Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Susan's Plum,Tangerines, and Cherries

I can't wait for you to see the rest of this gown, because many of you might wonder about a combination of plum and tangerine and cerise, but there is a really good reason, and a nice cohesion to this rich, warm gown!

So, here is the explanation!  This tropical floral print was brought in by Susan, and it was a great starting point, providing the vibrant and unusual color palette for her new ball gown.  Susan trained as a ballet dancer and came to ballroom later in her career.  From watching her dance just a bit here in my studio in testing her costume, I image she is a beautiful, joyous, powerhouse on the competition floor.   This bold print and it's vibrant colorway seem just perfect for her.

When she arrived for her design meeting, Susan had this piece of fabric and a dark purple piece she thought might be an underskirt that would be visible from beneath the floral print.  I asked her to take the purple piece home.  I really enjoy working with prints, but experience tells me that a busy print requires careful design handling to be successful.  When the entire gown will not be the print, the colors used in conjunction need to be from the middle value range in the print.  Either end of that range (in this case, the white or the purple) is too much contrast, and the print and strong contrasting colors war with each other for focus.   This gown has several textures and details, but they all flow together to create an interesting whole, primarily because of the value choices.  I also find that it possible to use shapes with prints, but they must be similar in feeling, and since this print is very organic, a straight purple line at the hem would have been a clash in intention.  The diagonals, and flowing, color-shifting drape we used, have the same shapes as those in the print, and the dynamics compliment each other nicely.

Susan seems the sort to be a good performer as well, so we created a primary impact point at her face with the jewelry design, using the pale pinks in the Crystal AB Swarovski to exploit the power of contrast as a focusing tool.  I also image her port-de-bras is excellent, and the cuff bracelet will draw attention to beautiful arm use.

We also carefully kept the cutting of the fabric to a minimum with the design of the skirt shape, to allow it to be seen without interruption of line by seams any more than necessary.

Thank you Susan!  I really enjoyed making this gown and working with your beautiful print, and I love the great action shots Helen sent to me.  You really are a glorious dancer!


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Terese's Hot Pink Fringe

Therese saw a fringy gown on Dancing With The Stars that she thought she might look good on her body, and visited my studio with a photo.  She had a very specific budget in mind and a wanted a vibrant, fun color, a hot pink.  

Sadly, there is very little vibrantly pink glass in the world, and I could find none of it made up into beaded fringe for purchase .  I did find a few 2" bead droppers in a somewhat bright pink, but attaching individual fringes in the density required did not fit the budget.  Also, the fringe length required was a minimum of 4" and preferably a range from 6" to 12".  Available funding also eliminated the possibility of stringing an entirely beaded fringe gown, so we decided to use rayon fringe, in beautiful, bright Electric Pink. 

One great thing about rayon fringe is that the length can be trimmed to suit the need, so it was possible to give this gown a sort of haircut to achieve nicely flowing and organicaly proportioned lines.  Applying the fringe in diagonals also helped the movement and stretch capabilites of the gown.

Therese is in excellent shape, and chose to leave her arms bare, so we connected her wrists to her body visually with lovely pave cuffs and gave her long earrings to decorate her neck without conflict with the neckline of the gown.

The color suits Therese's personality.  I have a number of clients well past retirement age, and all of them are vibrant individuals, with warm and joyful energy.  I really enjoy the idea that finding things to do that one can be passionate about lengthens and enriches lives, and Therese is living proof of that idea.

The very best thing about this gown is the movement of the fringe and I hope Therese will provide me with an action shot.  OR, maybe, with my fancy-schmancy new camera and improving photo skills, I can take one of my own at the next local event Therese attends.

Oh, and a final word, Therese's gown came in more than 20% under her budget limit, which is always news I love to give.  That doesn't happen often, but we do our best to be respectful of each clients cost requirements, and to hand over a final invoice that reflects the estimated cost.  She was pleased, and... she brought a lovely bouquet of bright red carnations.  SO SWEET!  Thank you.  :o)

Monday, October 22, 2012

A Bouquet of Roses for Tracy

This gown was actually begun in 2011, when our client Tracy was headed for the Ohio Star Ball.  Unfortunately, life intervened, and Tracy put the gown on hold for several months while finding a new job.  When she phoned to let us know we could begin again, we were thrilled, both for Tracy, and because this was a gown we were excited to make!

