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Jessica Chastain's Black Alexander McQueen Dress

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Arts and Crafts Functional Trend - Jessica Chastain Black McQueen Dress
Jessica Chastain's Black Alexander McQueen Dress

Jessica Chastain attends the 2013 National Board Of Review Awards Gala

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The first article in this series discusses the on-trend red Prada dress Jessica Chastain wore to the 18th Annual Critics' Choice Movie Awards. The jeweled neckline on that dress is very popular this year and could easily be incorporated in bridal or prom arts and crafts. This article gives you more information about the black Alexander McQueen dress Jessica Chastain recently wore with honeycomb gold embroidered detail around its circular neckline.

Reminiscing About Bib Necklaces

In 2009 and forward, bib necklaces were (and still are to a certain extent) very popular. As you might have guessed, a bib necklace is quite oversized, falling from wearer's neck, filling in the front of their garment. Many a red carpet moment from the 2009 through 2011 incorporated a full-out bib necklace. While the McQueen embroidered detail is scaled back, it retains some of the bib-like features from it's popular predecessor.

I particularly like this design since it could be added to a summer-weight wool blouse, tank or dress for day wear. Red carpet, this dress was worn by Chastain at just below knee length. I'm not sure what fabric McQueen used. Wool, nice synthetics or heavy weight silk would be my picks.

Making the McQueen Design Your Own

As you might have guessed, the embroidery on the McQueen dress is very elaborate, done by hand and is prohibitively time-consuming for the average arts and crafts business owner. A practical substitution is to use bridal lace.

You can buy bridal lace by the yard or as trim. If buying yardage, carefully cut at the edge of the embroidered sections, and the fabric should not fray. Using bridal trim would be less time-consuming as you'd only have to manipulate the trim to form the design you wanted to go around the front of the garment instead of going through the hoopla of cutting sections out of yardage.

Bridal lace often times only comes in white or pastel colors. Use gold metallic fabric paint to add pizzazz to the fabric. Make sure to first test the paint on a scrap of fabric to see if you get the effect you are looking for. I recommend buying the bridal lace/trim at a local fabric shop so you can really check out the fabric prior to clunking down the money for it.

Note that it's 3-dimensional. You could make some fabric flowers to add to the design.

After you are happy with your design, I recommend using fabric stiffener to hold your design in place and to keep the edges in check. In addition to the bridal trim, think about adding on some velvet ribbon or other embellishments to the bridal lace trim.

Like the jeweled neckline shown in the first page of this series of articles, you can make the neckline embellishment stand-alone. I would sew a few pin components to the back of the piece for customer convenience. This also makes cleaning the garment a breeze as you can remove the embellishment prior to cleaning the main garment.

Substituting Pin Neckline Embellishments

Another suggestion to make this look your own is using brooches or pins to ornament the neckline. On the cover of the January 18, 2009 issue of Parade magazine, Michelle Obama wears a sleeveless dress in the purple family with three neckline embellishments.

These embellishments may be an actual part of the dress. However, this look is very easy to duplicate with gold-filled brooches or label pins that you handcraft and market for this purpose through your arts and crafts business. You could also experiment with the look by running three brooches vertically down the center front of the garment.

The next page in this series discusses the Gucci flowered neckline dress recently worn by Anne Hathaway.

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