I wrote a post about how many different types of skirts there are, which is one of my most popular posts!
As I am studying dresses this term I thought I might zip through the main types of dress. With a dizzying array of patterns available sometimes it is easy to forget that there are just a few basic shapes that the designer plays with.
I have already written about the difference between a shift and a sheath dress, two of the most basic one piece dress designs. And just last week I covered the princess line dress. The word one-piece includes all dresses with no waist seam. Let’s just have an image of each.
- The shift tends to fall from the upper chest with some volume towards the hem (A line or wider) with minimal shaping into the waist from darts. It is fairly easy fitting with a very simple almost childish shape
- The sheath is fitted around the bust waist and hips – usually tracing the outline of the figure closely.
- The princess line is made up of horizontal sections, seamed across the bust and hips, often comprising six panels. The dress can be close or loose fitting but will follow the contours of the bust and waist, but may or may not flare out towards the hem. Many fit and flare dresses are created as a princess line dress. Of the three dresses this is the one that lends itself to the closest fit as it avoids the limitations of darts.
- The shirt dress is another very distinctive style which looks like an extended shirt, ie it has a collar, buttons down the front often to the hem and usually has shirt sleeves with cuffs. It was originally created (in the 1940s) by joining a skirt and shirt together, but it developed into a one piece dress.
- The easy fitting dress often omits darts in the body. This dress is based on a looser fitting dress block.
Turning to the two piece dress, ie dresses which have a vertical seam, usually at the waist (although this can be higher or lower too). This allows all the versions of bodices/tops to be combined with all the versions of the skirts. Here are some common options.
- The full skirted dress. Here the bodice is often fairly fitted with darts or princess seams and the skirt is gathered or pleated
- The empire line dress – the seam is placed under the bust allowing a close fit and often a more flowing skirt
- The dropped waist skirt – the waist line is closer to the hip, usually involving a fairly loose fitted bodice and a fuller skirt
Finally there are draped and asymmetrical dresses which defy the rules to some extent. These modern dresses put seam lines in unusual places to create structure, fullness or novel silhouettes. I include the technical drawings so you can see how they are shaped.
Have I missed any important categories? And which type of dress do you like making?