Tracy is a super-organized woman, and when she brings me her inspiration images, they are always in page protectors and  she usually has clear ideas about what she wants.  See???

When I look a this array, I see, shades of pink, floral imagery, and prints, but my eye keeps returning to the upper left image of the cut-metal bowl.  I loved how the graphic repeated and how it referenced "rose" without being specifically detailed.  I also really liked the visual importance of the negative space in recognizing the image.  Tracy is is feminine woman, and although she liked the floral imagery, she did not want silk flowers or anything three-dimensional, or even a print.  She was also interested in clean lines, simple shapes and lots of sparkle  I think there was also a buckled leather cuff with chain that she brought in.  So all these ideas poured into the creative hopper, and out came rhinestoned belts and buckles and a figure-ground reversal floral pattern imagery, to be created in rhinestones on the gown bodice.

I experimented with the graphic in the bowl, but didn't like how it expanded and contracted, so I found another using Google images from Sweet Clip Art that I thought was perfect.  I got permission from the artist who created it, who was very charming and wanted to see what I did with her image when I was finished.

I  blew it up.  I contracted it.  And then I designed vines to go with it, and a rose bud.  The darn bud reminded me of the Hallmark logo a bit, but I found, turned sideways, it was less offensive and so used it careful only on angles.

I find the back very pleasing with it's pretty drape to balance the gentleman's hand on the dancer's left side and provide a bit of softness and movement.  I also like the placement of buckles, two at the front opposite sides, and the one center back.

We also had lots of fun creating the bangle bracelets for this gown, using many different patterns and ideas.

I'm pleased with the end result and I hope Tracy will be too.  She wore it at Minnesota Madness last weekend and I was thrilled to see it (and Tracy!) in action.  It's sophisticated and beautiful, as is she!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Kate: Shaken, Not Stirred

Sometimes, the jewelry is almost the most important part of the costume!
Kate wanted a elegant and sexy look for her new Rhythm gown.  Something that one of James Bond's consorts might have worn.  Something with a lot of class and a little flirt.  Something a little dangerous!  She had a skirt shape in mind when she arrived.
A soft, sheer but satiny skirt with lots of movement.  And enough sparkle power to dazzle a guy like James.
And maybe a few bracelets?  Just for good measure?
Shoeless, makeup-free, and without the usual quarts of hair product, when she picked up her gown... she looked GREAT!  What a beautiful back!!!
And in action...  WOW!
I think Gordon even has "Bond Hair!"  It's always a pleasure, Kate.
Visit Kate at her own wonderful blog, Riot and Frolic!


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Perfect Pink for Zhuojing

We are really pleased with the beautiful photos that Zhuojing's daughter Jessica took and will let them do most of the speaking in this post. I was sad to be out of town for Twin Cities Open, when the gown debuted, and so very happy to have a chance to see how it looked and moved.

Briefly, with respect to design, Zhuojing is not a large dancer, so visibility on the floor is always one of the most important considerations for her gowns.  She knew she wanted the gown shaped similarly to her recent Rhythm gown.  She wanted to look feminine, grown-up, and beautiful, and she wanted a pink gown.  But... WHICH pink?  Not anything pastel, which would not be sufficiently sophisticated and "grown-up."  Not too hot a pink and not too neon. Subtle, but bright pink, to keep her small body visible.  We looked a a multitude of pinks, and finally decided on one called "Electric Pink."  The coolness in the pink calmed the look.  It was bright and super visible, but still had the potential for elegance. 

Then we chose details that helped support elegant and feminine.  Satin.  Flower imagery. And LOTS of sparkle.
One of my favorite things about working with rhinestones is the fact that something simple can become something amazing.  Take for example, this pretty embroidered floral applique motif.  It's a nice shape and has an interesting edge.  The use of the light and dark implies that the petals are open wide, and the edges are curling back away from our eye and the light.  But the color is pretty subdued, and a little muddy for our vibrantly electric pink.

