Today is the beginning of Project Sewn Season 4 – I’m so excited!! I’m hoping to sew along for at least a few of the challenges – as I mentioned earlier, the next two months are going to be crazy and I’m already feeling overwhelmed, so I don’t want to overdo it! I got a head start on this week’s challenge, though, which I am so excited to share with you all!
The challenge for week one is “Leading Ladies” – to create a garment based on a movie. Since I’m a huge sci fi/fantasy geek, I knew I wanted to take this opportunity to recreate an outfit from one of my favorite fantasy shows, but I also wanted to make a garment that would be wearable everyday, so it needed to be a subtle nod to the genre instead of all-out cosplay. My hubby and his friends are very into the Game of Thrones book and tv series, and they managed to suck me in this season, so I decided to base my challenge on one of the dresses from there.
The costumes in that show are truly breathtaking – many of them are intricately hand-embroidered, which you can check out on the costume designer’s blog here. Many of the costumes are a little too medieval or elaborate to be easily turned into an everyday outfit, but the character Daenerys tends to wear dresses that have a modern look. I decided to base my project on her blue wrap dress:
(Photo reference here).
This particular design becomes more and more heavily embroidered with a dragon-scale texture as her character develops – a gorgeously subtle detail that probably won’t be picked up by many viewers, but shows the immense care and thought that went into the design. After carefully analyzing as many pictures as I could find, I decided that the Pastille dress from the Colette Handbook would make the perfect pattern base. First, I made several muslins to get the fit right – this was a tricky bodice to fit!! But very worth it; I’m looking forward to making many more “regular” versions of this dress.
I then had to figure out how to create the wrap effect, which nearly broke my brain. As far as I could tell from the still photos and movie clips I saw, the wrap is actually sewn down, so it’s more of a piecing detail than a functional design element. I made numerous sketches of pattern pieces and sewing details before I even attempted to alter the pattern.
After a great deal of angst and brain-bending calculations, I finally took the leap and cut my fabric. I think I sewed every seam on that bodice twice, at least, to try to get it to fit right! Adding the wrap pieces meant that I couldn’t sew the full waist darts that are in the original pattern, so I had to make some creative modifications, but I think it worked. Here she is:
(Sorry if these pics look photoshopped to death…I wasn’t super happy with my photo shoot, so I did my best to touch them up. It sort of gives them a movie-ish quality, though, yeah? Meh…)
I especially love the back detail – I bias tape to bind the edges, and just cut a big ol’ hole out of the back free-hand. It was a little scary, but I’m pleased with how it turned out.
I also wanted to give a nod to all the beautiful hand embroidery that went into the costumes in the show, so I hand-stitched the hem, the neckline, and the back opening with “pick stitches” (is that even a real sewing term? :P) – tiny visible stitches spaced about 1/4″ apart. Here’s a detail shot – you can barely see them, but I think it adds a nice detail:
And since I wanted this to be an everyday dress, I also took a few pics of the “date night” version:
I think this translated really well into a fashion-forward take on a casual cocktail dress – what do you think?
All in all, I’m really proud of this dress! It’s a little problematic to wear for more active occasions, but for evening social functions, it’s perfect. And really, who doesn’t want to be the Mother of Dragons??