Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Custom Mermaid Inspired Sundress

Here is yet another bucket list item I crossed off recently:
#43 Have a garment custom made

When I wrote this list I was thinking the "garment" in question would be a suit or ball gown or something decadent, but as fate would have it, I stumbled into a situation and ended up custom ordering an adorable sundress on Etsy!

If you don't know about Etsy, I'm sorry to fill you in - because you will probably become addicted and spend both hours and fortunes lost in all the treasures. Etsy is an online marketplace for crafters and artisans, where anyone can set up their own shop and sell their handmade, vintage, or craft supplies. It's sort of like Ebay but with set prices instead of auctions, and instead of used crap it's all either new or vintage. So far there's a lot less fraud and crap to get in the way, so it feels much more secure, though I suppose it only takes a few bad apples...

I love etsy.

They also have a special section called "alchemy" where you can essentially post a "want ad" and anyone with a shop can respond to your request with a bid to complete the project. I originally posted an ad looking for a mermaid COSTUME (back way before the Coney Island Mermaid Parade), then in talking with one of the shop owners who responded, came up with the idea of doing a less literal adaptation in sun dress form.

Custom made just for me!

I accepted NancyNeedlesandPens bid, because she had an established shop with a good history, and her clothes looked high quality and cute. She had mostly done kids stuff, but I figured that worked in my favor as far as durability :) It was actually a child's sundress that inspired my design, I liked the tiered ruffles idea. We emailed and I sent her my measurements, design, and fabrics.

I did a drawing of what I was hoping for - tiered skirt, halter top, appliques on the bust, and a low back to show off my tattoo. She found a pattern that accomplished most of that, and we agreed on changes to the back & skirt (less wide). She was fantastic and I LOVE the final product! We made a few adjustments as the process unfolded, and I was very pleased with the final product - the photo above is what she sent me to approve just before she sent it across the country to me (I believe she's in Oregon or Washington - looks like maybe on the water!).

I didn't end up wearing it to the Mermaid Parade, the pull of spectacle and sequins was too great and I decided to go much bigger for the actual festival (and then scrapped that and went in a 3rd direction once I actually got to New York), but I do think this dress is fantastic and I will make good summer use of it. It definitely suits my personality :) and it's all cotton, so completely washable and easy to care for!

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