Today, armed with coffee and scissors, I made some progress on my draft dress for my pattern cutting course. Last time I wrote about this I had drafted my final block pattern and cut it out in card. Since then I have been using this block to turn it into a pattern for my dress. Here is a picture of my (intended) final design ...
Its quite a simple design, low scoop neck at the front and back, gathering at the middle of the neck at the front and a belt to shape the dress at the waist and provide some more gathering. If I make the dress out of plain fabric, I may add some layering detail at the bottom just above the hem, if it's patterned fabric, it won't look right.
The scoop neck took hours over Christmas to perfect. I made up 5 different versions of it, it was so hard to get the scoop wide or deep enough. It just wasn't possible to draw one one by eye, I had to put on my original toile and put on a top I had with a scoop neck that I liked, then draw the scoop onto the fabric and then trace this onto a paper pattern. Are you following this? no - I'm not suprised. It was a long frustrating process interspersed with Toblerone to dull the pain. I got there in the end and made up several crop top sized dress tops to see if they worked. It provided some amusement in the house when I modelled them, I like to multitask.
Other problems included how to add the extra fabric for the gathering effect at the neck line and how to join the dress onto the scoop neck. I won't bore you with the details, but I got there in the end.
Today, I cut the pattern out of toile, and started sewing it together. I have made a facing to go on the inside, here is a picture, its another crop top,
This will go inside the dress and hopefully provide a nice neat and stable finish to the neck and armholes. I made so many mistakes that I had to start writing then down in a long list for fear of making them again when I make the dress up properly. The gathering at the neckline was really hard to get right, infact sewing the neckline was altogether quite a challenge, getting it to meet the dress at the right place and sewing the curve. One neat trick my tutor told me which I think will help me with my problems using bias binding on armholes was to sew round the curve inside the seam allowance first to stop it from stretching when sewing it all together.
Is it a sack, hospital gown, ghost costume, work of genius? No silly, that's my dress I've been working on for months. Worth all the hard work I think you'll agree. I have to admit, I was a little disappointed when I turned it the right way round and took in it's sackiness. But it needs a belt, much lighter weight fabric (toile is more suited to a suit jacket than summer dress) and once I have attached the facing it will neaten up the neck and arms. It does fit really well around the top, the neckline is good, I will try and take a photo on when it is finished. But it's so hard to image what it will look like in a different fabric.
The neckline turned out ok after a few attempts, I sewed a line for the gather which was above the seam line, this smoothed out the effect of the gather (as with the wrap top that I just made) next time I will sew the gather line on the seam line.
It's quite exciting to finally see it, though I do have an underlying worry that after all this work it will end up looking rubbish. Think positive though, that's my motto, I'm sure it will make a fabulous 1950's style night gown if nothing else.