THINK: Timeless Memories


The Beginning

"This design project began with a plea to my mother to relinquish this beautiful fabric that she had held onto for

years. She stopped sewing quite a few years ago and the fabric had just been sitting. She would say she intended

to make something out of the fabric once she resumed sewing, which of course never happened. She finally gave

in and this beautiful maxi dress is the result.  My design inspiration is often based on the fabric itself, as is the case with this

dress. I love, love, love to design garments using fabric with prints that are perfect for “crystallizing” with Swarovski crystals. Such was the case with this dress because of the rich purples and turquoise paisley patterns. This is how I created the dress…….."

Over 1200 crystals positioned with love...


The bodice of this dress was draped in muslin on my dress form, which I "padded up" with the Fabulous Fit Fitting System (hip pads, butt pads & bust pads).  The muslin was removed form the dress form and trued.  The next step was to physically fit the the muslin on me,  to check the fit and make any additional adjustments.  The muslin was removed, and further trued, taken apart and pressed lightly and used to make the final pattern pieces. 

The next step in the process was ro dwesin the skirt portion of the dress, which I actually draped, using the fabric as opposed to the muslin.  The CF, SS,CB and the placement of the pleats were marked.  The fabric was removed from the dress form and the skirt portion was completed using the flat pattern method and measurements to make sure that all markings from the dress form were precise.  The skirt of the dress is designed to have only one seam, which is on the left side.  Necessary adjustments were made and then the skirt was cut out.

Then came my favorite part of making the dress..."crystallizing" the bodice.  While I would love to have used crystals all over the dress, it simply wasn't cost effective and would have been much too time consuming.  I usedin excess of 1200 crystals on the bodice alone!  Needless to say the planning, placement and application of the crystals was most tedius., time-consuming (and fun) part of the design process.  The "crystalization" was achieved by placing hot-fix Swarovski crystals, one-by-one, to each paisley or section of the bodice front.  Once crystals were placed where desired, mylar film was placed atop the crystals and fabric so the hot-fix crystals could be heated and permanently affixed to the fabric.  This process was repeated u til the crystals were affixed to the entire front of the bodice.

The final step was to sew the dress.  The bodice was sewn first with both the front and  back self faced with the fabric.  The (self faced) neckband was attached  to the bottom of the bodice and the skirt of the dress.  The zipper was inserted to the left side of the dress.  I opted not to pu a split int he dress, although in hindsight, I wish I had done so.  Finally, the dress was hemmed and a (hidden) hook and snap were used for the neckband closure.  I even had enough fabric to design a little jacket to match.  The jacket was designed so that the crystals on the bodice front aren't covered up.

The Result

I now have a beautiful dress that has some meaning...Thanks, Mom.


What a beautiful memory.  Thank you for sharing this wonderful design both in crystals and love; and in the versatility and easiness of the dress and bolero.  I can see this in everything from bias linen to knit jersey, worn with a low slung belt.  Love the dress, love the memories, Thank you so much, Tracy!