Design It: Sew a Givenchy Inspired Rugby Dress
I spotted this Givenchy dress whilst window shopping at Selfridges in March. The colour blocking, curved lines and sporty style gave me instant inspiration. I knew it would make a quirky addition to my wardrobe (but I couldn’t afford the hefty price tag) so I added it to my list of sewing projects. Unfortunately, it has taken me almost 7 months to get started, which is far too long! But I wanted to finish my existing projects of a satin evening jacket, a Balmain dress and an Alexander McQueen dress.
The shape and style:
When creating my garment it was important for me to make my own interpretation and not just copy the Givenchy dress. I wanted to be able to put my own spin on it. There were elements that I wanted to incorporate in my design as well as those that I did not.
The main components of the Givenchy dress that I planned to use in my design were the contrasting white collar and button placket and the colour blocking, as this creates a really striking look. I will also make mine close fitting as this will give it a sense of femininity. Also, if it is too loose it may end up just looking like an oversized rugby shirt.
One of the things I intended to change was the curved hem as I preferred a regular straight hem. I thought it was a bit more sporty and it’s a lot easier to sew. Givenchy used decorative cuffs with buttons, however, I didn’t think this would add anything to the look. So I thought I would save the hassle, eliminate the cuff and use a standard straight sleeve. I also wanted a more traditionally shaped collar although I would still make mine oversized.
How to arrange the colour blocks:
Once I had settled upon the key features of the dress I had to figure out how I was going to arrange the colour blocks.
My first option was to mimic a more traditional rugby shirt with either 4 rectangles of colour or a single stripe across the chest. Although, in my opinion it was a bit boring.
I also considered replicating the curved lines of the Givenchy dress. However, that thought filled me with dread! I imagined that trying to match the curves whilst avoiding puckered seams would be a bit of a nightmare! Also, I don’t think my husband could deal with my constant swearing and bad moods when something didn’t go quite to plan…
The other option was to split the dress into irregular shapes using gentle curved lines. This was my preference as it was a little unusual. I knew it would be a challenge to make all the shapes match up but I thought I could do it.
Once I had finalised the shape of the garment I had to decide upon the fabric and colour scheme I would use. I choose to use a viscose jersey as that is what’s used in the Givenchy dress. Additionally, I had never sewed with viscose before so I liked the idea of working with a new material. Myfabrics.co.uk had a large variety of medium weight viscose jerseys in a multitude of colours and shades. I needed to choose 3 colours for my design. I was torn between the idea of having a dress with 3 different shades of the same colour e.g. purple or 3 completely different colours that can work together.
In the end I opted for the bolder option of three different colours. The four colours that caught my eye were red, petrol, orange, and fuchsia. Therefore, I ordered a sample of each so I could place them next to each other and see how well they worked together.
I also did a couple of illustrations comparing each of the colour combinations using adobe illustrator. To get an accurate representation I took the RGB colours from the photos on the website. I was torn between the combination of orange, red and blue or orange, fuchsia and blue. Both options were pretty cool but I finally picked orange, red and blue. There may have been a risk of clashing with the alternative.
Now I had settled on the colour scheme I had to choose how I was going to combine the colours, i.e which shape would be made out of which colour. To do this I made a few more illustrations each with a different colour arrangement. My favourite was version 3.
The Final Design:
Overall I produced 12 illustrations of this dress. Although, it may seem like a lot of effort producing these iterations it has helped me make an informed decision as to what fabrics to use. Also I now have a better understanding of what my final garment will look like. So now I am super excited to get sewing.
Here is my final design!