Dressmaking Dresses

It’s been a busy couple of months for me. An opportunity came up to go back to work part time and although I had managed to get myself into a state of being busy without it, it seemed like a good idea, so I went for it. Luckily I was able to pick days that worked for me – so I have been able to continue my pattern making course through to level 2.

Fresh from gaining a new set of skills in Patternmaking 1, we moved into the development of a secondary ‘shift dress’ block so I was able to develop patterns for a couple of dresses that I thought might suit my shape.

After a lifetime of doing things in a hurry, it still seems kind of strange to test the pattern design on the little ¼ size mannequin (otherwise known as ‘mini me’) but it all makes sense when you start to realise that the dress you want, is going to use 3-4 metres of fabric, which is far too much to waste on something that might not work. It is nice to have confidence that the pattern pieces are going to fit together and it also gives you a test run at the order in which you will sew it all up.

In the case of this dress, it gave me the chance to see that the (full size) pieces were going to be so big that they wouldn’t have fit on a standard piece of fabric – so the pattern needed to be modified to have separate side panels with seams that could be hidden amongst the pleats and under the waist band.

My old habits of rushing straight in came back for a moment as I used my pattern development drawings to draft and cut my green linen fabric.. a harmless choice in itself (as I remembered to add all of the appropriate seam allowances etc) but one that just delayed the inevitable need to create decent finished pattern pieces so that I can make it again in the future.

So, dress number 1 was a success! There is no way that I would be able to buy a dress like this from a shop. I might come close if its my lucky day, but getting the shoulder width, bust height, waist height and dress length right is often not possible for me.

After coming to the realisation that cutting corners and moving forward without creating a final set of pattern pieces was a bit of a false win.. I decided to do the right thing and organise all of my course notes and patterns from here on. It took a few hours of sorting through weeks of papers (that I bring home after class and put aside so I can get back to ‘work’ urghhh) but now I am all good to stay organised from here!

And, dress number 2.. Fits great, looks like something I could wear out (even with flat sandals) and probably cost less than $20.

Did you notice the best bit? Both dresses have pockets! Why wouldn’t you really?

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