The Making of a Dress: Step 3 - Good Grades

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Okay, class, so far this week we've learned about the first two steps in dress-making — measuring and cutting the pattern as well as fitting the look on a fit model. Now, we're movin' on to the next step in the production of Mondo Guerra's winning Project Runway All Stars dress.

Nanette Lepore's production development manager Chris Stoia is back to fill us in on the "grading" stage of this intense four-month process.

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"Grading is when they take the size we fit and scale the pattern up and down to create the full range of sizes," says Stoia, who notes that they cut only one dress — as opposed to one of each size — because they fit on only one size, usually a Size 8 model. With this dress, they used a Size 2 and had some of Nanette Lepore's own designers act as fit models.

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"Then the pieces are made into markers where they are arranged to get the best utilization of fabric," Stoia says. "You want to waste as little fabric as possible so it's important to arrange the fabric pieces close together. That's done on a computer, then printed out on paper."

"A copy goes to the cutting room — along with the cutting ticket that tells how many to cut in each size," Stoia notes. "The cut work is bundled up and sent to the factory that will sew the garment together."

The Making of a Dress Giveaway!

The silk dress is already sold out at nanettelepore.com, for $298, but fear not! You can still get your hands on Mondo's dress — for free! — in our Twitter "The Making of a Dress" giveaway!

To enter to win, just follow @nanettelepore and @marieclaire on Twitter and send a tweet with the hashtag #MondosDress by Friday March 16 at 12 p.m. EST. The winner will be announced on Friday!

NEXT UP! Tomorrow, we'll discover what happens in "The Making of a Dress" Step 4: All Sewn Up.

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