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.

Givenchy: Contrast-collar Jersey Mini Dress
Givenchy: Contrast-collar Jersey Mini Dress (image:matchesfashion.com)

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.

Sew a givenchy inspired rugby dress
Option 1 and 2

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…

Sew a givenchy inspired rugby dress
Option 3

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.

Sew a givenchy inspired rugby dress
Option 4

The fabric:

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.

Sew a givenchy inspired rugby dress
The selection of medium weight viscose jersey from myfabrics.co.uk

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.

Sew a givenchy inspired rugby dress
The fabric samples I ordered

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.

Sew a givenchy inspired rugby dress
Illustration to decide which colour fabrics to order.

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.

Sew a givenchy inspired rugby dress
The different colour combinations

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!

Sew a givenchy inspired rugby dress
Fashion flat of my final design
sew a rugby dress
Illustration of my final design!