With the inner layer of the bodice (of the dress I'm making to wear to a friend's wedding on Friday) finished, I decided to direct my attention towards the skirt and bolero.You see, for the bodice I will use a technique of which I have often seen the results and which I understand very well in theory but which I have never tried yet: Draping fabric over a shaped under-layer. It would be almost impossible to determine the size and shape of those pieces beforehand. In fact, in all the wedding dresses I've seen with such designs, the draped fabric was usually sticking out irregularly in the seam allowances. So even in mass production, they don't pre-shape those pieces completely.
So, it seemed wise to cut the other essential pieces before getting stuck in with this tricky process. I don't want to run out of fabric half-way through...
Anyway, I thought the bolero would take a lot of work to deal with issues of gaping edges and maneuverability but it was almost right after the first slap-dash draft. Based on the fit of the muslin, I narrowed the ends of the sleeves a little bit, but that was it. It's just one pattern piece with a fun bat-like shape and I plan to line it.
For the skirt, I wasn't sure. I had two options in mind. Unfortunately, I can still only show you the faint pencil sketches:
Big flounce at the back,
or sort-of sarong-style front drape.
E said he preferred the second option and at first, I didn't agree. That peacock tail back just seemed so alluring...
Then, I started thinking. What would make more sense for a day which will include a lot of sitting and standing around talking to people?
And yet, I tried a muslin for the back drape option. Maybe just because that 1950's dress looked so good with it...
The thing is, I know how a shape like the one in the sketch would be made using the conventional method of the wedding dress industry: It would be a straight skirt with a big godet at the back and a draped bit over the top.
But I don't like that. I suppose I have a bit of a Bauhaus attitude to pattern making: I want there to be a real connection between form and function.
And for this skirt, I kind of liked the idea of eliminating the side seams (even if it were only to avoid having to match them to the bodice side seams). And I had decided I didn't want an actual bow at center back. Too uncomfortable when sitting down. Oh, and to suit the style of the dress, there should definitely still be some draping at the front, like in the picture.
I tried to make a muslin combining all those requirements and it didn't look good at all. So, I got sensible and tried the other option. In this case, I thought tying a bow would be nice so I went with the ultimate style which combines a bow, draped detail and a way to add walking ease: Pattern Magic's knot design (from the first book).
I loosely followed the instructions for the knot dress but placed the knot half-way down on the left front dart. Because the dress will have a back zipper, the skirt had to have a center back seam and that is in fact the only full-length seam.
I tried it out in some fabric which was left over from a skirt for my sister years ago. On me, the hem looked much more even but at least you can kind of see the effect like this. The knot creates random pleating at hip level which wraps to the back a little bit. There's a fairly deep pleat belong it which will allow me to walk without any trouble.
Does it work? I've decided to go with it.
I have cut the fabric this afternoon: corselette pieces, bolero and skirt.
A bit to my surprise, I only used about half of my fabric for the skirt and bolero (which have only one pattern piece each. I didn't plan for that, but I rather like it). So I certainly don't have to worry about having enough fabric for the draping on the bodice.
Just to clarify: Because the skirt is asymmetric, I'm cutting in a single layer and I traced the sides of the skirt on different pieces of paper but the open space between the straight edge is actually part of the pleat.
I hope I'll get some of the real sewing done tomorrow.