February 12, 2014

A dress in progress 1

Unusually for me, I've been pretty organized about blogging lately. So organized, in fact, that the nasty cold I had over the weekend didn't even have an effect on posting (if you emailed me with a question though, that's why I haven't answered yet).
And there's even a bit more lined up. But today, I thought I'd talk about what I'm working on right now.

Despite all my good intentions when I told you about my poor old coat, I've allowed myself to be distracted by a pretty dress.
It is one which has taken a while in planning.

I bought this fabric either in December 2012 or early in 2013. I remember because there was this one stall at the market which was suddenly selling nice cotton flannel in various check designs at a low price (even if you considered the narrow width: just 90 cm) back then. This shirt for E was the first thing I made from that stuff. It taught me that this material was nice to work with, nice to wear and it took well to normal wear and laundry. So I bought more, in the various designs I thought we would like.
My flounce dress was made from one of those (and I made a shirt for E from that same fabric earlier).
Now there's only one check flannel fabric left, it's the largest and the most eye-catching design and it is the only one I originally bought to make something for myself. 

The black and white stripes are horizontal and that tape measure is in centimeters.
When I bought this fabric, I thought it would become something I called a 'lumberjack-dress'. A design which would combine features of the lumberjack shirt and a 50's style dress. But I couldn't decide between a pleated skirt, a gathered one or maybe a circle or half circle so I left the fabric to marinate a bit in my stash.

Last autumn, I thought about it again when I took a look at the new fashion according to the runways. I blogged about that.
A couple of Prada designs gave me the idea to go for something like this:

I just had to decide between kimono sleeves with underarm gussets and normal sleeves
In the following months, the idea developed:

It became more and more important to me to really make use of those checks, so this looked like a big improvement.

Last week, I wanted to start drafting that design. I kind of fiddled around with it, not knowing how to line up that slanted front edge in a way which would work and look good and allow me to somehow angle the darts so they would work with the checks… 
And then I stood in front of a mirror, draping the fabric over me. That made me realize it: the design was still wrong.
There was only one way of angling and folding the fabric I liked and it led me to a design like this:

Overlapping bodice fronts with a true V neckline, kimono sleeves with underarm gussets, all the darts at the front converted to a deep pleat at the shoulder. At the back, there is a series of small pleats instead of the normal waist darts.
This is the design I drafted, muslined and cut out in that fabric. I haven't cut a skirt yet because I wanted to see the bodice in real life before I took a decision about that.


  1. This looks like an interesting process ;) I am excited to see the end product!

  2. What a fabulous design and I love that you let it develop over the course of a couple of months.