Sunday, 6 July 2014

The ruffle dress: some happy statistics


I finished!  I'm delighted and I feel I can now conquer the dress world - I have freed myself from the tyranny of purchased patterns!  It's actually quicker for me to draft my own than to make the 2+ muslins required to bend the commercial pattern to my will (and stumpy frame).

I just know you love statistics as much as me (har har) so here are some handy facts relating to the dress.

The price per metre of fabric (bargain basement).

4m & 6m
The quantity of fashion and lining fabrics respectively (and I have some fashion fabric left over).

The number of layers of fabric in this dress to guard against V(E)PL (visible ENTIRE panty line).

The inner to outer ratio of the ruffle lengths.

The number of components in this dress (16 bodice pieces, 20 skirt pieces, 2 sleeves, 10 ruffle sections, 4 fusible interfacing strips, 1 zip.  I must hate myself.

The total cost of the dress, excluding thread.  (The zip was a pretty expensive addition, huh?)

The number of weeks to make this dress, spending only a few hours a week (life gets in the way of vital sewing time).

Sorry for the cheesy close-up, but look at the ruffles!
Next time I'll make my ruffles wider, or else use a cotton for the dress instead.  The ruffles don't look as much like the originals as I'd hoped, but probably because the material is much drapier and so they've flopped.  Spot the sleeve issue: one has fluted because I was having overlocker issues, while the other hasn't.  Bummer.  I'll just wear a cardigan.

I used a purchased ribbon as a belt because I ran out of patience to make the matching fabric belt.  If you're interested in the details, I put a concealed zipper in one of the side seams, which starts at the underarm.  Attaching the lining to the inside of the zipper tape was the only hand-stitching I did.  I used some cunning contortions to sew the lining around the neckline and armholes by machine, and again to sew the seam allowances of the lining and outer together along the waistline.  I thought the latter would be wise, otherwise the weight of the skirt could pull the stretchy bodice lining down and make my hem wonky in a weeks' time.  It also hides all my unfinished seams inside the bodice (overlocking would add too much bulk here).

If you're interested in further geekery, here's how I managed the four layers in the bodice:
1x stripes + 1x lining basted together and sewn as one for the outer
2x lining basted together and sewn as one for the lining
... meanwhile, I let all four layers hang freely for the skirt.  The skirt has french seams throughout, which were dull as hell to make.

I really want to knit or crochet a yellow cardigan to go with this dress.

Overall though, I think it's a dress win.  Not too bad for such difficult fabrics, and I've always wanted a dress like this.  Also, it's really comfortable and I've had a big lunch at a lovely party in it today, and I can still breathe!

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Step up to the drafting challenge

After the fun of the ruffley-nightmare* dress (bad memories fade fast), I feel the need to up the pattern drafting challenge a bit.

I've always liked this pattern:
Image courtesy of Burda Style, see above link.
It's from an old December 2011 issue of Burda Style magazine that I bought.  The magazine contains the pattern (indeed lots of patterns: you should try it!) but I anticipate hell times trying to add a full-bust adjustment and stumpy-me adjustment and everything.  I'm going to draft the pattern myself from the technical drawings, but using the existing pattern to match the size of pleats and gathers.  I'm going to make some style changes too: I'll probably have the waistband narrower and sitting below my bust (rather than partially over it, like the models who have smaller cup sizes).  I'll also add a modesty panel like most other people who've made it.

Obviously I won't be making this up in the peach crepe in the photo, because I don't like to look naked from a distance.  I have a choice of maroon or navy polka-dot fabric, because anyone who's been fabric shopping with me knows that spotty fabrics are my weakness.

Wish me luck!

In other news, I'm wearing the ruffle-bonanza dress for the first time tomorrow.  If it's not a rainy monsoon outside, I'll try and get Mr B to take photos.

* I always spell it "knightmare" first time, and have to delete the k.  That was the best TV programme ever, so I'll forgive myself this typing tick.