Pattern cutting 0.4 Hooped, dropped shoulder dress

This week’s project was more challenging.

First we had to create a dropped shoulder, and then create style lines across the dart areas. Those 1980s models look demonic.

I have to admit i got quite excited. These off the shoulder numbers are all the rage and appear to be very popular in the shops at the moment, and they are rather nice. But as you can see from the pictures these designs rely on being made of tight-fitting jersey or elastic. The requirement in my class was to create a fitted dress with dropped shoulders.

Compared to the cap sleeves we introduced last week (an extension from the bodice) this time the sleeve block is involved. Basically you slice off the sleeve head, divide into two and attach to the front and back bodices. I actually made a card version as I thought I might like to come back to this design. Then the deeper neckline is created.

The second part of the project was to draw style lines across the open darts, cut apart and close the darts. This was also a very nice and interesting experiment. I planned on creating a spiral dress but, to be honest, at 8pm at night after a very stressful day, I just couldn’t concentrate. Vanda suggested a simpler idea – go for a symmetrical pattern instead, creating five concave hoops on the front, joining the five convex hoops on the back. This was an appealing idea, turning all the darts into horizontal seams and echoing the dropped shoulder. Here is my sketch. (She looks a bit like Lara, doesn’t it?), and a hooped jockey jacket.

I decided to toile this dress because although I am confident now that my one-piece dress fits well I was worried that by the time I had chopped it up and closed all the darts it might be a bit wonky. I marked the seams with a pencil but I didn’t baste and my seams didn’t line up perfectly. That will be the challenge when I make up this dress in different colours to show off the sections now created. There are 15 areas where the seams need to meet perfectly (five on each side seam and both sides of the zip)But the fit is great. I am very pleased with this dress although I think I need to take a little off the shoulder seam to make sure it doesn’t come down. It needs to fit rather firmly I think.

When drafting it I wondered if I should create some flare in the skirt – it might balance out the shoulder line better, but I think I like these slim dresses as a new look for me. I will need to wear a strapless bra with this dress, making it an evening or “occasion” type dress, but I love the way the horizontal seaming works. There is a seam above the bust, across the bust, at the waist, hips and thighs. This is easiest to see in the back view. I think my “hoops” maybe a bit subtle, curving up (back) or down (front) about 4cms each time.

I am still at the “wearable toile” stage so I have pulled out some fabrics that might work – a combination of cottons and linens. Until I have it colour-blocked I don’t know if the style lines will look very attractive or not. But eventually I think I would like to try cerise and white silk like that old jockey jacket.

navy, white, maroon and patterned fabric
Fabric selection for hooped dress

Any advice or suggestions please?

16 Responses

  1. jay

    I like the off the shoulder look on you. In the dark linens that Paola suggested the proportion or balance of the two sections will be easier to manage. With the strong contrast idea, you might want to find a way of colouring in your photo (photoshop?) to see if you like the distribution of the two areas before cutting into a fabric.

  2. Joanne

    My initially response was, ooh, hens but … No. You can see already from the toile that it is going to be a beautifully classy dress – wedding/evening do fare. I think Paola could be right with the two darks together but how about the navy and cream – with matching i.e. two tone shoes? I LOVE that neckline.

  3. Linde

    I love the design and the toile is really great. I would prefer plain colours as they will not detract from the line of the dress.

  4. Lara

    Oh you made me laugh out loud with your sketch reference! Thank you!
    I am with Paola too on the two dark solids for your first go at this. I think the style will be lovely on you. Very classy!
    I am greatly enjoying vicariously attending your classes.

  5. Demented Fairy

    Nice fit! I’m scared to death of horizontal stripes, being so short and dumpy, but the concave/convex thing is a nice idea…
    I’m interested to see how that works, as it has the potential to make your bum look droopy [in my mind at least!] if the stripes/colours aren;t just so. Same principle as positioning jeans pockets I suppose?
    An interesting journey.

  6. Annieloveslinen

    Nice fitting toile, I prefer a subtle low contrast and the proportions of each need to be right. You could trawl on the Internet for inspiration and sketch it out using colours as Jay suggests. The neckline shape is lovely on you.

  7. Stephanie

    I love the neckline but like some of the others I am not sure about the placement of the lines and the high contrast idea. I like the idea of colouring in a mock up first. I like colour blocking a lot but lately I have been liking it on the vertical (which also has to be done very carefully!) Interesting project!

  8. Kim Hood

    It looks good, and maybe you could add fullness into the bottom section ? With more fullness I think the length would be good but as it is I think it may look more flattering shorter. Whatever you choose to do I agree that it would be very classy kept to plain fabrics.

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