Here’s another little self-draft experiment that didn’t quite work out 100% perfect but I thought it’d be good to share anyway. I’ve been pinning approximations of my dream denim dress for quite a while now and decided to use it as another chance to try out designing with my blocks.
I was especially drawn to the Marimekko dress at top left here, and started mulling over how the pockets under that triangle-shaped empire waistline might work. (I’m loving the top-middle frock too, that’s next on the list…)
The changes I made to my block to draft this dress were as follows:
· Front bodice: rotated the shoulder dart to a French dart; left waist dart open to add more swing/ease
· Back bodice: left waist dart open to add more swing/ease, cut a v-neckline
· Skirt: Rotated waist dart out to create fullness. Used the same piece for front and back.
· Taped the skirt and bodice together and cut the new diagonal/triangular ‘waistline’, parallel to the French dart
· Drafted a pocket piece to sit inside the sloping edges of the bodice and skirt.
· Cut a short set-in sleeve
I’m beginning to find that drafting the pattern is one half of the self-design challenge, and the other equally significant half is actually sewing up your creation in a sensible order with no instructions to fall back on! I struggled a bit trying to figure out the best way to attach the pockets and to get a nice point on the triangular panel’s top corner.
The neckline is also not as planned. I bound it with a bias strip first off, but didn’t like it and cut it off, and instead turned and hemmed it with a twin needle. Unfortunately cutting off the original neckline made it all far too wide – it barely stays on my shoulders now.
This is especially apparent from the back, where I had this idea to make the a deep V to mirror the seamline. I interfaced the diagonal edges with strips before hemming but it still wasn’t enough to keep it in place. Next time I’ll tighten it all up and consider another finishing technique.
The fabric is an extremely soft and supple denim which I bought from our jolly up to Minerva Crafts – here it is on the website. This stuff would be great when you want a denim-y look but with added softness and comfort – and unlike most chambrays it has a superb drape and doesn’t stick to tights. Actually for this dress a slightly stiffer fabric would probably have been more suitable and easier to work with given all the funny angles and clipping required. But it’s a dream so wear – sooo comfortable.
So all in all, I’m calling this a semi-success. The idea and drafting were solid , and with a few tweaks to the construction I reckon I can get something cute out of this. I’m thinking an autumnal plaid wool with leggings and boots…
I’m really enjoying my forays into self-drafting. It’s a ton more work, but I like that it’s forcing me to slow down and really consider what I want from a garment. I don’t actually need that many clothes at the moment, so am happy to spend longer on each garment, building its design from the ground up rather than dive into speedy sewing. Plus since it’s from your blocks at least your garment will always fit! It’s not for everyone, but I hope you find my adventures in self-drafting interesting to read about.