The Making of a Dress: Step 1 - There's a Pattern Here

Courtesy of Nanette Lepore

On this past week's episode of Project Runway All Stars, the four remaining designers were tasked with designing a ready-to-wear look on budget for New York City-based designer Nanette Lepore. The winning dress would then be produced and sold in Nanette Lepore boutiques nationwide. The hour-long ep, as always, showcased the typical goings-on — a few breakdowns, more than a few concerned glances from mentor Joanna Coles, and runway show in which one designer is aufed (this time, Kenley Collins) and another, in true phoenix-rising-from the ashes-style, wins (this time, print-mixer-extraordinaire Mondo Guerra).

But what happens next? The dresses don't just make themselves, after all. With the help of Nanette Lepore's production development manager Chris Stoia, we follow Mondo's "tincan with a string" dress — over the course of four months — from start to finish as it's patterned, cut, graded, sewed, and shipped.

But before we get started…

The Making of a Dress Giveaway!

The silk dress is already sold out at, 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!

Now, let's go back in time a bit to...

STEP 1: There's a Pattern Here

"The first step to producing Mondo's winning dress was to make a pattern for our fit model," says Stoia, who oversees how all the clothes are made. "The pattern is printed out on paper first. That pattern is draped on a dress form and then entered into the computer." He adds that this initial draping is done on a dress form because fit models are expensive and pattern-making is a thoughtful, laborious process.

Courtesy of Nanette Lepore
Courtesy of Nanette Lepore

These initial steps all take place in New York City's Garment Center at Nanette Lepore's studio.

Courtesy of Nanette Lepore

"Then the cutter spreads the fabric and cuts out the new fit garment using the print out," Stoia tells us. "He cuts just one, because we're only making one for a production fitting."

Courtesy of Nanette Lepore
Courtesy of Nanette Lepore

NEXT UP! Tomorrow, we'll discover what happens in "The Making of a Dress" Step 2: Fit for a Lady.

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