Vivacious Jeannie dances on the other side of the Twin Cities from our studio, at The Tropical Ballroom. Although I doubt she set out to get a gown that would represent her studio, our results call to mind a tropical paradise for me, both because of the profusion of pink blossoms and the lushness of the deep spruce green velvet fabric.
Pretty, dark-haired Jeannie did the homework I always request of my clients, and brought with her to her design meeting several inspiration images. Some were illustrations of style silhouettes she liked, and a couple were ideas for skirt finishes and details. She carried in a rich suede jacket that represented the color of her dream gown, and she also brought a friend, but that is another blog post entirely!
I knew from the moment I saw the jacket that I would be doing some hunting to find the color she wanted, in four fabrics: a lycra for the bodysuit, soft sheer for the skirt, shiny fabric for the skirt binding and a rich spruce-y something for the bodice itself. The suede jacket had a nap, and part of the beauty of the spruce color was in the richness of that nap. Also, I had just hunted for blue-greens for Patty, and knew very little was readily available in dancewear fabrics in that hue. We spent a little time looking at my British fabric swatchbooks, and my favorite American lycra sources, but nothing that matched the jacket was immediately to hand.
I told Jeannie that I would have to hunt for fabrics in the colors she wanted, and keep her posted with swatches and photos of my quest.
As you can see, I had a scrap of crushed velvet that had been custom dyed and it did the jacket justice, but was too textured for our needs. I also had a piece of lycra from the hunt for Emerald for Patty that would serve for the body suit, since it didn't have to be an exact match. Our first find was a luminous piece of georgette that became the skirt, and next that I discovered a piece of charmeuse that could be made in to shiny skirt binding. Finally Michele said she had seen a piece of velvet in a local shop, and with these fabrics in hand, we got underway.
After we had the shell of the gown complete, we looked a a myriad of different possible flower options. We even considered three-dimensional silk or fabric flowers, but Jeannie wanted a something flat and I wanted an exciting edge, since it would be strongly featured against the deep velvet. Jeannie also wanted shades of pink, and nothing else.
We finally settled on a lycra print with lots of pinks and interesting shapes, and we cut out bits and created applique, for which I found we needed yet another piece of fabric for the backing of these bits. Jeannie was disturbed by the olive greens in the leaves, but I assured her that our embellishment would change that.
And indeed, it did change! We also emphasized the edges with Crystal AB outlines and I just love this result!
I am also really pleased with the skirt movement. When a gown is a darker hue, it must compensate to achieve visibility with sparkle, texture, and action, and Jeannie animated it beautifully.
I apologize again, for my photography. My camera is not sufficiently sophisticated to capture action on the far side of the dark room, and rhythm dances do not travel around the room, but stay in one spot. Sadly, Jeannie was never close to me when dancing, but although these are not great photos, they do at least hint at the shiny skirt and sleeve edges in action.
Thanks Jeannie, for letting us work with you on your delightful new gown, and we hope to see you back in our studio again!