Whooo! I finally found a dressmaker! It's been a long and arderous journey, but I'm glad its over (almost). My friend Natalie and I actually searched all over the Boston area for a dressmaker. But each time the cons outweighed the pros. One place only took your measurements and sent them to Vietnam where they actually made the dress. Other places did not give you any wiggle room for customization other than fabric. We did find one place in Boston that allowed for customization, but the reviews for that vendor were horrendous. Natalie's mom also had a not so great meeting with the shop owner so that swayed my decision not to use them.
I didn't think my original design would be all that hard to make if one started with a commercial pattner. So on a whim, I started searching Craigslist for seamstress/dressmaker/fashion students looking for work. At first I didn't find anything. I tried again a few weeks later. I told myself that it would be my last attempt. If I didn't find anything, I'd just save my money and not have a second dress. Well, the moons must have been aligned just right, because I found Barbara of Anchorage Nine. She had just moved her business from San Fransisco to Somerville and was trying to spread the word. After a couple of emails back and forth, I knew she was the one for the job.
Now let me share with you the evolution of my Chinese dress. This first picture is of a traditional cheongsam or qi pao. It's characterized by the high mandarin collar, ankle length, red fabric, and very fitted cut:
|Jason Angelini Photography|
This second photo is what I thought I wanted initially. Keeping the top half traditional, but flaring the skirt out to give me room to breathe and dance:
|via ze|ciia's flicker|
I wanted more of a v-neck opening so that I wasn’t being choked to death (I'm slightly claustrophobic), but we didn’t know how to make it work with the diagonal closure. Barbara and I tried a couple of ideas, but every idea we had turned out all wonky. Then I found this image online (ignore the skirt, it’s hideous):
|modern cheongsam design by e-fu shop|
I fell in love with this next dress a long time ago. I loved it so much that I found out what pattern was used and my friend bought the pattern to make the dress for me. I was thinking that it could either be my rehearsal dress or reception dress. But life happens, she had her second baby and sewing is on her back burner. Anyways, I loved the skirt and thought it was perfect. It is very "me".
Now combine the skirt with the open neckline design, change the collar, and wah-la: my dress!
Barbara took about 18 million measurements (ok, just 18) a couple of weeks ago and will be starting on the muslin. The muslin is the mock up of the dress using a cheap fabric. It should be finished before Christmas.