Cross-mixing two historic techniques into one modern day couture dress design


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Date of Defense


Date of Graduation



Family and Consumer Sciences

First Advisor

Mary Simpson

Second Advisor

Patti Borello

Third Advisor

Emily Kelley


This creative works project consists of designing and sewing a couture dress. It is firmly believed that the preservation of historical garments is crucial to creating modern-day designs. The inspiration was pulled from two eras throughout the twentieth century. The main inspiration was a 1930’s couture bias-cut dress from the Western Michigan University Historic Garment Collection. The additional technique used was color blocking from the 1960s. In order for fashion to continue to change and develop, extensive evaluations must be performed on historical techniques to redefine new trends season after season.

The purpose of the historical interpretation project is to research two different techniques and cross-reference them to create one modern-day style couture dress. These techniques include coloring blocking from the 1960s and the bias-cut from the 1930s.

The text Madeline Vionnet by Betty Kirke, was referenced to understand the silhouette and how to pattern on the bias. Advice from the committee was used as an aid when producing the garment. The fashion fabric of the dress is 100% silk charmeuse and includes a silk dupioni underlining. It is finished with a hibati silk lining. All of the fabric was hand-dyed using four different colors inspired by the houses in Cinque Terre, Italy.

It is the intent of this creative project to inform the public on the importance of restoring historical techniques for the advancement of the future of the fashion industry.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Open Access

Reflection Paper.pdf (216 kB)
Reflection Paper

presentation.pdf (3028 kB)
Defense Presentation

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