I’ve managed to inspire another seamstress! Marji is making a smocked dress similar to mine.

I keep meaning to post about my trip to the Bottega Veneta store to see the original smocked dress. It’s the most intimidating store I’ve ever been in. Tremendously more luxurious than, say, Barney’s, Saks, or Neiman’s. The first floor is all handbags with a few clothes on mannequins. I had to go up a leather-carped staircase and wind around more handbags to find a single rack of clothes way in the back on the second floor. I was admiring a dress on a mannequin when the salesman came out and started talking to me. We had a wonderful conversation about all the clothes. He kept pulling them out and pointing out the amazing details. At one point, he showed me a jacket that had smocking on it. I commented that the smocking was more or less wrong-side-out. He was a little taken aback and said, “Do you sew?”

We talked a while longer, and I asked to see the dress I copied. He only had one and it was promised to another customer, but I assured him that I just wanted to see it. He brought it out for me. It’s made of seersucker, which is much stiffer than shirting fabric. This solved one mystery for me, because the smocking on my dress sort of flattens out between the shoulder blades, whereas on the BV dress, it kind of stays like smocking. The stiffness of the fabric keeps it from flattening. Anyway, the dress was $6800, and even if I had that much to spend on a dress, they did not have one to sell me. Scary.


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