Friday, March 8, 2013

DIY Dolce & Gabbana rafia and coral dress

Because of my deep love for coral, the pieces that I loved the most from the Dolce & Gabbana summer 2013 runway show were the ones made with rafia and coral embellishments.

all photos : Vogue

The dress in the center will be the one getting 

the DIY treatment 

for the "pick your DIY" collaboration

I didn't dare to sew magillions of tiny beads and coral parts on it: therefore I took a shortcut, with a similar  final effect.... ready?

left: polyvore - collage by moi

Because it's still early in the season, I couldn't find a tunic or a dress to modify.
So I made my own.
I used linen fabric in natural color.

The base dress: pattern

I cut out two pieces of fabric with a trapeze or "A" shaped line, based on a similar dress that I own.
Because I'll most likely use this as a bikini coverup, I didn't want to have a zipper: it's a loose fit, that I can pull on easily, and I added a little shape by having a fold in the top part of the back that will be let open in the bottom part, two darts reprises to give a little waist, and two reprises in the front for the breast.

Note: once the two parts will be sewn together, the bottom need to be cut shorter on the outer edges of the "A" to make sure that you'll have a straight edge once it's on.
I had my mom helping me with a ruler while I was wearing it, and marking with pins all around.

The"not-coral" embellishments

The embellishments on this dress were made using lace motif appliques.
(Similar to these here and here).
They were ivory and white and I dyed using Pebeo Setacolor Transparent in Cardinal Red, applied both on the front and on the back side with a sponge.
Let dry (overnight - since this kind of lace is quite thick) and press the lace embellishments on reverse and on the right side, to make sure that the dye is perfectly set.

I then proceed to divide one of the appliques in several parts (because of the way these are made they won't fray and I'll be able to use the parts as small appliques rather than buying more small ones)

Adjust all the appliques on the front and back part of the dress to create your design.
Just pay attention to symmetry. 
If you're going to modify an existing dress, it's better to take the seams apart.

Sewing all the motifs while flat makes it much easier.
Once you're happy with the design, pin in place and sew. (I took a picture of the arrangement, then pin and sew the big one in the center first, and proceed to pin and sew one at the time).
(I ended up not using the small three flowers with leaves.)
Because I wanted some of the motifs going across the shoulders, I first sew the part on the front and back, then sew together the shoulder seams, press it flat, and finish with the appliques.

Patiently sew along the edges and in some of the inner parts of the bigger pieces to secure in place.

The frayed edges

I used a Rotary Cutter to cut 5 strips along the selvage of the fabric:
two of the size of the bottom parts of the dress, 1-1-4" wide
two to fit around the sleeves 7/8" wide
and one to fit around the neck. 7/8" wide

Sew a zig-zag stitch just on the selvage to secure the edge.

The linen fabric will fray very easily, just use a needle to pull from the side the horizontal fibers, and keep pulling the fibers until you reached the zig-zag stitch on the selvage.

In case you're going to modify an existing dress: you can buy a fringe trim.

I sew a zig zag stitch around the edges that will have the fray trims on, and then bast the trim in place and sew it on using Twin Needles Size 80 - 3.0mm.

and here it is my Dolce&Gabbana inspired dress:

... and get in the mood for summer (I'm so ready!!) watching the hole Dolce&Gabbana show:

xox, d.

keep in touch! 


  1. è spettacolare! Che precisione con i bordi del pizzo e che bello il dettaglio delle frange!! :o

  2. Really very smart of you to use cut work appliques

  3. WOW! Eyecatching!

  4. Donatella - of course you couldn't be content with just dyeing the lace appliques but had to make an entire dress too! You put other DIYers to shame LOL! This is really an amazing DIY and I am just thinking summer looking at it - while looking out at the newly fallen snow here. Posted photos on my Tumblr truebluemeandyou (of course not of the actual tutorial) and a link back to you.

  5. looks really cool!!

  6. I'm really impressed!
    is wonderful!
    no words!



  7. Lovely! I like the frayed edges idea so much!

  8. OMG Donatella! This is absolutely INCREDIBLE!! You've truly outdone yourself, this is incredible.
    Smart n Snazzy

  9. Great job! Your work is truly inspirational! I love this dress!

  10. You're brilliant. I don't know how many more times it can be said... but it never stops being true!!

  11. Absolutely fabulous!! I so look forward to your DIY's and they never disappoint.
    Thank you.

  12. You are just amazing! I was thinking of MAYBE tackling the earrings but you did the DRESS. With hand-dyed appliques no less!

  13. This is amazing, Donatella! I can't believe you MADE THE DRESS too, and dyed your lace! What a beautiful dupe...but I actually like yours much better than the Dolce & Gabbana original! Lovely job:-)

  14. It looks great, well done! Very similar to the inspiration piece. Dying the trims red was a great idea.

  15. wow, looks very similar! I liked your blog and followed you ;)
    would you girls also take a look at my blog too:) I'm a newbie I follow back all my followers, thanks ;)

  16. Oddio è favoloso. Lo voglio per meeee.

    1. ah!!! grazieeeee ... ma sara' il mio 'must' per l'estate!!!

  17. This is dress and the hand-dyed applique idea....are uniquely beautiful. thanks for sharing.

  18. How creative you are. Amazing knockoff.

  19. Wow this is amazing! I definitely want to try and make this :)
    Lucia's Loves


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