I wanted to see if a) my block would work with a knit; b) if I could hack some basic design details into it. I figured the fit would work in a knit as is because there’s minimal ease in the block – too little for a comfy woven dress but fine for a stretch.
In fact I think I need to size down my block for knit makes in the future as it turned out a wee bit too big all over. But it basically worked well and I had a lot of fun drafting it. Here’s an overview of the changes I made to my block to get here.
Converting the double-darted bodice into princess seams was an easy as rotating the top dart to mid-armsyce, slicing into two pieces through the bust apex and smoothing off the curve. I’m so pleased princess seams are this easy to create as they are my favourite bodice shaping – no blasted dart marking, quick to sew, and easy to fine-tune fit on my frame.
Then I added a ruched detail by slashing horizontally into the side pieces and fanning them out downwards. This wee detail was inspired by vintage Butterick 2315, another ‘cake’ dress that I wear all the time. I added some clear elastic to the gathering to encourage it to keep its shape. The print kind of buries the detail unfortunately – need to try it on a solid sometime.
I added the set-in sleeves from my block which fit perfectly in a stretch – I need a bit more wiggle-space to use them with a woven. I haven’t sewn a set-in sleeve in forever, ha, so did it the lazy way: set in flat, with the cuff and side seam sewn in one.
The skirt admittedly is not from my block at all – it’s that old TNT Simplicity 1610 again, gathered at the centre front and back to fit the bodice. Why use any other skirt to be honest – it’s versatile (you could pleat or gather it onto nearly any bodice), I find it very flattering, and the deep scoop-y pockets are perfect for my phone or fidgety paws.
This fabric is Liberty ‘Achilles’ cotton jersey bought on my trip to Shaukat back in May. Obviously I’m obsessed with the sludgy goldy-browny colour, and the print is like a mini African wax design. I do find that Liberty jersey likes to curl a bit as you work with it and I don’t think the stretch recovery is all that great, but it does feel lovely to wear and it’s heavy enough to give a nice swishy drape.
My friend said of a photo of this dress on the hanger ‘This looks like you – even though you’re not wearing it’, which I think sums up the best kind of cake sewing for me. Speaking to other sewists, I know how difficult it can be to make things that truly work for you, rather than being distracted by the endless parade of new patterns and fabrics out there. But for me it’s really important to aim for that, and I think designing from my dress block will make it all the easier.