Testing the fit of strapless silk with Halston construction at Tchad workrooms

Decima’s Cross-Country Evening Gown

Decima, she who conquered Province, called us up wondering if she could fly into Chicago to work on a draped black silk evening gown and beaded collar.

We are never ever going to say no to something like that, so with the humility required when students want to fly across the country to work with you, we said: “Yes, absolutely yes.”

Decima has already had a good deal of sewing under her belt, and the dress itself was pretty straightforward, so we dove right into it.  As Tchad was showing her how to manipulate the draping so that it formed the right slack, it felt a bit like a dance lesson:

Tchad demonstrates the drape and Decima follows along at Tchad Workrooms
Dancing & Draping

 

Tchad demonstrates the drape and Decima follows along at Tchad Workrooms
Dancing & Draping

 

Tchad demonstrates the drape and Decima follows along at Tchad Workrooms
Dancing & Draping

Once we had the basic shape right, we worked out an internal support similar to what Halston used on some of his dresses in the early 1970s – a simple bridled bustline that closes with two hooks and eyes: no zippers, no snaps.  This is tricky because if you don’t get the fit perfect on these stylized gowns, they slip right off.  And you better believe a night at the opera is going to be ruined then.

Testing the fit of strapless silk with Halston construction at Tchad workrooms
Testing the fit of strapless silk with Halston construction

 

Testing the fit of strapless silk with Halston construction at Tchad workrooms
Testing the fit of strapless silk with Halston construction

 

Testing the fit of strapless silk with Halston construction at Tchad workrooms
Testing the fit of strapless silk with Halston construction

 

Testing the fit of strapless silk with Halston construction at Tchad workrooms
Testing the fit of strapless silk with Halston construction

So we tested the fit and the weight before we started shaping the hem by having her stand on a stool and gesticulate.  You want this to be right.

Once we knew there wouldn’t be a wardrobe malfunction in the second half of Turando, we set the hem and anchored some of the pleats with small loose running stitches…

Packed up…

Flew back to San Fransisco…

and…

Off to the opera with her handsome husband she went!

Decima in the gown she made at Tchad workrooms
In front of San Fransisco Opera House
Decima in the gown she made at Tchad workrooms
*clink*

Decima in the gown she made at Tchad workrooms

Decima in the gown she made at Tchad workrooms
Wearing beaded collar draped at Tchad

This was so much fun.  We never stop telling ourselves how lucky we are.

Also: while you are restringing beads, there is EVERY chance that your instructor will put on the extra strands as the most avant garde of sunglasses:

tchad elliott in avant garde beaded sunglasses
Yes… can I help you?

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