Chainmail Dress - Spider Edition | Sewing Project.
As it is Halloween I thought it would be proper to share this tale of a dress I made many years ago. In my senior year of high school I really thought I was going to get a degree in fashion design, or perhaps an engineering degree - but I digress. I was accepted at SCAD and was desperately working for scholarships to pay the $80,000 tuition. The school hosts an opportunity call the SCAD Challenge where you had to design an outfit for them to judge, possibly winning a scholarship. There was a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place with a couple of honorable mentions. I made it passed the first few rounds but ended but not getting anything, nevertheless the dress still remains one of my favorite pieces to date.
The idea actually came to me two years ago on a plane ride back from Sweden to the States with my brother. We were on the final leg of our flight and it was about 22:00 US Central time and we had both been up for 24 hours so instead of sleeping we chatted. When Chris and I talk the topics range from Politics to Star Wars to the newest element on the Periodic Table, however this time we landed on my fashion design and his chainmail work. Chris has always had a huge interest in blacksmithing, and since he couldn’t exactly do that in the summer heat of Florida, he picked up making chainmail in his Junior Year of high school. He made himself a full steal chainmail suite including a golden griffin on the chest, out of a pile of wire and his hands. He also made me some really pretty earrings that I still wear (not out of steal though). In college this earned him his nickname “Chainmail” and he had no problems there because as put “No one wants to mess with someone to bends steal as a hobby.”
As I stated before we were both jetlagged and we started talking about the unconventional challenges on Project Runway. One of us came up with the idea to do a complete fashion line out of chainmail, I pulled out my sketchbook and came up with the dress that I would make only a few months from then. The design was a white underdress with a black spider web design over it made out of chainmail.
Frankly, no clue what I was thinking because: 1. I hate spiders 2. I've never worked with chainmail
Nevertheless when the competition came up a few months later I wanted to make that dress.
As per family tradition, anything worth doing is worth overdoing. Therefore why by premade ring when you can coil and cut the steal (aluminum) yourself?
Making the chainmail takes quite a bit of time and A LOT of patience, but after awhile I got the hang of it. I had to hand stitch all the chainmail onto the dress and even than we had to be extremely careful when picking it up and putting it on. After a month’s worth of work the finished product looked like this:
I called this dress “My Quest” because it was a long journey and it was in “my quest” to be able to go to SCAD, cheesy maybe but true. The Spider web pattern was showing the different paths and how it can so easily get tangled. The Cross on her shoulder was to represent God lighting the way and clearing out the webs and showing the path we’re suppose to be on.
The back is not as exciting, nor as detailed, but I still like the way the chainmail hangs. Here are some close ups on the Chainmail:
It was a fun project to make; plus I got to watch my friend figure out what to do with the claymore we handed her!
Photography & Editing: @kelleyslinn