Ta da! I have made it up.
That was an exciting project. You may remember my sketch, toile and fabric.
I was required to create this dress as part of my college course. I really liked the opportunity to create all the shaping in the horizontal seams. I had tried to do this with my Mondrian dress. This time I had books and diagrams to help me. Nevertheless it required a bit of brain power as the book gave instructions for creating diagonal stripes rather than symmetrical ones, and failed to explain how the seams work from the front to the back of the garment. I created one seam line across the bust and one at the waist to get the more flattering shape, but I wasn’t sure how these seams would look on a finished garment – maybe none too subtle. My hoops were gentle, just curving by 4cms up or down on the back or front of the dress.
I had created the off the shoulder look as part of the brief and wanted to try it. I actually like this neckline on me, mainly because it creates width at the shoulder which minimises the hips. Having created the toile I took the shoulders in by about .5 – 1 cm to avoid gape. Also although I have a strapless bra it is not really ideal in terms of support and I felt that maybe these shoulder straps would slip off.
In terms of length I thought just on or below the knee would work well.
I didn’t want to buy expensive fabric for this dress so used cloth I already had at home. In my last post I asked for feedback and most suggested I stick with the navy and maroon. I decided to use all four fabrics in five blocks, for more drama. I used a plain white cotton sateen with a little stretch for the shoulder straps as I figured if I made it fairly tight it might stay up. I introduced the cute pattern (little hens) for the upper bust area. I have a few of these sweet patchwork type prints but would not want a whole garment covered in hens, so wondered if they could be used in subtle way. For the rest of the dress I used a navy linen, and a slightly lighter weight maroon linen, I thought would make up a nice skirt. By using the deeper colours for the skirt and the lighter ones at the top I planned to create the illusion of a balanced hourglass figure, rather than a slightly bottom heavy one.
One of the great advantages of making a toile is that you can practice making the garment. My toile taught me that the key with this dress is getting all the seams to line up beautifully. When I made the toile I started at the top and stitched each section to the one below it, then stitched the shoulders, and then the side seams.
For the fashion fabric version I followed this process.
- Make up shoulder and upper bust sections of dress and facings
- Stitch facings and bodice together at neck and armhole edges and turn through
- Finish by sewing the side seams of the upper bodice and facings
- Stitch the three lower sections together and attach at the side seams carefully matching the joins
- With the side seams as there is a curve on the seam use a pin to match exactly at the seam line
- Then join the upper bodice to lower bodice and skirt, carefully matching the side seams
- Baste back seam ensuring all five points are lined up, press
- Insert an invisible zip, finish the back seam and hem
I like this dress and think it is very flattering. I had considered making the skirt a bit flared, but because the waist is very fitted the skirt appears flared (whereas it is completely straight), so i am happy with that.
I will show you the back view. Since the photo revealed I had lined up the back neck incorrectly I have fixed it. And you will see I choose a white zip which shows a little bit in the maroon section. With colour blocking I never know what to do about zip colour – I thought it was better if it didn’t show in the white area. I guess both of these errors are construction points. In terms of the fit, the fact that the shoulder is slipping down a bit implies I need to reduce the width on the neckline. I will alter the pattern before I make a final version. Overall I really like the curved seams across the waist and hips, and I am keen to try this dress again for real when I find the right fabrics.