Hanger Fix

This dress may be in need of a hanger fix. Originally, I made it with silk charmeuse in a color that I’ll call champagne. I thought it would look cool with green stripes, so I tried to tie-dye stripes into it. It came out of that dye experience pretty much solid green, which was not what I wanted at all. Then I tried the tie-dye stripes again, but this time in black. Unfortunately, I changed virtually all of the parameters (acid dye vs procion, larger stripes vs smaller, wet garment vs dry, rubber bands vs string…), so I don’t know what messed me up the first time. And I still don’t know if I like it, so I’m going to try a hanger fix by hanging it in the way way back of the closet for a month, then seeing if I like it any better.

I think my problem with it is not just that it is not perfect. Heaven knows, I wear plenty of imperfect garments. The problem is that it’s trying too hard, but not quite making it. I think if it were made of cotton rather than silk charmeuse, I would be more OK with how it turned out, and I would just wear it as a little summer sundress. I may just wind up dyeing the whole thing black.

I should have taken a closeup of the belt. For the belt ends, I raided my kids’ Sculpey stash and stuck some on the ends of the belt to weigh it down. Then I stuck the whole belt in the oven so the sculpey could harden. It seems to have worked out fine.

It has a kind of cool yoke with a lattice effect. I made tons of skinny bias tube, then sewed it onto dotted pattern paper to form a grid. I left it attached to the paper to sew it onto the dress, then tore the paper away. Below you will find some photos of my process.

back view

cage detail on back yoke

To make the grid effect on the yoke, I first made a long skinny spaghetti strap tube with a continous bias strip. Keep in mind that I dyed the dress green later in the process.

I cut my pattern piece out of dotted pattern paper with a 1" grid, then sewed the tube to the paper, following the grid.

Here's the back side of the piece in the above photo.

detail shot of the grid

I sewed the dress together with the paper still attached to the yoke, then tore the paper away after construction.



  1. Posted March 27, 2012 at 9:32 am | Permalink | Reply

    Wow, cool detailing! I used a very similar technique with sewing strips of fabric on a paper, but I really like the way you incorporated the grid into your garment. I think I’ll copy cat you once again! 🙂
    I’m not sure I see any problem with this particular dress, but I understand the “something’s wrong with it” feeling you have about it. Sometimes the garment simply doesn’t work well for us no matter what others might think of it.

  2. Posted March 27, 2012 at 10:09 am | Permalink | Reply

    Wow! I think that’s terrific.
    Hopefully the back of the closet is just what it needs. But for the record, when I saw that first picture in my blog roll, I thought “Oh, tell me that’s not handmade, that’s surely some impossibly-priced chic boutique thing someone’s posting!”

  3. Posted March 27, 2012 at 11:50 am | Permalink | Reply

    You are so inventive; it’s a great detail. I like the stripes but the belt bothers me a bit. It doesn’t seem to be in proportion to the stripes. Need to get some dyes for silk I really like how you’ve experimented with dyeing lately.

  4. Posted March 27, 2012 at 12:37 pm | Permalink | Reply

    The yoke is brilliant – it reminds me of all those tubes that Ralph Rucci sometimes incorporates into his garments. And although I agree with AnaJan’s comment about garments just not working sometimes, IMHO, I’d like to disagree with you: I do not think the dress tries too hard. Perhaps you’ve just been looking at it for too long so it’s worn out its welcome. I think it’s beautiful. I’d wear it in a heartbeat.

  5. Crystal
    Posted March 27, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks for sharing your process with the bias tube and grid paper. Very inventive.

  6. Posted March 27, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Permalink | Reply

    that cage explanation is amazing! Thanks!

  7. akismet-21b053fec805c8711a1f608da8cdd26a
    Posted March 27, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I love the lattice work. So cool! i also think the dress is fab, but I understand what you mean about it not being what you envisioned originally.

  8. Simone
    Posted March 27, 2012 at 6:15 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I love the dress. The top yolk is. Amazing. I think I would wear with a thick chunky brown braided belt.

  9. Posted March 28, 2012 at 12:54 am | Permalink | Reply

    The grid effect is awesome, thanks for sharing your technique. I think when you are unsure about a finished item there are 2 ways to go – hang it up for a bit like you decided or wear it straight away.

  10. Posted March 28, 2012 at 2:32 am | Permalink | Reply

    You are a genius Claudine, I love the lattice straps on the yoke. Amazing detail! And if you would wear it as a little cotton dress, then why not just wear it in exactly the same context as a silk dress? It is wonderful!

  11. Gilly
    Posted March 28, 2012 at 4:18 am | Permalink | Reply

    It’s amazing! Wear it – NOW!

  12. k gumm
    Posted March 28, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Love the dress! Check out http://www.esther-fromthesticks.blogspot.com -her red tree frog dress-for more bias stripping action or whatever it’s called.

  13. Posted March 28, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I think that’s an amazing dress! If it had any hope of fitting me I’d beg you to send it over here. Hope it redeems itself in your eyes after a time-out in the closet.

  14. Posted March 28, 2012 at 10:58 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I think the dress is amazing and I’m sorry that you need to give it a time out.

  15. Posted March 29, 2012 at 8:10 am | Permalink | Reply

    I had a project in my head, but couldn’t figure out how to make it work. Your lattice technique will do it. Brilliant. Thank you so much.

    • Posted March 29, 2012 at 9:00 am | Permalink | Reply

      You’re welcome. Let me know what you do with it.

  16. Sufiya
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 11:36 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I think the problem here is, is that the stripes of colour don’t ‘flow together’ enough for that “ombree’d” effect. You showed us that example of the designer dyed-yoke shirt in the other post…notice how the dye runs downwards and ‘melts” into the lower part; here, the stripes are possibly far too “separate” and “defined” without that shadowy ‘transition zone’ between them. It seems a shame to just ‘toss’ such a beautiful dress; maybe you could try overdyeing with another colour or stripping out some of the dye at the meeting point of the stripes and try again? Thanks for the latticework tutorial; I’m going to give it a try sometime soon!

    • Posted April 3, 2012 at 8:00 am | Permalink | Reply

      This is not actually ombre at all. It’s tie-dye.

  17. Sufiya
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 11:45 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Oh, I was going to say: the way to get the “ombre” dye effect like the one on the Philip Lim shirt is to hang the garment over the dye bath, touching it, and allow it to soak up the dye… They had something on this method in Threads mag recently.

    • Posted April 3, 2012 at 7:56 am | Permalink | Reply

      That’s the classic method of getting this effect. It is, however, a lot of trouble, especially if you want the colors to fade into one another. You need to suspend the fabric over the dye bath in some way, then move it at timed intervals. These posts are about exploring another method to get the same effect.

    • Posted April 3, 2012 at 8:33 am | Permalink | Reply

      If you’d like to see an example of a dip-dye project that I’ve done, there’s one here

  18. Posted April 9, 2012 at 11:27 am | Permalink | Reply

    This is beautiful! Love the lattice top and the colors. Nice work!

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