THE SEWING DIVAS sewing, design, fashion

October 4, 2009

Gail Gondek at The Center for Pattern Design Conference

 San Francisco California Oct 2, 2009

evening ensembleSilk charmeuse lined suede shell with pick stitch detail around armholes and hem over sequined skirt. Worn with a silk/wool angled circle wrap and stone disk pendant on a black silk cord. – Gail Gondek patterns for Ralph Rucci

The Center for Pattern Design held its first annual conference on Saturday. Pattern designers and educators from near and far came to talk about their art, and listen to a great group of people involved in designing and making patterns at the all day conference.

Julian Roberts spoke about his methods of subtraction cutting, with great folded paper demos of how it’s done, along with some of dresses made by participants at the previous day’s hands-on workshop.

The keynote speaker was Gail Gondek, who has designed patterns for Ralph Rucci and Peter Som, after many years working with Geoffrey Beene. She talked about some of her experiences working with a designer to create their vision in cloth, about the process of taking a design from concept to the runway. Afterwards, we got to look at some of her pieces from Ralph Rucci, inside and out.

Wtih Gail’s permission, I took a few photos to share with you, knowing you would love to see some of these details as much as I did.

This silk dress had his signature back zipper set into the side panel instead of the center back seam.

dressdress back detaildress back


Here’s a detail of the front of this dress. A spaghetti cording is whipped to the body with silk embroidery thread, the same detail as seen on the center back.

dress top

I loved the easy ‘floating away from the body’ shape of this black sheath dress –

sheath sidesheath backsheath back detail





Check out its lovely little peek-a-boo detail at the lower center back – just a little surprise – in an area where most women still can show a flash of skin and get away with it, no matter what your age. The display mannequins are covered in black leather, so the contrast doesn’t show up so much as it would if skin was showing thru the cut out.

The fabric is a double face wool crepe – a truly wonderful soft but firm hand. That’s a fabric that I will have to look into. If you have seen any in your travels, let us know!




The peek-a-boo detail was used on this jacket as well, on both the front and back. The contrast satin insets at the waist seam are a nice touch too.

jacket frontjacket back


Sigh! Wouldn’t this jacket just be lovely over that sheath dress…??

Thanks to Gail for sharing some of her great work. I am looking forward to next year’s conference already.


  1. Oh my! Aren’t those piece’s lovely. The peek-a-boo detail is ingenious. I am sure you had a great time.

    Linda T

    Comment by vernonfashionstudio — October 5, 2009 @ 2:02 am

  2. My, my, my, When I first took note of Ralph Rucci, I said to myself—well just wait and see maybe he is just a one-hit (season) wonder, but every time I see something new from him I am more and more enthralled. Love the seam lines, and detail. Thank you so much for giving a peek look at this.

    Comment by Cathryn R. — October 5, 2009 @ 4:04 am

  3. Just looked around and found some double faced wool crepe listed at, but the listing says it is not available, but that it is re-orderable, so I guess that means it could be available some time in the future.

    Comment by Cathryn R. — October 5, 2009 @ 4:16 am

  4. Gee this stuff is great with really great design details…love those details

    Comment by ClaireOKC — October 5, 2009 @ 8:51 am

  5. I may have to copy that center back peek-a-boo detail some day!

    Comment by Mary Beth — October 5, 2009 @ 9:19 am

  6. Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you!

    Comment by Gwen — October 5, 2009 @ 9:02 pm

  7. I love the clean lines and beautiful soft grey wool. The little peep hole is very elegant.

    Comment by Pam — October 6, 2009 @ 9:19 am

  8. Wow! Thanks for sharing this!! What an amzing little detail!

    Comment by Angelia — October 6, 2009 @ 1:55 pm

  9. Thank you so much for those lovely pics . I wonder how the peek holes were made ?? Are there tiny little faceings or is it all lined and then constructed ?? Did you happen to find out. I love the subtle tease of the peephole so much more stylish than having boobs spilling out of dresses slashed to the waist. My dad always said that it is what you dont see that is alluring !!! Thanks again for your generosity Georgene!!

    Comment by marianne — October 6, 2009 @ 5:27 pm

  10. Thanks so much for sharing the photos of Gail’s Ralph Rucci pieces. I love looking at unique details like those shown. It sounds like it was a great conference.

    Comment by Audrey — October 21, 2009 @ 12:30 pm

  11. Hello,
    first visit here, but i keep the way: so nice blog!

    first i wish an happy, healthy new year with many marvellous clothes!

    What a source of inspiration here! and well finished work, sure i’ll come back

    Comment by sensoussi — January 6, 2010 @ 6:07 am

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