I began working with Giulia way back when we were writing the projects for Oliver + S Little Things to Sew. Giulia is Italian (her husband is a diplomat, and they came to the United States on a consular appointment), and she trained in costume design in Venice and Paris. Before coming to the States, Giulia worked in costume workshops for opera companies in London, Paris, and Venice. She has also worked with the Metropolitan Opera here in New York.
I am very fortunate to be able to work with Giulia because whenever I run stuck on how to construct a detail in a garment, Giulia always comes up with an innovative solution. All the patterns we make are better as a result of Giulia’s contributions.
Last year, we were invited to create a special garment by our friends at BurdaStyle for their book project, The BurdaStyle Sewing Handbook. The book has just come out, and you can see a preview of it on the BurdaStyle site.
The book is based on an interesting concept. It provides a small number of pattern blocks for basic designs and then shows how a number of BurdaStyle members and designers customized them to create unique, one-of-a-kind garments.
BurdaStyle was interested in having a contribution from Oliver + S featured in the book, but there were no children’s items included in their projects. That’s where Giulia took over.
Giulia started with the adult dress pattern featured in the book. She redrafted the pattern in a child’s size 3T (which is our standard sample size), in the process translating the style into one that would be appropriate for a three-year-old girl.
The adult sized dress was cut at the waist. Giulia kept the princess seams of the original, but she dropped the waist down, added a ruffle, and added an extra layer to the flounce around the neckline. These small changes translated the style from a very grown-up dress to a sophisticated but still appropriate dress for a child.
One challenge of the project was that we were provided with a silk fabric for the garment in a color that you would not typically choose to use for a child’s dress. Giulia decided to brighten up the fabric by including a little flash of color. She used a very narrow zigzag stitch in turquoise around the neck flounces to give the ruffles some additional definition and to add a pop of color.
When it came time to decide on a back closure, Giulia found a zipper in the stock here at the studio that matched the thread color perfectly. It’s a large, chunky zipper which, again, is something that you might not ordinarily think to use in a child’s garment. But inserting it into the back of the dress provided a playful detail that makes the dress unique. It’s not a delicate detail at all, but it works with the dress.
And here is the dress featured in the book.
Join me in congratulating Giulia on her project for The BurdaStyle Sewing Handbook.