After I posted the Smithson Gowns, several people asked me, "What about the Bug Gown?"
That wasn't made for a Smithson event, but rather for a silent auction fundraiser for my children's school. It was one of the first really fancy gowns I made, and one of the last made with a commercial pattern as I started with PatternMaster a few months later.
I used a Vintage Vogue pattern, modified to add a sheer overskirt with multiple embroideries on it. The effect I was looking for was of walking through a field of flowers; the overskirt was covered with embroideries of flowers, bugs and butterflies.
The base fabric was a pale blue dupioni silk, with a silk chiffon overskirt. I was very happy to have two sewing machines at the time; all the embroideries were done on my Viking 1+ while I was sewing the rest of the dress on my Viking E150.
Here's the front of the skirt, spread out so you can see the various embroideries. The leaves of grass are appliqued onto the underskirt in a random pattern.
The back of the gown. I tried to distribute the embroideries fairly evenly around the skirt.
A close-up of some of the embroideries. The sheer overskirt had French seams, and the bottom edge just had a serged rolled edge.
Since I was embroidering all these things directly onto the sheer fabric, I was so worried as I got to the end of each panel... Would I mess up an embroidery and end up having to trash the whole thing? Luckily, it all went smoothly.
After the gala, my Viking dealer asked if I would let them hang the dress in their store as an example of what you could do with an embroidery machine. I was quite flattered and let them put it up. About a month or two later I asked for it back, and when they took it down from the wall it was immediately obvious that the front of the gown had been bleached by the fluorescent light. I was devastated... They blamed the fabric; the fabric store blamed the dealer. In the end I got no compensation for the loss, except for the knowledge that the dress's reputation will live forever on the web! It's really flattering to know that people do remember it.
So there you have it... The (in)famous Bug Gown!
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