Dress with neckline pleats

Another dress!  I will have a wardrobe full of dresses by the time I have completed this craftsy course.  This time, the bust and waist darts were moved around to form neckline pleats.

Actually, the lesson was for neckline gathers, but I thought this fabric would work better with pleats. 

My narrowest point is a couple of inches above my waist.  On this dress, I did not follow the side curve so closely, as it doesn't always sit so well (feels like the side seam should be clipped), but, after wearing the dress for a bit,  I think I do need to take it in a bit more at the bodice side seams.  I have noticed on several of the Donna Karan for Vogue patterns over the years that she often has a triangular piece at the bottom of the bodice waist, which would allow me to get a better fit there...I will try that idea out in a later rendition.

For the skirt, I followed another lesson to draft a tulip skirt, only I used 3 pleats instead of 1 large pleat, to mimic the neckline pleats. 

Initially, I wanted a fully pleated skirt; however, the fabric print had large white areas that I did not want to use, which left me a bit short on fabric.  The tulip skirt has a plain back.  The bottom of the skirt is pegged by 1" on each side.

The back bodice has a scooped out neckline.   There is an invisible zipper at the CB.   I added a cap sleeve.  I have not done the drafting course on sleeves yet, so I borrowed a sleeve from Vogue 8552.  I did a little bit of print matching, by following the horizontal lines of the brush strokes in the print from front to back.

The fabric is a stretch cotton sateen from Emmaonesock.


The Diamond Dart

When I first saw this draft in my craftsy course, I thought it was a bit kitsch.  It has grown on me over time (and I have had time, because it is taking me quite some time to get through this course!) and now I have found a way to make it work for me....as a tank top with a peplum skirt and V back.

The bust and waist darts are rotated to form the sides of the diamond, so there are no darts on the front of the top.

In the back, I cut a V neckline and angled the back darts to mimic this V.

Here's a closer shot of the back darts. You can also see some of my neck binding.  I bound the armholes and neck with self made bias strips.  I have been watching old episodes of the Great British Sewing Bee, so I am a bit more conscious of how long my sewing takes and how neat (or not so neat it is).  It takes me an hour to bind the armholes and neck of a tank top.

I am so proud of my neat sewing on this top.  Look at the perfect top of the diamond.

The bottom of the diamond is pretty good too (though I do need to remove that gathering stitch from the skirt portion)

 I am not super happy with the draft of the skirt portion.  It is both flared and gathered.  I didn't muslin it, because I thought that my fabric would behave very differently to the calico I used for the muslin, and I don't have unwanted silks just lying around to use for muslins.  I think I perhaps overdid it.  Maybe gathered without the flare would have been enough.  To make matters worse, I thought I had heaps of fabric so I cut the bias binding strips before the I drafted the skirt...and then I could only fit the skirt pieces if I cut them on the bias.  As you can imagine, this was an absolute nightmare to hem...bias circular very full pieces.  In the end, I just stood in front of the mirror with a pair of scissors and hacked away.  I really should invest in a hem marker of some sort.

 Some photos on me.  Front view...

I forgot to get a back shot this morning, so here is a less than flattering shot of my behind when I wore it with a turquoise skirt last week.  Actually, the back V looks wider here than I thought it would...I really should take back photos in the muslin stage.  The top is meant to be a loosish fit so I can pull it on...which I can, but it does involve a little wiggle.  I will have to add width next time.

I like the upper portion of this top, so I think I will make it again with a different skirt portion.  I think it will be a great pattern for mixing prints.


Y-dart Dress

I am still progressing through my Craftsy course "Patternmaking + Design: Creative Darts & Seam Lines".  I feel like I have been stuck in Lesson 3 for quite some time now.  This is one of my drafts from Lesson 3 - the Ydart. 

I'm really pleased with how this dress turned out.  I never thought that a sheath dress could be so comfortable.  It is so comfy that I didn't feel the need to get changed the moment I got home today, and did my usual afternoon chores (ferrying children, feeding chooks, hanging out washing, watering plants) still in the dress.  I did get changed to cook dinner because I tend to splash a bit in the kitchen :).

The fabric is a summer garden cotton pique from EmmaOneSock.  The print was a little difficult to place, as the pattern repeat was unusual and there were dark areas, light areas and large red areas.  The back almost seems a different print than I used for the front of the dress.

I added a little bit of width to my sloper at the waist, and that seems to have resolved some of the crinkling in the back that I got in my previous dresses.  I am wondering if I can take some of that width back out of the back darts, rather than at the side.

