Thursday, 27 June 2013

Pattern drafting - week 6

I'm late in posting this as it took a while to figure out how to share the massive amount of progress with you. Do you remember that I said I had a feeling that as soon as I started stitching the pieces together it would come together very quickly? Well, it has! 

But I'm getting ahead of myself, so let's back up to where I left off in week 5. Before we do, I apologise that this is a text heavy and photo light post - I just didn't think to take photos during this session but have tried to replicate where possible. 

I drafted the mini flared skirt. To do this, you need to trace the section of the block that forms the lower part of the dress and draw up three lines, equal distance apart, and then cut those lines to just before the top of the paper. You then spread the pieces by the amount you want the skirt to flare, in my case I add about 7cm between each strip. 

Flared skirt pattern

I cut this out and added it to the bottom of the lining. This lead to my first fitting and the good news is it fits, including over my hips, which is great as this is the area we were most worried about. 

Construction then commenced in ernest. I stitched the chiffon together at the centre back, stopping midway to allow for the zip and then stitched the side seams. The chiffon was pinned and basted to the lining and moved onto a body form. While it looked great, we realised that the lining had stretched a little in places, mainly under the bust. 

At this point, the top front bodice sections, the ones that had previously been underline, were added to see if it would bring some stability. I basted them into place and then tried it on. The fit is pretty close. There was too much fabric at the back, I have a slight sway back, not severe enough to normally make changes but it was noticeable here so we marked a new centre back line. The length was too much for me. Generally I don't wear dresses that fall below my knees, I can't really explain why but it is something to do with the feel, but this one felt different. My teacher then sat on the floor with her rulers and marked where the hem will be on the chiffon and then again on the lining, this one is higher as we need to add the skirt. It felt like a proper fitting session! Normally I don't hem this way as I find it really difficult to do all by myself. 

Hem removal

We took scissors to the new hems. The skirt was removed and the new hem lines on both the lining and the chiffon was cut, you can see the amount removed above. It felt so wrong but so right to do this. Anyone else get this feeling when you hack your items once you have sewn it together? By this time it home time and I walked away with a long list of things to do at home. 

Changes marked

From the photo you can see that we are stabilising and finishing the seams on the neckline using bias tape. We decided to add darts to the front, just under the bust. This will be really difficult as I have to merge them with the curved seam line to make sure I don't lose the shaping. I also need to reattach the skirt, prepare the bustier and get ready for adding the godets, if I get chance. The last bit is what worries me most as this means we're getting ready to put up to six slashes into the dress, eek! 

Technically the course has ended now but we'll be organising a few more sessions as most of us didn't finish. I have to say it was a little tough drafting a pattern and completing the dress in six weeks, perhaps that is why we didn't finish. But I've had a great time and it isn't a problem going to extra sessions. Hopefully it won't be too long before I can share the finished dress with you but I can't add the godets to the skirt, draft the sleeves and stitch in the bustier until these sessions start. 


  1. I love this series! Thanks for keeping us updated. Perhaps they really need to lengthen the course to 8 weeks (for eg) so that everyone can finish their dresses.

    1. Thanks Kirsty. I agree about the length of the course - I would happily give up more of my evenings to carry on learning!


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