New Goal: I Will Sew a Traveling Red Dress

There is a magic dress. A magic dress that is usually red and travels to women who are struggling with illness (including mental illness), weight, low self-image in general. When a woman receives a traveling red dress, she puts it on and the magic helps her remember who she really is, the woman who has not and will not truly be defeated, the woman capable of love, the woman who deserves to feel beautiful and to do something that helps her feel beautiful. The Red Dress need not be red, but it must be stunning, impractical, eye-catching–a ball gown, literally or metaphorically. Then, someone take beautiful photographs of her in her stunning gown, so that she can always remember the magic of self-care.

The lovely and hilarious The Bloggess explains this better than I can, because she has experienced the magic first-hand–twice. Once in 2010 and again very recently. The traveling dresses she wears in her photos would not fit me, but having seen dresses I would die to wear on vintage patterns sold on Etsy, it occurred to me that there might be another kind of therapy in the crafting of such a gown.

Ball gowns are not as difficult to sew as you might think, or so my reading tells me. I want to make it, wear it and send it on to someone else. They can be, certainly, but the primary hurdle is fabric and the cost of fabric. I am about to do something I feel shy about doing and, well, frankly, terrified will upset you, dear readers. Before I do, I must show you how well I have researched this and the beautiful things that I’ve found for the project:

First, the pattern:

My dream dress. The pattern fits my measurements exactly, which is just further proof that I must make it. In red taffeta.

Taffeta is a fabric best made out of silk, and perfect for fancy dresses. My own wedding dress was made from silk taffeta. It’s not very heavy, but is “crisp” as they say in the sewing world. It’s the fabric the artist used as a model for drawing the dresses on the envelope of the pattern. I found the perfect shade of red taffeta at Mood fabrics (Project Runway uses Mood for a good reason–they have everything you could ever want).

Now, can you see the detail around the neckline of the dress in the picture? It has an accent that I believe is beaded. Which inspired me: the dress must have sparkles or shinies of some kind. And then I found this:

Isn't this perfect?

Since I can’t manage all of this on my own and because it is for a good cause, I am asking for your help in buying supplies to make the New Traveling Red Dress. I’m doing it officially and anonymously, using a website called WePay specifically for this purpose. If you do give a little something, thank you in advance. If you do not, I will never say a word about it to you, cross my heart. You can donate to the New Traveling Red Dress Project here. The $300 total goal is high–I can get away with less–but the more I have to work with, the better the supplies, and the longer the dress will last. I’ve also set a six-week deadline, so that in case I do get pregnant I can hurry up and finish the dress before I’m too big to wear it!

What do you think? Do you have other fabric suggestions? A better idea for the trim? Sewing tips? Would you rather donate your services as a photographer or help with the sewing? Do you have a dress form I could borrow? Any and all thoughts are welcome! I am worried about this: is it inappropriate for me to ask for monetary aid if I’m going to wear the dress myself? If so, I am perfectly happy to feel absolute joy in making it, in working with such gorgeous fabric and immediately passing it on to someone else who needs it. Do please help me organize this in the best possible way! I have the best possible intentions.

6 Comments

  1. I think this is a wonderful idea and I have been entertaining a similar idea myself :) Now I just need to find a dress form! I think I will make it one of my goals for 2012. Thank you for blogging :) Your voice is appreciated.

    January 30, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      Thank you for stopping by! I have given up on the idea of owning a *real* dress form, although I have a truly adorable one for making little people clothes (my niece is a four-year-old fashionista). I’m lucky enough to have measurements that usually fit the random measurements they use for the patterns. If you have a willing friend, some duct tape and some time, you can make your own dress form! The only criticism I hear about the duct tape dress form is that your pins might get sticky. I also found this blog about vintage/retro sewing that is pretty awesome. I’m thinking of emailing her for help if I can get this off the ground.

      January 30, 2012
      Reply
      • Ooh! The duct tape dress form is definitely something to look into! Thanks so much for the recommendations!

        January 31, 2012
        Reply
        • Anne-Marie said:

          You’re welcome! I get so excited to find useful sewing help; it saves me from throwing my scissors.

          January 31, 2012
          Reply
  2. […] the time I read that, I was already thinking that this woman obviously needs to have the Traveling Red Dress I am making the second I am done with […]

    February 5, 2012
    Reply

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