I did an interview with dress Designer, and my good friend, Sara Ditlev. Sara discovered her love for beautiful dresses in a very early age and decided to do an internship as a Designer for a smaller women-wear brand. She soon learned that designing in front of a computer did not stimulate her creativity or passion for craftsmanship. Later she found her way into a Tailor School. This was a good place for her to develop techniques, forming her style and learn to create beautiful design. Today Sara has launched her own dress-making business where women can order the dress of their dreams.
How is your design process from start to finish?
I start my design process with inspiration. Inspiration can come from many things like I traveled to New York this Spring and went to a market place where a bought some great beaded fabrics that inspired me for my latest collection. I can also be inspired by history or dress silhouettes. I use different creative tools to manage my inspiration. I can create a mood board with pictures, material cuts, pearls, words, graphics etc. I use draping: take your fabric and drape it directly on the mannequin to see how the fabric behaves. I make collages: gather different sizes and shapes e.g. a rose petals, sea shells or tear-outs from magazines. Or, I can use social medias like my Pinterest or Instagram.
Sketching is a way to visualize the final dress as a whole. I use pencils and colors to transform my thoughts and inspiration into something more tangible.
I create a pattern for the dress to test the construction and have something to make alterations from. It is a good idea to save your patterns for later creations. You might be able to re-use some of the measurements and save some time.
The mock-up can be done with papir or cotton canvas. Papir is a great idea for mock-up since you also create the pattern at the same time. Using cotton canvas for mock-up helps you get a sense of how the fabric falls and will shape itself onto the body. Draping is an even more open and free-spirited whereas the stiffness of papir and cotton canvas does not have the same abilities.
When the dress is custom made it is important to correct any larger alterations before the dress is sewn. Designers use fittings to adjust the measurements to the customers body. When the dress is finished and made in the expensive fabric with hours of beadings you don’t want to make big changes – this will ruin the overall look. Minor changes like the skirt length or an adjusted button can of course be necessary.
Now you are ready to sew the dress. Hopefully you have access to all the necessary equipment like a backstitch industrial sewing machine, a steam plant and press tools.
I am very inspired by the 1920s with embroideries and a lot of craftsmanship. People were not afraid to dress up!