BUT, if we add the right rhinestones, the applique transforms to become the perfect accessory and accent point for this gown.
Improved intensity, support for the shading already in place, and now, the perfect color! Plus it has a elegance and subtlety it did not have before, support our design goals needed.  We used the flowers in three places, on her front left hip, right shoulder and at her right hip in the back.

Zhuojing did her own rhinestone application to keep her gown cost reasonable, as many of my clients do, and she did a great job of it!  In addition to bringing the flowers to life, she encrusted the bodice of her gown with Light Siam AB stones in three sizes. 
I am really pleased with the back of this gown.
And these are our suits on Jay, by the way.  Congratulations on a beautiful new gown, Zhuojing!

Monday, August 13, 2012

New Listings for August!

I am back at work and anxious to show you what we made last spring at Made for Movement.  I'm collecting images and stories, and if you have anything to share with me from Twin Cities Open 2012, please do! 

We are happy to show you two new Gently Used listings in the harder to come by size range of 14-18.  If you or someone you know is interested in either of these beauties, fair warning, larger sizes sell fast!
First we have a beautiful sheath style Rhythm gown in slimming Sapphire blue, with lots of lush detailing.  Swirly leaves slash diagonally across the neckline and beneath the bust of this sleek gown, and continue onto sleeve and shoulder.
The leaves are outlined in  Swarovski Crystal AB and filled with Chrysolite, Olivene, Emerald, Peridot, Aquamarine, Sapphire and Blue Zircon.  The supple dance crepe body is covered with Cobalt, and as with all Made for Movement gowns, a lycra body suit provides support and structure underneath. Delicate flesh mesh left sleeve supports your arm and glimmers with ss16 Topaz AB. The gown is finished with two layers of rayon fringe for lots of great movement and nicely displayed leg action.
This gown includes a simple pair of leaf motif earrings.
Asking price is $1600.

Also just listed is this Monet print ballgown, currently configured with a diagonal georgette sash and substantial left side float.  It features a slim, dropped waist bodice of print stretch mesh over soft and stretchy angelskin, embellished with matching Swarovski ss20 crystals.

A soft georgette two layer skirt, with a double circle volume, is the same print over solid soft turquoise, and provides rich, full movement.
The back has a delicate cowl and the shoulders and hip are embellished with organza leaves, edged in Crystal AB.  This gown comes with three georgette flower hair clips, and a pair of delicate rosette earrings.
The gown originally had a banner of crystal AB dew kissed fabric roses, and these could replace the front drape, if a sleeker look if desired.
Visit us at our website, www.made4movement.com to check out these and more Gently Used listings!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Temporary Closing

Due to the death of my mother, I will be closing Made for Movement on June 15th and traveling to Montana to attend her memorial service, and spend time with my family.  Made for Movement will re-open at the end of July.  I will continue to check my e-mail and if you have a costume emergency, please contact me via madetomove2 at aol.com, formatting correctly.  Thank you for your patience during this time.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Anne as Aphrodite

Aphrodite was the mythological Olympian Goddess of  love, beauty, pleasure, and procreation. When Anne and I began work on her ballgown for the USA Dance Amateur National Competition this spring, Aphrodite became our muse.   

After several years of stepping away from competition to earn a college degree while working full-time, and struggling with back injuries, Anne (and her husband and partner Tom, who also wears Made for Movement) were ready to return to the National arena.

Anne wanted an attention-getting, classical, and sexy look.  She tried on a few gowns and fell in love with one with a deep keyhole front.  We had done a similar (but smaller) keyhole in a gown several years ago which was a success, so with that as a starting point we set out to create a Greek Goddess look for her.  We wanted to include white draping and golden jewelry like that worn by the ancient Greeks.  Unlike Greek clothing, our draping needed control in the interest of not adding mass. The golden details were both perfect with her blonde hair and peachy skin, plus a subtle reminder of their quest for competitive gold.

