I have a small obsession with cherry blossom trees and one day I came across a picture on my Pinterest that inspired me to create a wearable art garment. Wearable art is one of my favorite things to do and that I don’t get to do too often because of time but if I can create one crazy outfit a year I am happy! So this is my wearable art garment of 2015! I know I am a bit late in posting but being self-employed and making time for family and friends and holidays is still quite challenging for me.
This is the picture that inspired me. When I saw this picture I couldn’t help but create a dress inspired by it, as I had an event coming up in a month and I wanted to showcase something new. I didn’t have much time so I played this one by ear 🙂
I first started with a rough sketch to get an idea on how I was going to create this:
I figured that I can create the pattern for the skirt by making 8 long panels that will be sewn with casings so that I can add boning. The fabric was a slightly sheer linen-like fabric that I found at one of my favorite fabric stores in Chicago called Textile Discount Outlet, I have to admit that when I first went to this store I was overwhelmed because it is 3 floors of fabrics, it was a bit disorganized and it was BUSY! So I avoided shopping there for many years lol…but one day I got the nerve to go when I had time to really look at everything and spend a few hours there and now it is one of my favorite places to shop because you can really find some hidden treasures there! They also have organized the place and the staff is the most helpful staff I have ever met at a fabric store..I love them!
I got about 20 yards for only $25! They are really generous with the price when you buy the whole bolt.
Because of time I decided to make a simple corset for the top as I already had a corset pattern from a previous project I did. The challenge now was how I was going to create the branches. First I thought I would use black fabric paint and just paint the branches free-hand but I did not like the way it looked plus I am not an experienced painter so I was not about to risk painting the skirt as well.
This is the corset with the black fabric paint and samples of the cherry blossoms made from pink ribbon I also got at the Textile Discount Outlet.
Since I did not like the way this looked I decided to go a different route and create another corset from scratch and start over. This time I decided to make the branches out of black pleather and apply it as an applique sewn by hand. Then I moved on to the skirt and added the boning but as you can see in the picture the boning I used which was just a regular plastic boning was not working my skirt was too heavy for the boning.
So I had to go with plan B which was using wire instead. Thank goodness I have a friend who is an electrician and was able to straighten the wire out for me on my radiator lol…
and here I am taking out the boning and adding the wire in the skirt ..I should have worn red heels for this pic 😉
Here is what the skirt looks like with the wire..not as taut as I would like it to be and the wire still had a little wave to it..not sure if I should have used a thicker wire but I didn’t really have the time to try to figure it out plus I had already spent way more money than I wanted to. I still think it looks a lot better than when the boning was put in.
Next I created the pattern of the branches that will be placed on the skirt :
Now it was time to start making more cherry blossoms. I used grosgrain ribbon cut into 4 about 1 inch “petals”. A lighter was used to burn the edges so that it does not fray. Ran a basic stitch thru all 4 pieces and gathered it til it created a little cherry blossom. Tied a knot and sewed a silver crystal bead thru each flower. This was a bit time consuming so I had to bring in my friend to come help me. Here she is; my happy helper making my flowers while watching The Mindy Project…one of our favorite shows on Hulu!
After all the flowers were done, I hand stitched the branches and the cherry blossoms to the skirt. I put the garment on a metal dress form that was given to me by my ex-coworker who worked at a theater and they were going to throw it away. Perfect example of someone else’s trash is someone else’s treasure because it went perfectly with my garment making it a true wearable art piece as I was able to add some of the flowers to the metal “bars” of the dress form where I used wire wrapped with beads to do this. See my Crystal Tree tutorial for how to wrap wire with beads.
oh and did I mention that it lights up! 😀
I must say that this thing lights up my design studio beautifully and I am so happy with the results considering the time frame.
Now she is ready for my first Wearable Art Exhibit which I will talk about in my next post.
“When you plant a seed of love, it is you that blossoms” ~Ma Jaya Sati Bhagavati~
This is seriously such an amazing dress. Your process from inspiration to finished garment is awesome to see and my jaw dropped when I saw it lights up! That is so cool!! This is a beautiful piece of art, so magical!
Thank you Trish! I was happy that I was able to pull it off especially with the help of 2 of my friends 🙂