The Cocktail Dress Project

Posted by Suzanne Gutierrez on

Lately, I've been planning another large-scale project. Over the summer, I documented my work as I made a Hauberk for Jeremy. I took a break from large pieces, but I've heard the siren call of a more significant project over the past few weeks. It's time to get started again.

I've wanted to make a chainmaille cocktail dress for a while. A few years ago, a friend of mine shared a photo of an unbelievably beautiful Dior dress, and I've been thinking about doing a similar style ever since.

Jennifer Lawrence wearing a black, red, gold, and white Dior dress


There are logistical issues with creating such a large piece of chainmaille, namely the weight. If I use steel, I could weld each ring to create a more structurally sound base, but the finished work would be prohibitively heavy. As I did with the Hauberk, using anodized aluminum offers a lighter fabric and a wide assortment of colors, but the rings cannot easily be welded together. In the end, I decided that I'm going to use 16 gauge, 1/4" inner diameter anodized aluminum rings with the European 4-in-1 weave. I'm always pleased with the fabric that combination yields, flexible but sturdy.

My next step was to decide which color or colors to use. That's where you came in. Earlier this week, I posted a poll on the Siouxsiequeue's Instagram and Facebook pages to help choose my next project's color palette. There were four options to choose from; 

Four color options. First; silver, pewter, and black. Second; violet, pewter, and black. Third; red, orange, and yellow. Fourth; lime green, green, and black

After reviewing and tallying all the votes, option #2, violet, pewter, and black, was the clear winner with 65% of the vote! I've ordered the materials from our supplier and will get started as soon as the supplies arrive.

A few technical notes about the project; I will use the Dior dress as mentioned above as inspiration, but my project will not be a copy because that's a crappy thing to do. The finished dress will be approximately a US women's size 6, but there isn't actually a standard in clothing sizes, and it's really just a guess. Also, my dress form is that size; a smaller piece is easier to show in the booth, will be lighter, won't take as long to make, and will use fewer materials. 

I'll post project updates here on the blog and the Siouxsiequeue's social media channels. I've been thinking about this project for a long time. I'm excited to share the progress with you as it finally comes to life.

One last note...that photo of Jennifer Lawrence was shared from the Interent and I would love to credit the photographer but I don't know who they are. It's not my photo, I'm only using for reference. If you know who took this picture, please let me know.

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