just above the hip line. I had to pay close attention to the print and laid my pattern pieces with this in mind. Prints can be tricky. The frock can look tacky if the ‘story’ of the print isn’t preserved on the final cut. It all has to flow somehow and have some symmetry or story about it.
This is the fish-tail silhouette of the skirt, which starts just at knee level. I made sure this had enough ‘give’ for walking and dancing, of course, but still with enough daintiness and drama. I love this silhouette on a woman, not because its deliberately limiting or has any connotation of weakness. It just has that feminine whimsy about it that is becoming quite rare nowadays. It is not everyone’s cup of tea. But for this woman, femininity is still absolutely alive. When worn with dangerously vertiginous heels, I think this outfit harks back to those geisha days. Perfect for any wedding day. The special lady has given me some feedback today and she says she simply felt so special wearing it. She reports that it fitted her like a glove and she had a whale of a time at the wedding. Now that, to any frock-maker, is just highly satisfying. It makes me smile with pride.

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