I decided to have a go at Marianna’s “6Nap” dress challenge. I hope a few more join in as it is a fun project with lots of learning. Also opportunities for customisation.
I am on holiday at the moment, thinking about it.
Before I went away I made a sketch of front and back – as I imagine it – as no-one has shared a photograph of the back yet. The style lines on the bodice are just evident if you inspect the photograph closely on your monitor. I am reassured that my drawing looks a bit like Marianna’s own. The key design feature on the front is that the two “classic” princess lines go over the fullest part of the bust – one starting high up the armhole on the model’s left and the other starts lower down.
I am planning to do the bodice as a flat pattern and will probably drape the skirt. The bodice is an asymmetric princess line pattern. There are five panels in the front with a point at the left hip dart position. I have suggested a back with three panels, with either a back zip to one side or dividing the centre panel or a side zip. The “instructions” below are what I did to create the bodice. It is not the only way to do this, but it is what I did.
- Trace off my basic close fitting dress block to the hip line, back and front.
- Use the Contour Guide Pattern to determine where and how to reduce the ease above and below the bust. I used the above the bust alteration and the empire line alteration and this has resulted in wider darts.
- Trace off dropped shoulder block so that I have a bit more “overhang” at the shoulder. I could have just used a simple cap sleeve pattern but I like the dropped shoulder look.
- Redraw armhole 1cm lower than on the block
- Take shoulder line 1.7cm into the dropped shoulder
- Measure back from new armhole line 6cms back and front to create the right width of shoulder seam
- Create an attractive neckline. Drop the neckline 2cms at CF and 3.7cm at CB and create an attractive curve to the inside of the shoulder
- Cut out the paper pattern, place on folded pattern paper and trace off to create a full (double) pattern in order to create an asymmetric pattern
I am now ready with the full pattern draw in the princess lines and the asymmetric hem.
The skirt is made with 8m of good quality silk organza and is lined with a further 6m of lining. All the fullness is coming from large quantities of fabric with a certain amount of bulk, while also being translucent and ethereal. However I am not sure I want to wear so much cloth (have you ever worn a sari?), and then there is the cost. Most of my dresses use around 1.2m. Satin organza from MAcCulloch and Wallis is £25m plus VAT. I am thinking of using cotton instead – say a cotton sateen for the bodice and maybe cotton muslin for the skirt. I have ordered some low cost muslin from eBay to have a go with. At the moment I am planning to make the dress in white fabric, but if it looks too weddingy I may have to dye or paint it.