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Water For Elephants


This is my first blog entry, I really just want it to be pictures of the things I've made, and I can talk about what inspired me.

The dress you see here was inspired by Reece Witherspoon in Water for Elephants, which in my opinion is really an underrated film. Although I partially biased as I adore most anything with a circus theme.

In the movie there's this really beautiful scene where Robert Patterson walks in on Reese, she's wearing this beautiful white dress standing beside a record player I believe and drinking champagne. Now the dress I'm wearing and the one she wore are not the same dress. I wasn't out to replicate the dress she wore in that movie, My goal was to replicate the feeling that dress gave me in that exact moment.

For me anyways that particular moment was a very powerful one the image of her standing there in white. Me personally I like to be remembered in white, I really can't say why but when I think of how I want others to remember me that's what I think. So I got to work designing, there are a couple of ways I go about designing. Sometimes I start with drawing a picture, other times I just go to Joann's Fabric and look through patterns until one speaks to me, in this case though I knew the exact pattern I was looking for.

For this dress I used a vintage Nichole Miller pattern, Butterick 4298 copyright 1995 as my base, The pattern already had a Vback but I cut it down much deeper to give myself the perfect frame for my tattoo. The next thing I did was purchase the white silkessence (100% Polyester from Joann's)

I cut the dress out with the altered back of course, out of the silkessence. Then I cut a train out of the silkessence and a train out of white chiffon (100% polyester from Joann's) I also cut the dress and train out of a white lining (100% polyester from Joann's). A bow was also cut from the silkessence but never applied and I'll get to that eventually.

Then I packed everything in my suitcase and headed for Yuba City, CA for Christmas break.

Bet you didn't see that one coming ;) this dress was intended for me to wear at my birthday party which is conveniently a few days before Christmas so instead of stitching it up in my studio I thought I'd take it with me and sew it up there. I started to and things went fairly smoothly, only I had left the bow at my house in Fallbrook, CA. Butterick pattern 4298 had been drafted to be a dress loosely fitted at the waist, it had two ties on the back that were to be tied into a bow cinching it at the waist.

I had left my bow, my extra fabric, and my pattern in Fallbrook, also my party was days away and I needed to complete this dress. My mother, whom I was visiting helped me try on a dozen different belts, scarves and such trying to find the thing, it needed the thing to add to pull in the waist but would go with the essence of the dress. Nothing was quite right unfortunately.

I honestly don't know who's idea it was but eventually I sewed in the back a pleat that runs from the bottom of the vback to the tip of the train's gusset. The dress remained loose fitting but now it was intentional instead of accidental. As much as I loved the dress it seemed to be missing something. That's when I added the silver and white braiding (unknown fiber, Micheal's) along the neck and back lines. And the dress was completed, fully lined with a side zipper.

With the dress complete all that was left was to wear it, which I did to the party, and then again Valentines day 2019 when the photos above were taken. This dress remains a personal favorite of mine, which I am happy to share with you!

Check back next week for a new outfit and follow me on instagram @MadsenCreations or Facebook: Madsen Creations by Rachel Madsen to all the new things I'm making!

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