Weird Winter Centaurée

Winter Centaurée

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.

Winter Centaurée

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.

Winter Centaurée

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.

Winter Centaurée

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?

22 thoughts on “Weird Winter Centaurée

  1. AvatarJana

    I think it’s odd and cool! Does that count as an answer? (:
    It’s also very instructive to know how you arrived at the final pattern. Thank you for detailing your process—and with cute little illustrations, no less!
    I should really work on fitting a sloper (with sleeves) to myself, it sounds so useful and fun!

  2. AvatarSarah - Fabric Tragic

    I do like it, I like the bodice a lot. Would making the skirt less full/babdydoll help? More of a tulip shape perhaps? Or Maybe styling it a little differently will improve your perception of it – would look great with a mustard Cardi. You’ve clearly gotten so much out of your drafting class!

    1. AvatarKatie Post author

      Ooh – I think you’re right. I always default to a gathered skirt but something straighter may well work better here.

  3. AvatarMegan

    First of all, I really like your diagram. It makes it so easy to see how you altered the pattern. I love the bodice of this dress, although I think I agree with Sarah’s suggestion and would love to see it with a less full skirt.

  4. AvatarHeather

    Very oddly cool. Definitely different, but stands out in a very very good way. Love the fabric (like, loove the fabric) and love how you’ve done the bodice. I think the whole thing is a definite win!

  5. AvatarBella

    I rather like it! I agree with the person who said it would look great with a mustard cardi. Maybe some colour in your accompanying garments would ward off any goth factor? Great diagram, too. My question is, did you have to redraft your sleeve to make up for the chunk taken out of the arms eye by the rotated dart, or am I missing something?

    1. AvatarKatie Post author

      The armsyce ends up exactly the same since the dart is rotated in (then closed up again when the seam is sewn) rather than a wedge being actually removed. Does that make sense? My diagram is actually a bit misleading!

  6. AvatarAngela

    I’m almost reluctant to give a negative response to this as no one else ever seems to but here goes – I don’t think it works. The stripes across the bodice look odd. I compared it to the original version and I think the reason why it looks odd is that those stripes form the neckline of the original whereas here you have added a section forming a round neck which somehow ruins the effect.
    Keeping the original neckline and magically adding sleeves might work or it might not, what would I know!

    1. AvatarKatie Post author

      I agree (and I welcome dissenting opinion!). I actually thought myself that rounded neckline feels odd against the geometric lines of the bodice. Next time I would definitely try to echo the original neckline. Thanks for your thoughts.

  7. AvatarAlessa

    I really like it! It does have a bit of a dark vibe, but the bodice seams really look great and I also like the cloudy colour. Maybe a few bright accessories (mustard? teal?) would take it from grungy to spectacular?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.