Project Barbie 01 - Designer Alan Gratz

>> Sunday, November 18, 2007

Welcome to the first week of Project Barbie! As explained in an earlier post, Project Barbie is our attempt at participating in each week's new Project Runway Season Four challenge.

This week, the Project Runway contestants were given a variety of expensive fabrics, courtesy of Mood Fabrics in New York City, and told to design dress that represented them as designers. To translate that challenge here in the wilds of North Carolina, we decided to use fabrics from our very own "in-house Mood"--Wendi's fabric closet.

My first order of business then was selecting my fabric.

We've been watching Season Three on DVD while we wait on new episodes of Season Four, and I was inspired by Uli Herzner's fabulous use of prints, so I selected the material below for my first dress. My first dress ever, as I'd never done this before.

Since I'm a novice, we're also bending one of Project Runway's rules - thou shalt not use patterns. Since there's no $100,000 prize at the end of this and we didn't sign any contracts saying we wouldn't, Wendi graciously offered me the use of a Barbie pattern kit she'd bought a while back. I am learning all this for the first time, after all.

Being insane, of course, I decided I wouldn't just use one of the patterns straight up. Instead, I wanted to modify it some. Yes, I had a vision. Not a burning bush kind of vision, but a vision of what I hoped would be a dynamic and stylish runway dress for my model.

First I pressed the material:

Then cut out the parts of the pattern I wanted to use . . .

And then learned how to use a sewing machine. I have sewn one other thing in my life--a skirt I wore around campus in my undergraduate days at UT (it's a long story)--but that had been all straight lines. This dress had curved seams, darts, and inverse facing around the top. Nothing simple for me!

Next it was off to meet my model, Giada. That's not the name she had on the box, but Jo took one look at her and said she looked like a certain well-endowed, brunette Food Network celebrity chef we often watch, and the name stuck like melted Parmesan cheese to lasagna.

Giada is a joy to work with, but she's a bit curvier in the hips than her friend Barbie. As such, the pattern didn't really fit. In true Project Runway fashion, I had to make some last minute alterations and "make it work." Alas, if I continue to design for Giada (which I will unless Wendi wins her from me in a walk-off) I won't be able to use that marvelous pattern kit anymore. Giada just has a little bit more junk in the trunk, as the kids say today. This means I may have to make a dress form for her . . . at which point we will know that I am well and truly gone.

On to the runway! Here's the final result.

I'm very proud of this look, especially as it's my first dress ever. The print looks fabulous, and the dress fits well around the hips. My extra touch--small though it may be--was to make the facing at the top white and reverse it so that it folded over on the outside, creating a more finished look and framed Giada's beautiful face. The white flower barrette in her hair was taken from the Bluefly.com accessories wall, and brought things together nicely:

Boom.

If I were a woman, this is a dress I would wear! Take that, Wendi! Nina will like my dress WAY better than yours. Bring it on!

4 comments:

Erin November 18, 2007 at 11:41 PM  

Wow, I'm impressed! I love it!

Maggie November 19, 2007 at 1:14 PM  

You are going to have to start selling these in women's sizes!

Jackie Parker November 20, 2007 at 8:57 PM  

Dude. You are killing me.

Also, that dress? It Rocks.

:D

Lola,  December 23, 2007 at 11:25 AM  

The dress is gorgeous but that below-the-knee length would make a real person look dumpy. This is because Barbie is proportioned at 10 heads tall not 7 heads tall as a human....or in my case 6 heads tall.

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