Designing a Mini-Line for a Fashion Show!

This winter/spring, I embarked on a project that I have never attempted before: designing a line for a fashion show. My school now has a fashion club and they decided to put on a spring show which would feature local designers. So, instead of buying the pieces for my line like most of the other designers did, I set to work making sketches, ordering fabric and doing some binge-sewing!

I had to do all this in the midst of taking 15 credit hours of classes at school, so I only designed 3 outfits for the line. I wanted them to have a loosely Edwardian-inspired look. (Make sure to look at all 3 sketches- it’s a slideshow.)

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Another interesting thing about this project is that it was my first time making outfits for other people to wear, since I had to make them to fit my models!

Most of the fabrics I bought from Etsy. I discovered some shops that sell some really cool haute couture fabrics. I absolutely fell in love with the 3D lace from these shops!


Total materials used were:

  • Stretchy rayon knit for the dress and skirt lining
  • Pink 3D lace for the maxi skirt
  • Cotton voile for the white blouse
  • Polyester chiffon for the white and gold dress (normally I hate poly chiffon, but they had this amazing gauzy stuff at JoAnn that I couldn’t resist getting!)
  • Gold 3D lace trim
  • White chantilly lace trim (which I dyed gold)
  • Purple 3D lace
  • Fine white coutil (which has a much finer, prettier grain than that cheap, coarse coutil I usually get)
  • Busk, eyelets and zip ties for the corset

Yes, I boned the corset with zip ties. They work really well when you’re looking for a cheap alternative to spiral steel!

For the patterns, I drafted them directly from my models’ measurements. It was a little bit tricky because when I was drafting the white and gold dress, for example, I wasn’t sure exactly how many inches the bust measurement was above the waist measurement! Sometime I’m going to get an adjustable dress form so that this stuff is easier next time, but I estimated the measurements I didn’t have by simulating the models’ measurements on myself (thank you, Edwardian undergarments)! This is probably a bad idea in most cases because different people have different proportions. For example, I have a fairly long torso (I’m long-waisted) and other people are short-waisted. But luckily it all worked out.

Here’s the dress in progress:


And here’s the blouse in progress. I was pretty much done at this point, but this is when I was doing the embroidery. I used the technique I learned from buying a real antique 1910s tea dress of making faux lace cutouts: paint a design on with fabric paint, and embroider the edges with embroidery floss.


I was in so much of a hurry that I don’t have any more in-progress pictures. I didn’t get all the materials until mid-February, and then I went on vacation to Florida for a week, so that left me with only five weeks to get all this done! On top of being a full time student with homework, exams, and group projects!

Thankfully, the only fitting issues were easy to fix, so here are the actual pictures of the show!

My models were pretty gutsy because they were the first group to go in the show (which is the first show of its kind in the school)!

First up was Fatemah, wearing the blouse and skirt combination (I’m calling it the Spring Princess)!


Next was Ricki, wearing the white and gold dress (I’m calling it the Greek Goddess)!


I had to dye that chantilly lace at the hem to get it to match the 3D lace at the waist.

Finally, Hannah modeled the corset- which I’m calling the Spring Fairy!


Here they all are together:

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And here I am with the three of them:


The show was such a blast. It was a great way to network with the other designers and kind of get my name out to the community. And I really enjoyed working with Fatemah, Hannah and Ricki. This was their first time being models, and they did a great job!

Some of the design changes made were to the dress and the corset. You can see that in the sketch, the dress is much frillier and more ruffly than it is in real life. I liked the slimmer shape and the gold waistband a lot once I started playing with the fabric, so I deviated a bit from the original design. For Hannah’s outfit, originally the corset was going to be plain white and worn with the purple lace kimono wrap, but I didn’t have enough of the purple lace to do that, so I decided to applique the lace onto the corset. And I love how it came out!

Here’s some detail shots of the corset.

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I’m very thankful for this opportunity and I learned a lot from it. Thanks for reading!

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