This was a funny little experiment in pattern hacking/self-drafting. I’m not sure how I feel about the result – it’s a bit odd! Basically it’s a cold-weather-appropriate spin on the Deer & Doe Centaurée dress. I knew I wanted to try this hack as that bodice is simply too nice to only wear in summer (previous versions here & here). Fact fans: Centaurée is the much less pretty-sounding ‘knapweed’ in English – all D&D’s patterns are named after plants and flowers. I think this dress is definitely more knapweed, ha ha.
It was a pretty straightforward hack to convert it from sundress to smock-ish dress. I traced off the Centaurée front bodice pieces and removed the seam allowances, then overlaid these onto my bodice block to see what kind of modifications I needed to make. I realised that the bodice’s top seams are basically a horizontal princess seam, with the darts rotated to the centre and side instead of up and down. Here’s briefly how I altered my block:
1. Rotate darts to the lower armsyce and centre front, using the Centauree pieces as a guide.
2. Snip through the rotation apex.
3. Round off the sharp corners.
4. Cut the bottom into a separate piece, using the Centaurée pieces as a guide. At the last minute I also cut the top piece diagonally to reflect the original neckline – 8 piece bodice, yo.
Then just re-add seam allowances and sew per the Centaurée. The back and sleeves are straight off my block.
So I’m not sure what is making the dress feel a bit weird. I think it’s partly the fabric, which is a double-faced lightweight corduroy I bought from Miss Matatabi. It’s lovely fabric – I originally bought it for pants but changed my mind – but something about it with this dress is giving me a gothy/grungy vibe which isn’t very me. It was great to sew with though and I love that the dress looks lined thanks to the stripy backing, which I’ve also turned back on the cuffs.
It also fits well, it’s nicely made and comfortable, so it’s not those things. Perhaps it’s the design itself and the Centaurée really doesn’t want to be a sleeved dress? Anyway it was fun to kind of reverse-engineer the pattern and figure out how to draft something like this, so I’m pleased I made it, and I have worn it despite my reservations. I may well have a go at a v2 sometime – I’m thinking a cheerier floral or chambray would be nice. What do you think – odd or cool?