midnight petals | oxblood ombre couture gown

“He who dares not grasp the thorn should never crave the rose.” 
― Anne Brontë 

{ photos shot by AXL Photography | retouched & gown design by Judy C Yang }
"There might be millions of roses in the whole world, but you're my only one, unique rose.
It's the time you spent on your rose that makes your rose so important." 
― Le petite prince

Photos shot by Tessa Saccone | Lace dress by Yvonne Luong
While studying intimate apparel at FIT, there was the chance to enter the Femmy Awards contest. It was the perfect opportunity for students to showcase their talent in the lingerie design field. I wasn't sure if I would be able to complete a complicated couture garment while taking a few extra classes (because I enjoy learning!), and competing in a model contest all at the same time.

However, with the encouragement of my loved ones, I decided to take the chance. It's just as Anne Brontë said “He who dares not grasp the thorn should never crave the rose.”― if you can't take a risk, then don't dream big. I did not know what kind of pain I was in for. This super thin and sheer ombre fabric was not only difficult to sew, but cut as well. I had to tackle the problem of making sure the gradation matched on all seven panels. It had to be carefully done through cutting as well as sewing. Believe me when I say it's terrifying while cutting through $500+ worth of fabrics, because if I messed up, I couldn't afford to go back and buy more of this. I also can't make a second one in the event that the pattern didn't work out.

Once cutting was completed, sewing was an even bigger nightmare. As I mentioned, this fabric was paper thin, so sewing the chiffon and lace together with an industrial machine meant getting eaten by the presser foot. Now, I love hand sewing, but not over forty yards of lace to chiffon worth of hand sewing. It had to be done with the thinnest needle to make sure I don't puncture large holes into the chiffon that would rip it. Threading thread through this teeny tiny hole was so tricky.

Thus, my routine everyday became running home after my classes end at 6PM or 9PM to sew a few hours on the days I didn't have the model contest meetup. Weekends was the balance of model contest / shoots, and handsewing as well. I had nightmares of me sewing and sewing. I couldn't feel my fingers afterwards for months.

In between all this, I had to complete hundreds and hundreds of roses. Luckily, I had very lovely people helping me sew some for me to save time, as well as crystallizing each one. You can say my house become a sweatshop :P

When all that was finally done, I was able to treat myself to using my home machine to stitch 10 yards of lace to the hem. I thought all the hard steps was done. But here comes the scariest part, cutting off the extra chiffon that is caged between the chiffon and lace. I had panic attacks as I cut away; I was so afraid of cutting into the actual chiffon panels. I once cut into the mesh panel of a bustier homework, which was fine since the fabric was cheap and I was able to easily take out that panel and put a new one in. In this case, that would asking for the impossible. So I slowly labored away and made sure I stayed awake with lots of coffee. Luckily, mission accomplished with no casualties!

The final stages was the happiest one, such as adoring the hem with the flowers, lacing up the back, and making a matching necklace. I can finally let out a sigh of relief. All the time and care I put into this one garment made this the most special piece I have ever designed and sewn. Not just because I put all my favorite details together (lace, chiffon, ombre, roses, mermaid silhouette, lace up... I can go on and on, its basically my favorite details meshed together), but the sweat, tears and love I put into this baby.

Therefore I had to make sure my photoshoot for it did it justice. We went to the amazing Oheka Castle - yes the one Taylor Swift's "Blank Space" was shot at! From my hair, makeup to styling had to be on point. I chose this place as it fit in with the aesthetics the best - the large and beautiful windows and the romantic mood of the place. I love castles!

Oh and I had to hit the gym lots with Eileen to make sure I fit into this gown because I did not want to rip it haha. I loved the end results and as horrifying as the experience was for me, I took a lot from it. I learn couture techniques, patience (which helped the next semester), balancing my schedule to accommodate the two contests and classes, and more.

If the chance arose, I would definitely go through this type of experience again, and recommend everyone to try something for themselves once :)

Anyways, I just wanted to write down my experience before I forget it all hahaha thanks to anyone that actually read through this long entry!

First time on WWD.com!





follow my blog!

about me.

My photo

My passion lies within fashion! I love every aspect of it - from styling, designing, creating, shooting to even the details of makeup and accessory. This blog is for me to share with everyone my journey through all these hobbies (and work!) of mine. Hope you'll enjoy browsing my #10seclookbooks, photography and creations :)