Finished: My Van Gogh Dress

How often do you get the opportunity to use sewing in your work life? When my work colleagues started talking about making dresses from custom-printed fabric, to wear at a work event, I was all over it. The four of us organised a pop up exhibition and symposium about copyright and cultural heritage (broadly speaking), and we chose images associated with my friend's open source exhibition project: http://displayatyourownrisk.org/
 This Van Gogh painting was used as the basis for my printed fabric:

I ordered from Spoonflower - the first time I had ever used them. As my friend is a graphic designer, she was able to help with working out how the image would be placed on the fabric.I think I might have found it difficult otherwise. It's also hard to get a grasp of the scale of the design too, but happily mine worked out well.

When the fabric arrived it felt a little stiff but softened after a wash. I put a colour catcher in but there was hardly anything on it. I have read variable accounts of the quality of Spoonflower fabrics so it will likely take a few washes to see if there are any effects. The substrate I chose was cotton sateen and it seems like pretty good quality. One thing I noticed was that it felt very slightly greasy to me, although this may be because my pattern was made up of pretty dark printing that covered the whole fabric surface, so it could be as a result of the heavy ink saturation of the fabric.
 
Although I considered going for a simple shift dress to show off the fabric, I decided to use this vintage New Look Maudella pattern:
I bought it a couple of years ago when I bought a load of New Look Maudella patterns from this same era. I think this pattern must typify my style, as I was also kindly sent the same pattern some time ago by fellow blogger-called-Kerry, Very Kerry Berry! (I will do a giveaway for this at some point).

It doesn't take up too much fabric (I used nearly all my 2 yards) and the skirt has a nice amount of movement. My main concern with pattern placement was that the spray of flowers would be nicely displayed on the bodice. As it worked out, I really like how the flowers look at the hem of the dress too.
 
Overall I think it was a successful project , and it's preety cool to be able to say that you have designed the fabric for your dress as well as made it. It also counts as part of my Vintage Pledge for this year too - the first item I've managed to blog - it's only taken 6 months!

K x

26 comments:

  1. This is genius! Love the dress, love the concept behind it! Has it made you start looking at other works of art you'd like to wear? (Also, what a great wee dress pattern!)

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  2. Lovely pattern it really suits you. The fabric is amazing and the placement has turned out great. Well done K xXx

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  3. Wow, what a fabulous idea and what a fabulous dress. The pattern placement is lovely and the colours are great. I lover how this has turned out. It's beautiful. Xx

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    1. Love....sheesh! That's what I get typing on my phone with no glasses on. :)

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  4. Awesome! I love that you used the background as your fabric design. I've always been interested in the patterns in Matisse paintings and it turns out he was directly inspired by textiles that were made nearby. This background kind of reminds me of that. Cool project!

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  5. Uber impressed! I love the pattern, fabric and dress style. It suits you to a "T".

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  6. Really suits you! (And it looks fab with the red shoes!)

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  7. This is a gorgeous dress! The exhibition sounds really interesting too.

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  8. Looks lovely! I'd like to see you and all your work friends together in your art ensembles too!

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  9. Absolutely stunning! Love it.Gorgeous fabric design and how special to you. I love Spoonflower; I think the concept of designing and producing your own prints relatively easily and inexpensively. xxx

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  10. I absolutely love it! the print is fabulous and the shape tremendous! I'm pretty sure I've got that pattern in my stash. Looking at how great you look I'm tempted to crack mine out. xxx

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  11. Superb idea! (Great execution too of course)

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  12. Really really like! I love how you've placed the print on the bodice and hem, and the colours suit you perfectly - van Gogh must have known!
    I second the request to see your colleagues outfits!

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  13. I love your dress. The pattern and fabric are perfect together. I think I'd need help with designing the fabric too though. Yours has turned out brilliantly.

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  14. I love your dress. The pattern and fabric are perfect together. I think I'd need help with designing the fabric too though. Yours has turned out brilliantly.

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  15. It's beautiful!
    (as you are in it)

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  16. Oh I adore everything about this dress, it's perfect. I must dip my toe in the Spoonflower pool...

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  17. This is gorgeous, and is totally wearable "normally"!! The dress s a lovely shape. I'd be up for that giveaway if you got round to it.

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  18. This is lovely, nice work on the fabric and dress!

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  19. Wonderful, I love the pattern you picked for this. You look great in the colours and that skirt falls so nicely. I'd love to have one in his 'almond blossom'!

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  20. Aww I love this Kerry. The photos are wonderful - the dress looked amazing in real life but it seems even more impressive when you're standing next to the painting itself!

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  21. So amazing! Such a great idea and beautifully executed

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  22. So fun! I love how you turned the art background into a print.

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Thanks for reading and commenting - I love to hear what you have to say