A little while ago I blogged about drafting a dress from a photo I had seen in the Vogue Pattern book. I’ll show you here how I turned that pattern into a real-life dress. The original was a shift style dress in denim and I had intended to make a close copy in the traditional fabric until Minerva Crafts offered me some emerald green denim dress fabric to play with. Here is the fabric, I hope you can see how gorgeous the colour and the fabric itself are.
Heres how the dress evolved, the blue changed to green and that dictated some contrasting topstitching. The usual yellow/gold wouldn’t work here and I debated red, purple and orange before selecting a strong cobalt blue for embellishment.
Taking my freshly made pattern I laid everything out to cut it. I have christened the pattern Prairie and just to make myself happy.
I actually made a toile! This is major for me as I never used to. I’m a dive in person, I like to get going and I kinda like a bit of instant gratification so I never used to think that I could spend the time doing ‘practice’ versions. However, for an article made purely from imagination and with a collaboration with another party a trial was indeed necessary. It was just as well as my sizing was far from accurate.
I had to make quite a few alterations before using my ‘real ‘ dress. So changes were made and I prepared to do the real thing.
As luck would have it I unearthed a forgotten sewing tool. I had some Burda carbon paper which I used to trace out my notches and mark all of the darts in position. See – I’m trying to do things properly!
Once everything was cut out, I finished all the edges with the overlocker (btw I love overlocking) and stitched and pressed all of the darts.
The bit that I found most taxing was getting the pockets right. The top-stitched seam is interrupted by inset pockets and I had to work out how to do this. In the end, I had to topstitch in two phases.
Insert the pockets and topstitch them, then join the mid front to the side front and do that topstitching.
Once the front was done, I then dealt with the back. I had decided that I wanted an exposed zip in this dress to add a bit of detail. I chose a cobalt blue zip with very shiny gold hardware. I’m really pleased with this decision.
As I had made a toile (a departure for me) I had most details in place. A few more tweaks were required for the back darts and zip but I think with practice I can improve these.
Now it came to the skirt section, I had originally thought I would put a split in the back but I decided to join the two back pieces, as the dress is quite short, a split would be heading too close to the core so to speak. (Note to self, I think I wanted this dress a little longer.)
I attached the skirt pieces to the front and back, stitched and then overlocked them, finally, I joined the two sides carefully making sure that all the seams and topstitching matched. (Time for the seam ripper) Then when the garment was finally one piece I did a fitting and then finished the neckline, sleeves and hem.
There’s a bit of work to perfect this dress but I’m so happy that I have drafted and sewn a simple dress with a few technical features and it fits and looks more or less like I intended it. I packed it to take away on holiday and I wore it for my birthday meal on the Brittany coast.
Tweaks that I would make to this dress are in the length, I’ve decided I would actually make it bit longer both the hemline and the bodice. An adjustment that you can’t see is the pockets. I made mine far too shallow, so next time they will be increased in size. All in all, though I’m pretty pleased with my latest make.
Tell me about your first forays into drafting your own patterns. It’s exciting, isn’t it?