 Anne and Tom's goal for this National competiton was to "make the podium."   Just like in the olympic games, the top three couples in each championship event take stands to receive medals for photos, and they vowed to be on one of the three podiums.
No color is as visible on the floor as white, and it is often a championship gown color as well.  In addition to the gold, we chose a range of cool cabochons in turquoise, sapphire, emerald and peridot green to serve as our precious gem representatives. These colors were derived from the Greek jewelry I used as resource material.  The jewelry was mostly collar, cuff, and breastplate shapes, and very geometric in character.  I wanted the jewelry to be a part of the gown itself to allow for large shapes that would move neatly with Anne without flopping about.
We ran into a bit of trouble with the Anne's keyhole.  Before one of our fittings I reviewed the USA Amateur Dance competitive costume regulations, a very large and complex document that seems ever-changing. I developed a concern that Anne's keyhole might be more revealing of "imtimate areas" than was allowed.  I asked her to get approval for the keyhole and took a few snapshots at our fitting.  Sure enough, the USA Dance costume regulations staff determined that Anne's keyhole would be outside allowed limits.  So we filled the keyhole with a large decorative white mesh, backed with nude mesh, and embelllished with stones.  Ordinarily, nude fabrics are frowned upon by the USA Dance costume regulators, but Anne got approval, in the form of an e-mail, for this solution and carries it in her dance bag at all times.  The impression is still sexy, although not what Anne had hoped for, but I was glad to be able to avoid a last-moment disqualification for her, which can and does happen.

All of the jewelry research I did led me in the direction of geometric layouts, and I used those ideas in the collar and both the front and back keyhole treatments, as well as in the cuffs and earrings.  I loved the great matte shine of this gold lycra and think it looks almost like burnished metal and works really well in the cuffs and belt.  That belt is really not represented very well on my little half body form, but on Anne, it stretches to a sleek and beautiful fit.  With layout help and prompting from me, Anne kept the cost of her gown reasonable by applying her own Swarovski flatbacks and acrylic cabochons and did a great job of it.
We also found a great piece of metallic gold crinoline to stiffen and finish the skirt hem that really adds a lovely finishing flash of precious metal.

I am so happy to report the Anne and Tom achieved thier goal, placing third in Senior II Championship Smooth, and I look forward to seeing those podium shots!  Congratulations to both Annd and Tom on a successful return to USA Dance Nationals!  Made for Movement was glad to be along for the ride.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Karen's Magical Hologram Sequin Cloth

Karen visited my studio with her friend Jeannie, at the design meeting for Jeannie's velvet Tropical Paradise gown.

While Jeannie and I worked, Karen fell in love with a swatch of fabric. Not just any piece of fabric, and I wish, wish, WISH!, I could show you this fabric in person, because no photograph will ever do it justice.

Karen's fabric is a stretch mesh, covered with hologram effect turquoise sequins. The holographic diffraction on these tiny sequins works in the same way as the miniscule spiraling ridges on a CD.  So image thousands of teensy turquoise CD's, about 1/4 inch in diameter, sewn onto cloth and you have the general idea of the amazing magic of Karen's fabric.

This is not a fabric for all body types. It magnifies and amplifies body shape. Fortunately, Karen is trim and
fit, and can afford to have her lovely curves highlighted. This fabric must also be cut and fit carefully to lie smoothly on the body with the fewest possible seams.

Karen is a past Mrs. Minnesota, who created her own pageant gown and is a capable seamstress herself.  She had looked at silhouettes and knew approximately what shape she wanted her gown to take.  I agreed that her idea was a good one, and refined it a bit for her.  She chose a asymmetrical bodice, with a soft (and shiny!) full skirt, to enable it to hold it's own against the dazzle of the sequin cloth.  Since there was no prefect matching color for the turquoise of the sequin cloth, especially given that it changed colors itself, Karen found an electric green georgette, and we layered the two fabrics to get an nice match, as well as providing visual interest for the skirt in movement. 

Given the all-over glimmer of the fabric, we decided to define and embellish the edge of the bodice with texure and color, rather than more sparkle, and chose two colors of acrylic cabochons that again, blended to make a perfect hue.  Karen agreed to do the embellishment of her gown, once it was finished, and did a great job of applying the acrylic cabs.
Karen wanted co-ordinating jewelry, and we wanted it to stand out as different from the border embellishments, so we chose to use both some of the large cabochons and Crystal AB Swarovski as an accent, and again, Karen did her own embellishment application. 
 And finally, here are a few shots of Karen from her performance, with teacher James Woods, at the Snowball, January 2012.