Wednesday, March 18, 2009

66Sick Sewing Circle!: DIY Alexander McQueen

Six Six Sick dress, worn with YSL platform shoes, Iosselliani ring, and E.M. Noir earcuff.


I absolutely hate handsewing. I find it medieval, as in: slow, intensive, boring, etc, the kind of stuff 19th century husbands forced their wives to do in order to keep them bound in domestic servitude (then again, I feel the same way about cooking and house cleaning). The prospect of making this dress filled me with no small amount of dread. Christina and I had seen a beautiful Alexander McQueen dress at the Gothic Dark Glamour exhibition at F.I.T. a few months ago, half sheer nude, and half covered in bright red rectangles of acrylic sequins. As usual, Christina pointed and said "we could totally make that" (an impolite phrase that has oft been repeated in stores, at museums, and during other people's runway shows), and while I agreed, I secretly hoped that she would forget about this massive handsewing project. Nonetheless, during fashion week, she brought the idea up again, and soon we each found ourselves in our respective homes, handsewing our homemade paillettes, while bitching to each other nonstop over the phone in a modern day sewing circle.  Yes, we started this project before fashion week, and we just got it (mostly) finished yesterday night.  It is THAT time consuming, not to mention a masssssive pain in the ass.  In the end, I think we were all pretty pleased with the results, even though each of our dresses ended up looking different (we ran out of paillettes and had to improvise our designs accordingly), and we ended up wearing them out last night to 66Sick.  Here's how we did it. 

1. Christina made the base dress out of black and nude jersey.  Here she is "making the pattern" which usually is 95% improvised as she sews.  It's basically a one armed black dress with a nude panel inset.  If you don't feel like your sewing skills are up to par, you can always buy a cheap jersey dress to use as the base.

2. To make the paillettes, we bought several yards of black see-through vinyl, and black coated cotton, which we cut up into large irregularly sized rectangles.

3. We hand sewed the paillettes in rows, mixing up the vinyl and the coated cotton pieces, trying to make them overlap and cluster, so that they would appear as dense as possible.  The vinyl pieces really stick together, so we had to make sure that they didn't touch.

I started with the back of the dress, and then did the front of the dress. Christina designed her dress differently, with paillettes running up the bottom back of her dress, so that it created a sweetheart back, and up the front in a type of halter.  I don't have any pictures of her version right now, but hopefully they'll appear shortly!

4. I finished my dress by sewing the paillettes to the sleeve portion, which is the most difficult portion to hand sew since it's so narrow and difficult to get into.  The original sleeve was full length, but since I also ran out of paillettes, I had to improvise, and ended up cutting it and making it a half-sleeve.  I actually really like the way it looks.

*EDIT*: Here's a picture of the original Alexander McQueen dress that was up at the Gothic Dark Glamour Exhibition at F.I.T.  As you can see, we altered the design of the dress quite a bit, eliminating the whole feathered skirt bit, and changing the color.
-Tiffany

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25 comments:

Alicia/InstantVintage said...

You guys are amazing at this. Really.

The dress came out beautifully

Behind the Seams said...

thats too cool

grace said...

its awesome!! so creative, and im glad to hear you improvise-sew as well. it's the only way to remain sane! patterns can be so complicated. though many-a-diy has been ruined at the hands of my singer and me.

keep it up!!!

grace

Queen Michelle said...

Ah this is stunning! Make me one! (only kidding!)

Diane said...

that dress is adorable! love it!!!

sarah said...

Awesome! I envy your patience...

the DOPENESS said...

I briefly saw one of you (Nicolette perhaps?) last night at 66Sick and was curious about what she had on as I only caught a glimpse of the paillettes her dress peeking out from her coat. I admire your patience. Handsewing sucks!

xJessica

May Kasahara said...

no shit!!!!!

that's awesome - and probably why I fell in love with them! They have one in nude/taupe this season that I also fell in love with - can one have too many bubble necklaces?

such an awesome coincidence

and that DRESS. no words. you guys always amaze.

Juliet said...

O M G
this is amazing!!! your a legend!!!
keep it up

www.herinfluences.blogspot.com

Laura. said...

wow a lot of work went into this. But at least it paid off!

Really creative

http://aforteforfashion.blogspot.com

whisky said...

Восхитительное платье!!!!Хочу такое!!!!

Kit said...

love it...the dress is very punk-glamour. I make clothes myself...handsewing is a pain in the a**.

The Fashion Assistant

M. said...

I really love the dress you made, amazing!

But most of all I love seeing someone actually managing put so much time into a hand sewing project.

I'd love to do so myself but just can't seem to ever fit it into my schedual(always making up excuses for it).

Anyway, I wanted to say that I very recently dicovered your blog, and I think it's amazing! The photos you did backstage on the Doo.ri show are so beautiful, and I hope it's OK that I borrowed them for my blog(linking it back to you of course)?

xx

me melodia said...

well executed!

Kit said...

Hey Tiff, you're tagged: http://www.thefashionassistant.com/kit/2009/03/tagged-my-blog-spot.html


The Fashion Assistant

Alicia/InstantVintage said...

And I didn't stop by because I suck at planning and didn't realize until the last day I was there that you guys were there, too.

Dunce move, I know.

I'll be by next time, i swear!

laia. said...

I really like this. That tan panel makes it so so cool.

Dr. Debonaire said...

this looks so cool! you guys are so creative!

Daisy said...

Oh my gosh, amazing!
What a wondrous blog!!
Would you be so kind as to trade links?

http://prettygreentea.blogspot.com/

daisy

Kristin said...

This dress is fantastic, truly. Do you have a picture of the McQueen dress?

Rachie-Pie said...

LOVE IT!!! nice spot of DIY and your black nude version is much more wearable!

Hot Bot said...

Holy shit.
I need to learn how to sew. Anything!

I think I like your DIY better. Blasphemy! [Did I spell that right?]

emma said...

wow that dress is insane! so cool

Outi said...

Fabulous!!! It looks amazing.

WendyB said...

Fantastic job. I'm awed.