Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Dress design for Shabby Apple dresses.

Dress design for Shabby Apple dresses.

Shabby Apple is having a dress design contest, so I thought I'd try my hand at some sketching. I used the free download from Fashionary for my figures, and now I'm feeling tempted to buy a Fashionary notebook!

This is my "final draft" and the most accurate portrayal of what I imagined.
Click on the images for a larger view!
Here you can see the progression of my design, from the first sketch (which is horrible! so don't look too closely), to the pencil drawing, to the four color versions. Notice my upside-down darts? I can never remember which way they go!
I see the last dress as the final version. Putting the length just to the knee gives this timeless style more of an updated look, while maintaining modesty. The skirt on the blue dress (notice the Betty Draper hair?) is just a bit too long, I think. I included all the drawings not only for your entertainment, but to show the different color options.

So let me tell you about my dress, and my inspiration for it. The dress is simple, a boat-neck, gathered skirt to the knee, elbow-length sleeves, and pretty bow. I wanted to design something timeless, yet definitely inspired by the classic style of the late 1950s and early 1960s; in short, the sort of dress you always look for when thrift shopping.

I can't get enough of stripes lately. I chose vertical stripes for most of the dress (because everyone knows they are the most flattering) with horizontal stripes on the sash for contrast. This sash is detachable, and can be worn with the bow in the front, either centered or off to one side, or in the back, or not at all! The sash is also pre-tied in a pretty bow with a clasp to fasten it on.

I see this dress as being offered in multiple colors, each bright and playful like the yellow, pink, light green, and blue pictured. I can see the wearer of this dress enjoying cotton candy at the state fair, or spending a day at the park on a cool spring day. Like the color, the fabric of the dress should be light, perhaps a cotton blend (for stretch and comfort), and while I originally imagined a wider stripe, I can see this in a pastel seersucker as well. A fancy version could be in raw silk or taffeta.

I took a lot of inspiration from the much-admired TV icon Betty Draper. I'm sure you've all seen a few posts about the fashion inspiration this Mad Men housewife invokes, but it is simply because she is amazingly well dressed. Betty often wears full skirts and bold prints. I sometimes get a vibe of innocence by some of her outfits in cut and color, which I definitely wanted to channel in this dress. Here are some pictures of what I'm talking about:


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There was a specific dress in season one that I either cannot find pictures of or am not remembering correctly, but it was pink and white striped, and fantastic. That was the starting point for me, and my design went on from there.

Part of the whimsicality of this dress can also be attributed to the show Pushing Daisies, where the once-dead Charlotte Charles always dresses in vivid colors and vintage-inspired outfits.


So that's my story! If my design makes it to the final 15, I'll make sure to remind you all to go and vote! Then we can all buy this dress next spring and be matchers.

Now what should it be called? Is it against the rules to call it Betty?

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