The Making of ASTERIA

ASTERIA was this passion project made up of hours spent beading, hand-dyeing, hand-sewing and gluing feathers. All in all I would say I spent a total of almost 500 hours working on this one garment. Thats a lot! I am so glad I put the hours in however, since completion Asteria has travelled all around the globe, from New York to China, even as I speak she is on her way back from Germany. I'm jealous! 

I always take photos of my process unless I'm super time poor! So here are some (not professional AT ALL and all taken on a phone!) photos of the making of Asteria along with my commentary.

I usually begin by sketching out designs and coming up with a final look. This was my original illustration.

 
 

Then I start a process called 'toiling' which involves making a mock-up out of calico and pattern drafting. 

After I had my final pattern I purchased my fabrics and dyed them by hand. I used raspberries to dye the three kinds of fabric that are in this dress, all of which were either 100% silk or silk with a little stretchy elastane added. 

 
 

The next part of the process was fun but oh-so-time-consuming! BEADING! (I think I went a little crazy at this point... 80% of the hours went into this step!) For the beading I began with flat panel pieces so I could put them in a loom. I designed the pattern on paper and then transferred the design to the fabric.

Then I had to attach the LED Ribbon. These ribbons are fantastic! Its real light-up LEDs on a fabric ribbon, so you can actually machine or hand-stitch them onto your garments or accessories. They come readily programmed so you don't have to figure out how to code or anything like that. They also come with several different settings so your lights can flicker, fade in and out, or just stay on constantly plus a few other options. They take little coin cell batteries which last for a few hours. They're lots of fun! You can purchase your own LED Ribbon by 360 Fashion Network here or learn more about 360 Fashion Network here.

Once the lights were in place I just started beading, using different sequins and beads. I used semi-transparent beads and sequins over the top of each LED so they would shine through the beads and the light would take on the colour of whatever bead or sequin I used.

Once I had covered most of the panels with beads I had to take them off my loom and stitch them together. I also stitched the lining and skirt at this point. I put it all together and finished the beading. Then I added the gathered skirt and attached all of the feathers to the skirt. The feathers had to be individually glued because stitching them wouldn't have held strongly enough. 

With the skirt finished and the beading finished, the last thing I needed to do was attach the belt. I found this awesome gold foil leather at The Fabric Store in Surry Hills. It was exactly what I was after! It's so beautiful and soft too.

And with that, Asteria was complete! Asteria is named after the Greek Godess of the Stars. She is made to be worn by the everyday Goddess who lights up the room! Click here to view the Asteria album.

If you love Asteria, stay tuned because I have some very exciting news to share with you SOON about how you can own your own little piece of the magic.

xx Carley Rose

A Bride in the Making

Creating my own wedding dress was something I had dreamed of doing since I was a kid. I had no idea what I wanted it to look like, I never actually dreamed about it in that kind of way, it was the process of designing it and making it that excited me.

Pre-engagement I had put together about five different wedding boards on pinterest, with different colour themes and different styles. Once I did get engaged however (more on that romantic story later perhaps) I felt like it was time to start with a fresh new board which was well thought through and really showed my style at that time. (If you're interested you can see that very board here). I was really inspired by Art Deco period fashion at the time as well as fashion illustrations by Erté. 

I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to make my wedding dress as part of an elective class I took called Couture Techniques while I was at college doing my fashion degree. The class was run by my favourite teacher (Shout out to you Leonie!) and she helped me so much to get the right fit, something I couldn't have done on my own body alone. The beginning of the process, and one of the parts that I would be marked on, involved making a corseted bodice, which meant a lot of different panels, some boning, bra wires and cups, layers and layers of fabric (mine had five!) on top of making sure everything fit perfectly. 

Once I had my bodice almost complete I started French draping. French draping was a technique we were required to use somewhere on our garment for the class, and a technique which I loved learning about as well as the process itself. It's very hands on, involves a lot of pinning and a lot of stitching. I might write a tutorial on it one day. It has a gorgeous effect and can be used in different ways to create different styles. 

Next I had to add the skirt. I may have cut some corners by never actually hemming the damn thing, but guys, I calculated it... there was just over 23 METERS of hem... IN CHIFFON! No thanks, I just didn't end up having the time. It worked out fine, the skirt was cut as circle skirts which if you understand fabric you know that means it resists fraying. 

The last thing was to add beading, lace applique and pretty chains with crystals hanging from them... all the final touches. I've got to say I am very pleased with what I managed to come up with and proud that this was my first wedding dress to design and make. What do you think?

Oh, and here are some shots of me working on the dress on the day of the wedding at the hairdresser... oops... Just some LAST last minute touches!

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So there you have it, my first wedding dress. I have a second one up my sleeve now, I will share that in another post. 

xx Carley Rose