Siren’s Call



Irina Bertoluzza

Outline the story …

When I began I knew I wanted to work with the idea of water. The sea has always fascinated me, and its not always the first thought when thinking of the natural world. I was stuck on the choice of fabric. I knew I wanted to use a light silk but it wasnt until I went on vacation that I observed the sea and had the inspiration to use silk crepe. It had the exact ripples I was looking for, and the desired lightness.
I then began experimenting with sihlouettes, from ancient greece, and their majestic drapes, to the 1950s and its structured but elegant garments.
What I came up with, has an amalgamation of history. From the 40s and 50s I took the more pointed bust and the structure, inspired by the red dress Audrey Hepburn wears in Funny Face.
The back of the skirt, bustled at the bottom, like they would have done in the 1910s.
And the ever so present draping on the bust, inspired by the work of Madame Gres.
I used the tulle to create even more of a siren sihlouette, and the main peculiarity of the garment, the faux slit in the skirt, that represents water clashing on rocks. The tulle gives, in my opinion, the right contrast to the lighness of the silk, without making it too geometric, and keeping the organic feeling I desired for a dress inspired by the natural world.

Outline the construction…

I knew I needed a strong base for the draping, so I began with making a simple (but sturdy) cotton base. I used french machine stitched seams to make sure the cotton wouldnt fray upon wearing and to ensure the garment was finished properly.
The pattern I self drafted and designed had two horizontal darts that I switched in favour of a continuous horizontal seam at the bust, as I had never used french seams before, but had the idea to use the channel they created to insert some plastic boning, to help the bodice keep the desired 1950s inspired sihlouette.
I then ruffled the tulle mesh and affixed it to the dress, to create the necessary volume.
Once I had the base ready I attached, by hand, a shimmery polyester mesh, to create a sparkly underlayer for the silk crepe.
Then came the biggest challenge of all, the draping. I wanted to drape the fabric and attach it by hand, letting it decide the course of the dress by itself as I required an organic look, but I also wanted it to stay in place. Thats the main reason why I used countless tiny stitches to secure it to the cotton.
Silk tends to fry when cut, so I wanted to use a rolled hem to help it stay. As I was hemming, I realised that if I used a long hemming stitch, it would have the double function of decoration and practice, as shown in the detail picture.



1 Comment

  1. Avatar Steffi Wee on May 9, 2023 at 10:37 pm

    Love the drape of the bodice!

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