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!
The blue lobster silk this morning wasn’t exactly a surprise, but I’m delighted with him! Woohoo! We can make a Lobster Dress now!
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.)
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.
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.
I’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.
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 sewingcake.com 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.
I’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!