Waiting for a train in Ballarat

30 May 2014 Ballarat VIC 3350, Australia

Imagine having a dream that is so clear you could sketch it onto paper. So clear you could colour it for other like minds, and then work with them to bring it to life. This blog post is the result of two dreams. 

During December and January I went to New York with my lovely man. In preparation for the trip I wanted a versatile and elegant winter dress as part of the wardrobe. I couldn't find the exact thing I wanted anywhere but later was inspired by something spotted on the Facebook page for Clasch Design. Clare Schreenan's designs were beautiful, and scrolling through her Facebook feed it dawned on me that I could get the dress I wanted made. I approached Clare and we met at her studio to discuss the project. 

The dress needed to meet several requirements. It had to be warm and comfortable to wear. The sleeves had to be long and the neckline high in order to mask any thermals I might wear underneath. After laying out these parameters Clare suggested adjusting the fit to allow for extra layers and also lining the torso and sleeves of the dress to prevent materials from catching against one another. The material and make had to be of excellent quality, because I wanted this dress for life, and to pass on to the women in my family in the generations after me.

I showed her a range of images on my Pinterest (I have a board just for projects with Clare now, called Get It Made). We discussed what we liked about each of the designs as well as what would and would not work. Clare sketched as we talked, developing the idea until we had a good visual of what we would be working towards. We then went through fabric and she talked about the different properties of the fabrics and how they would work with the design.

We finally settled on an amazing Pierre Cardin black wool. I found it hard to visualise how a whole skirt would fall from one tiny section of fabric, but I had faith in Clare's knowledge. As it turned out, the material couldn't have been more perfect. During each of the fittings, I knew I wasn't the only one that was happy. Clare stood behind me in the mirror studying the dress and smiling.

The day I took it home I hung it on the back of my wardrobe door and just stared at it. It couldn't have been more perfect. To work on that with someone, and have them understand your idea so completely, was a really fulfilling process.

To go with the dress, I needed to have a particular series of images with it. My vision of it was as detailed and exact as my vision for the dress itself. The hair, the shoes, the winter hand muff: these were all carefully coordinated just for this shoot. I was fortunate enough to have my amazing friend Tegan on side for this part. When being photographed by a friend, I always feel that the rose coloured glasses they see you with are visible through the camera lens. Tegan frames shots with delicacy and affection. I see some of these pictures and think 'oh, that's what my face looks like when I look at her like that'. She has captured the mood of the scene so well, it is precisely how I imagined. It's like having the feeling of fulfillment I got when the dress was finished all over again.

Dress: My own design (with Clare Schreenan) in Pierre Cardin wool. Made by Clare at Clasch Design. (See more posts about Clasch Design)
Winter hand muff: Etsy - Sewudesigns
Shoes: Wittner (sold out)
Belt: Slim 50s Belt by Wheels and Dollbaby
Location: The historic Ballarat train station and platform bridge.
Photos: Tegan Barnes

On a side note, this beautiful hand muff was bought solely for this blog post but I can't stop coordinating it with other outfits. It's like carrying around a big squishy doona for your hands. The quality is excellent. I wish they also made them in different coloured velvets like dusty blue. They do allow custom orders though....


Ballarat is beyond compare during Autumn.

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