Having slept on it for two days, I’ve decided that I like the three-leaf cluster at the shoulder and the one leaf falling. I’m going to stick with it, and spend at least part of today playing around with surface design to make the leaves more interesting.
Here is what I have chosen for colors and sizes (the orange leaf is actually darker, about the orange of the light panel at the waistline – the camera flash washed it out):
Color-wise, the three leaves at top are drawn from the rest of the piece, specifically: light panel at waist, dark panel at shoulder, and dark panel at hip. This helps draw the piece together. The falling leaf is one of the only colors that hasn’t been used in the three-leaf cluster, the plum from the dark panel at waistline. Again, it echoes the dark panel and helps draw the piece together.
I like the shapes of the leaves in the cluster; the single falling leaf will be a different fabric and a different shape. Most likely either peau de soie, silk duppioni, or either of those covered with a scrunch-dyed silk chiffon. I’m deliberately choosing stiffer fabrics that will hold their shape; I want them to stand up from the fabric slightly, given a little bit of three-dimensionality without attracting so much attention as to dominate.
I am still debating the color of the embroidery swirls (not shown in photo). I need them to be visible from 20 feet (because it is a runway garment) but I also don’t want to make them heavy-looking; they need to look like wind blowing. I am thinking of adding a little gold paint and/or metallic gold embroidery to the leaves; perhaps I’ll use one strand of orange embroidery floss and either a transparent or a gold sparkle thread for the swirls. The sparkle thread will add interest close up, the embroidery floss will be visible from a distance. I need to test various threads, leaves, etc. before deciding.