Instead of using the skirt portion of my dress sloper, I used a skirt sloper that I made 6 years ago.  It has 2 darts front and back, with the back darts bigger than the front darts.  I had to make a few changes to get it to fit the bodice.  This has resulted in a skirt that doesn't have all the pull lines across the hips and buttocks that my previous dress had.  It seems to fit more nicely around the tummy as well.

The down side is that the back seems longer than the front and the side seam does not hang straight.  I think that I can work with this though.  Six years ago, my weight distribution was a little different to now, so I think if I redraft my skirt sloper using this same method and some new measurements, I might be able to tweak the draft a little.

Of course, there will be times where I will need the original one dart skirt portion of my sloper - say when I want to eliminate the waist seam or if I want to line up darts on the bodice and the skirt - but I think that having a second 2 dart sloper will give me flexibility in my designs.

It is hard to see the Y dart in my printed fabric.  The Y dart originates at the centre front waist and then the top lines of the Y radiate towards the bust point.  It combines the waist and bust darts.  There is no need for any bust darts from the side of the dress.  My "Y" turned out really neat.

It is a bit strange working my way through this course, as it means that my sewing plans are not directed by the seasons or fashions or latest patterns or what I see on other blogs (perhaps leading to a little bit of FOMO - fear of missing out).  I will also end up with more dresses than I need.  I enrolled in the 3 pattern making courses last Christmas (bodice sloper, darts, necklines). I have done most of the bodice sloper course (still need to draft the knit sloper) but I am not even halfway through the other courses.  I feel that I am making real progress with both my fitting and drafting though, so I will continue for now.


Bookweek 2015

We've had a few years without a bookweek parade.  Back into the swing of it this year and probably only one more year to go.  Without further ado, I present to you

1.  Moonface

2.  Geronimo Stilton

Moonface's vest was made from a Burda pattern I traced off years ago.  Don't know the magazine or pattern number, sorry.  His bow tie was made by his sister.

Geronimo Stilton's jacket was a quick make from Burda Boy's Classic Button-Up Blazer 02/2015 #142  So quick that I didn't get the pockets on or buttons in the sleeve vents.  Wonder if I should bother doing that after the event??  I didn't line the jacket.  I am not that familiar with sewing jackets and when I went to look up some instructions in my sewing books for how to do the collar and lapels, I realised that there was no way I could absorb that information and do it properly in my very short time frame, so it really is a bodge job. It fits pretty well.  The fabric is a cotton chamois that was an internet purchasing mistake back in 2007.  I am pleased to be finally rid of it from my stash.

Geronimo made his own tie.

Geronimo's mask was a lot of fun.  I downloaded the pattern for a fox mask from Wintercroft and we  didn't stick the ears down to make it a bit more Geronimo-like.

(ears falling forward to fox mode for this photo)

In this age, when we are always looking for free stuff on the web, these masks are fully worth the asking price.  They are seriously cool.  I'm trying to think of an occasion where I could wear a mask, just so I can make one for myself.  Perhaps I am thinking of it all wrong and shouldn't be looking for an occasion.  Perhaps I could get about in a unicorn mask in my everyday?


Inadvertent Cocktail Waitress Dress

This is the V-necked dress I drafted as part of the Craftsy course "Creative Necklines" with Suzy Furrer".  I am slowly making my way through the drafts in the course.  I want to make the patterns up for real, not just in muslin, and I had the idea that I could do this from my stash.  Initially I paired this eyelet with a textured blue fabric for the skirt, but at the last minute, I decided the blue would get greater wear as the shorts for which it was originally intended, so switched it out for a black sateen remnant.  Once completed, I could see that the pairing is not so great, with the eyelet being day wear and the black not so much and so I have ended up with a cocktail waitress looking dress, which will probably be relegated to the dress-up box.

I made a little peplum thingy.  The eyelet is lined with cotton batiste.

 It was a bit tricky deciding how to construct the dress. Black zip or white zip?  Lining or interlining of the eyelet?  How to work the zip with the peplum?  I went with an invisible zip in the side, so that it would be less obvious if it wasn't completely invisible.  I really need to get a stash of regular zips so that I can do lapped zips.  I don't think it turned out too badly.

I am reasonalby happy with the fit in the bodice I am not super happy with the fit of the skirt on my dress block.  It is a bit poochy at the front hips and pulls on the buttocks.  I guess there is only so much shaping that can be achieved with a single dart front and back.

I really need to go back to my block and adjust the back length, as it is a bit long on all my dresses.  The frustrations of making that block has left me a little scarred though, so I am hesitant to go back and fix it.  Also, I think I really need a bit more ease in the waist, even though I added the recommended amount to the initial moulage.  I have another dress made on this block and another cut out, but then, I should perhaps review my block.