Monday, October 17, 2011

Drop Cloth Dress

Another new dress!  I needed something simple to make, and while drafting your own pattern might not seem that easy, it can be a lot easier than trying to fit a new commercial pattern.

I also needed something with very, very simple lines to suit this fabric.  This is a crazy print and no fine details were even remotely going to show up.  (The fabric is from Jay McCarroll's Habitat line.  Yes, it is a quilting fabric.  No, you are not supposed to use quilting fabrics for clothing.  Turns out many styles inspired by the 50s and 60s don't have a lot of drape, and these fabrics can work just fine.)

Since it is hard to see anything because of this print (and if you have been reading for awhile, you know I love a crazy print) I will describe it to you.

  • Boat neck, but not too wide, because I don't want my bra straps to show.
  • Basic dirndl skirt.  
  • Sleeveless.  (I was going for a 60s look so I did not bring in the shoulder points of the armscye like one might normally do when making a summer sleeveless dress.)
  • Invisible zipper.
  • Hemmed by hand.
  • French darts are not sewn all the way.

See where I've drawn that white line?  That's where I stopped sewing the bust dart.  Instead of having bust darts and waist darts, I moved the bust darts into the waist for 2 giant french darts.  (Just to see if I could.)  As a rule, the bigger the dart, the pointier it is, and let me tell you, this dart was insanely pointy.  Like a paring knife sticking out of my chest.  So, I stopped sewing the dart below my bosom area and pressed the dart legs towards the center.  This creates a little fold above where I stopped sewing that ends at my bust apex, creating a much smoother look.  ( I could not get a good photo.  If I use this bodice pattern again with a calmer fabric, I will try it again.  If you click on the photo, it should get bigger, and you might be able to see the fold.)
  • The arm and neck holes are finished with my combined facing technique.

I am very happy with this dress.  I wanted to see if I could work out a french dart that would flatter my hourglass figure instead of making it scary.  Also, the fabric is crazy and I deeply love it!  Throw a sweater on over this, and I am ready to go!  Also, look how nicely I matched up the back!  Can you tell I am excited! ! !


Sheila said...

Cute dress and you can pair it with a cardigan choosing a variety of colors.

Uta said...

I love that fabric, and the style is very nice for it. I bet it looks great even with your head showing ;-)

KID, MD said...

Crazy fabulous and I love the dart to tuck thing. Would you call that a release dart? Either way, it's totally genius.

Anonymous said...

Very pretty.

I've used quilting fabrics for some first attempts (after a muslin). It's always risky for me, not because of the lack of drape -- I pick appropriate shapes for a fairly stiff fabric -- but because of issues like dye staining my underlining (after several pre-washings) and a poorer quality fiber that wasn't intended for clothes. I can see the textile gripping lint and attracting dust in a way that high quality garment cotton doesn't.

Anonymous said...

After some attempts this summer to adjust commercial patterns (with an experienced tutor) I can see how making one's own pattern might in some cases be easier, at least if you have a sloper or a basic block pattern. I'm working on my first skirt block right now.

Faye Lewis said...

Ah, pattern drafting. You super seamstress you. Maybe one day I'll feel confident enough to give it a try. Love your dress by the way - the colors/print is so nice.

Andrea said...

You hit the mark lady. It looks vintage to me and it looks great on you. I love the fabric and see nothing wrong with using quilting fabric. I've used it for a dress before and it wears well and is great for the summer time because it breathes.

AngelatheCreativeDiva said...

Fantastic dress! I'm crazy for this fabric. Must. Get. Some.