Nothing Makes My Merry Christmas Like a Blue Crayfish

Schiaparelli's 1937 Lobster Dress

Schiaparelli’s 1937 Lobster Dress

Last year, when my husband asked me what I wanted for Christmas, I was ready with my answer : “I want a lobster painted onto this piece of silk organza, about the size of my thigh.”  He ended up making me a very lovely and useful gift, but not the painted silk.

I couldn’t get the idea of riffing on Dali and Schiaparelli’s famous Lobster Dress out of my head, and over the past year Stephen and I tossed around ideas for the project.  Last week, he came home with a bag of fabric medium and paints for silk- and asked for my organza!  I was so excited!  He then kept me in the dark about the project, locking himself up in the study to paint and keeping the door closed at all times.    Such fun!

Blue Lobster Dress | Right Side | 3 Hours PastThe blue lobster silk this morning wasn’t exactly a surprise, but I’m delighted with him!  Woohoo!  We can make a Lobster Dress now!

Blue Lobster Dress | Front Tail | 3 Hours Past

I should say he’s not actually a lobster, but a native Lamington spiny crayfish.  I’m cool with that, I love the color.   Stephen and I played with the lobster concept, I’d look up tidbits of Lobster Dress lore and share them with Stephen, and in the end we decided to take the design in our own direction rather than faithfully reproduce Sciaparelli’s iconic design.

(If you’d like to see how one design student reproduced this dress, click here.)

Blue Lobster Dress | Still Drape | 3 Hours Past

Stephen chose to turn the lobster 180 degrees, so his claw reaches up the body rather than down.  The dominant color in our painting is blue, unlike the red Schiaparelli.  I wanted a tea-length Lobster Dress, and I may use blue silk rather than red for the midsection.  Otherwise, I think I’ll stay true to Schiap’s simple design to best showcase the painting.

Blue Lobster Dress | Half Circle Skirt | 3 Hours Past

I used the half-circle skirt from Tiramisu as my template to outline the skirt piece.  The center of the skirt is on the bias for optimal rippling effect.  The lobster painting is light, drapey as the silk.

Blue Lobster Dress | Dali to Schiap | 3 Hours PastI’m so excited about this dress, but I should warn you it’s a “slow” project.  I don’t want to rush the sewing, it’s more like my “Cake Relief” sewing if you know what I mean.  I’d like to finish her by March, and for the relatively simple cut I think that’s reasonable. Blue Lobster Dress | Face | 3 Hours Past

Rather than make a new post every time I work on the dress, I’ll upload in progress shots to my Lobster Dress pinboard– if you want to keep track.

I’ll be back after the holidays, and keep an eye on the site if you’re playing the Pieces of Cake game.  Piece 8 is hiding somewhere, but to make it harder I’m throwing in more copies of the other pieces.  Check it out.

Emse on her PhoneI’m also experimenting with Esme and posting to her Petit Four page during the holidays.  I’ll write all about her later, but now she has knees and fingers and elbows and a navel and lace panties!

Have a lovely holiday week!


  1. Merry Christmas BP. I just want to add that Schiaparelli’s lobster is dead and cooked hence the bright red. My crayfish is very much alive and crawling cautiously up your dress.

  2. Um, giant, gorgeous, husband-created, blue lamington spiny crayfish? Merry Christmas to you!! Awesome!!

  3. That’s super cute! At first I had thought you’d made a crayfish tulle Pavlova!

    Also, I FOUND THE 8TH PIECE AND IT’S NOT EVEN CHRISTMAS DAY YET HERE YAYYYYYYYY. This totally makes up for the horrible sweater that my aunt has given me for Christmas three years running now. *does happy Christmas pattern dance*

  4. Wow, that will make a statement dress and no mistake! What a lovely present. Hope you had a happy Christmas; I am trying to console my husband for my failure to buy brussels sprouts to go with the turkey,stuffing. sausages,potatoes etc.

  5. Oh, how utterly gorgeous! I love that it’s a crayfish instead of a lobster as well. Yay for lobster/crayfish dresses!

  6. What a FABULOUS pressie! Stephen is very talented, it’s just amazing!
    Merry Christmas to you all x

    • Yes! Next steps are to draft the bodice and find some pretty blue silk for the sash… I might have to invent an event to wear the dress… Either way, heaps of fun.

  7. Wow that boy can paint! What a lovely surprise, even if you kinda knew it was coming. Enjoy your break and may you three chill out and do silly and fun stuff together! Happy New Year.

  8. Pingback: Tips for Purchasing Fabric Online- Internationally | Lobster Silk Commissions « 3 Hours Past the Edge of the World

  9. I’ve enjoyed your blog for a long while, but haven’t stopped by much since the latest formatting change. I want to be able to read a post, then the next, then the next. Either way new to older or older to newer. But I simply can’t figure this out on your blog! I don’t want to go back to the home page and try to remember, based on your title, if I’ve read a post. Two other sewing blogs use this same format, and I’m writing the same thing to them.

    Please make this easy! Thank you.

    • Hi Te, thanks for dropping in and taking the time to share your opinion. I could change the format and might at some point, but for now I have too much on my plate to change 3 hours past. Noted though, and do please chime in on other discussions if you like.

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