The Petal Dress

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Well, Spring has truly begun in the UK, and as soon as the  trees started to blossom, I was on a mission – it was time for the spring part of our seasonal collection ( following Autumn made with leaves, and the two winters; Polaris  with snowflakes and Desolation with lunaria). The sketch was done  months earlier, and I knew what I was after – a dress made with real petals – the oriental inspired look was added en route somewhere:-)

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 I wanted to use real petals – but ones that wouldn’t wither and die in a day or two. The answer was The Real Petal Confetti Company – I used their petals for my wedding, over 2 years ago, and the left overs are still going strong in my cupboard. The samples were ordered, and once delivered, I experimented with different adhesives to see which ones work best. PVA did the trick….

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 How much to order though? I ordered 13 pints first, and added 6 more later on…. since the dress itself was a simple cheap calico, the price of the petals was the major expense for the project – still,  comparing with historical gowns in silks etc, it came pretty cheap!

The foundation was created in calico –  I adapted my Victorian princess polonaise pattern to create the shape of the top part, and inserted my second zip ever!

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husbands do come in useful… 🙂 pinning the back here…

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mega zip!

 

And then the bottom part was created out of two roughly semi oval pieces…. Think a circle skirt but with a train – so it ends up as an oval… sort of…:-) the two parts of the dress were then stitched together

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 The easy part was done – now for the petals…. the first part of the dress was made during one of my usual Stitch and Bitch sessions with Julia from Sew Curvy.  The available dummy was too slender to fit  my frock, so I roughly padded the thing with spare paper and covered it with clingfilm to prevent the glue from sticking to it.

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smothered in clingfilm….

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and the first petals on!

At the end of the day, I had the top part all covered up….  roughly 7 hours of non stop work…

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the waist was left uncovered – I’d planned a sash there…

 

The following day it was the skirts part – a bit more tricky….

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after another  4 hours….

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 Then the dress was neatly packed into the car for the return trip home…

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 Home – what shall i do with the rest of the evening – well, surprise surprise, more petalling!  It was  mildly addictive – or maybe I was just a bit obsessive? Just… One…. more… petal…..!

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 Well, at that point I  ran out of petals  and time. so more petals were ordered and I had 2 week break to work on commissions etc.

   While waiting for the petals to arrive, I practiced make up and hair do….

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the first attempt….

 

We also sourced the location –  and at that point Paul from Mockford Photography joined the frenzy and suggested Japanese style gardens as an alternative to a cherry orchard ( they seem to be rather scarce near Bedford…). In the end we settled on the Peace Pagoda in Milton Keynes,  and after obtaining the monks permission to  shoot there, we named the day, trying for the day with the best forecast…

Paul was also pinning some interesting images onto our Pinterest board –  and something is telling me that we are going to revisit some of the images in a different attire, allowing for a greater freedom of movement…. so watch the space….

The dress was finished  the day before the shoot – and the glue dried nicely overnight. In the morning we packed our toys and drove to the Pagoda. The weather was nothing as forecast, steady cloud cover, but we did get a glimpse of sun towards the end.

The location was perfect – lovely Zen styled gardens, and an authentic Japanese cherry  tree – in full blossom! both Lucas and Paul took turns shooting and assisting, as both had very distinctive ideas of the resulting images they wanted to achieve. Me, I was just  trying not to get too cold and  to hold on the the eyelashes ( turned out I used rubbish glue….)

 

The video documenting the creation and showcase pictures is here – do have a look!

The results –  first, piccies by Pitcheresque Imagery

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 and some gems from Mockford Photography

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 Paul’s blog with more pictures is here

 and just to finish it , a few behind the scenes shots!

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Paul at work

 

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   So  it is all done – and   just to let you know, the petal are still holing strong a year on…..  though the frock did have a make over in November – have a look what it looks like in a halloween edition!

 Oh, and the summer edition is already  being planned…. expect corn dollies, poppies and cornflowers as inspiration 🙂

The Spirit of Autumn Dress Project

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Autumn Spirit dress

Well, that was something different.  One week I have an idea, next week the outfit is ready….   absolutely loving the  result of the friendly/professional cooperation on this project – it looks like the other seasons will be represented by organic, ephemeral dresses as well.

But – the Autumn. A detailed  article on how to make the outfit will soon appear on the Foundations Revealed website, but in the meantime a few pictures and a bare bones here…

The original sketch

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 A week on, the leaves and other autumnal bits were gathered…

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conkers!!

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naughty Merlin kept dive bombing the leaf pile…

the dress base was made up of cotton  and the fun begins…

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 The leaves are first stapled on ( only the first layer/ and then glued with copious amount of glue…   a few hours later, having run out of glue and the leaves,  the skirt already looked rather splendidImage

Second leaf gathering mission took place on the next day, and at last the skirt was finished. all together it took roughly 350-400 different kind of leaves ( maple, oak, birch, copper beech, chestnut, hawthorn etc) and 4 packets of glue sticks…

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  Leaves preservation – well, since waxing or treating each and single leaf with glycerin was beyond the time scale allocated for this project, I did not preserve the leaves at all – I simply made care I collected freshly  fallen leaves – and keeping the thing outside seemed to do the trick admirably – and almost a week on, the dress is still ok, though a few leaves look a bit tired. the idea is to  do the skirt cheaply and discard it later – however, for a lasting garments artificial leaves can be used.

And since the corset to go with the skirt was to be a lasting creation, that;s what got stitched on it – artificial leaves, vines and beads pretending to be berries:-) then only a few real leaves were added on the day of the shoot. it is now available to purchase in out online shop, btw…. 🙂

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The wig and contact lenses turned up on time, and Lucas even managed to make up some autumnal jewelry too….

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 On the day of the shoot the usual team  turned up just in time for a cuppa and a breakfast muffin – and got to work. Lucas and Paul drove to the location – we decided to shoot in the sample place that inspired me – Harrold Odell Park. And so the boys went over early to look for a fitting spot  and set up the light etc.

Sarah unpacked her goodies and started working on the make up – a very different look for me, but went well with the wig and the contact lenses –  my first time as far as the lenses are concerned, but really liked the effect and will invest with more funky ones in the future…

Then it was time to get the wig on and drive over to the location.  The boys were ready with their gear and special effect ( the ‘mist generators’ )  so i just needed to change and Sarah styled the wig and the crown on …

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all ready!

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and the work started – most of it was getting the light – both artificial and the fleeting sunshine, and the smoke right. so lots of waiting for the sun to appear for a few seconds, upon which the special effect team would get the mist sorted and Paul was shooting.   Lucas took a few photos as well – and the result of the work below….

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Autumn Spirit dress in its glory…

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 and a few ones from Lucas

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 and more piccies here

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  and the job done, team happy, things were packed and we drove back. I liked my look so much i wore it for a bit longer…

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  and the credits –

Photography – Paul from Mockford Photography – fb page:

Make up and wig styling  Sarah Dunn –  Sarahfrom Sarah’s Do Whoop Up does 

 costume: – Prior Attire  the corset is now available on sale at a bargain price – get it here!

 model – me! Izabela Pitcher:-)

 wig from http://www.wonderlandwigs.co.uk