July 23, 2020

my subtraction pattern and some answers

In the previous post, I promised to show you what the "pattern" for my dress looks like. And here it is (as usual, the drawing is not to scale):

As you can see, the pattern is perfectly symmetrical. 
I started with two pieces of fabric which were 140 cm wide and 3 meters long.
I used my favorite shirtwaist bodice in which all the dart width at the back has been converted into those pleats under the back yoke. On the front bodice, I combined the waist and bust darts into a single French dart. The front bodice piece is drafted to extend 2 cm beyond center front, to create an overlap for the button closure. In the subtraction pattern, left and right front bodice are placed edge tot edge (with added seam allowance, of course) and then cut. 
To make that work, I added extra width to the circle just below the waistline (not in the picture). 6 cm to be precise, the 2 cm for the overlap and 1 cm seam allowance, both times 2. 

I managed to cut out the facing pieces from the cut-out fabric around the bodice  but used an extra bit of fabric (in fact, the 40 cm bit I cut off at the bottom) for the collar and sleeves.

As you can see, I cut out the bodice pieces with sharp angles to the "side seam". In the small scale dresses, I preferred the look of that. Waist definition. 
It did mean I had to treat those points with care. I fused small circles of lightweight fusible interfacing to them, then sewed the seams and cut to the seamline. At least, that is what I did on the right side. On the left, I put in an invisible zipper. 

When I first tried the dress on, I was disappointed to find the bottom loop around my shins. I considered partially sewing it to the waistline but I didn't do that in the end. Instead, when I put the dress on, I make sure my body passes through that loop first and then through the "top" one. The top loop can't sag down because it is connected to the front waistline. So, it keeps up the other one between waist and hip. This adds to the skirt volume at the sides, which I really like.

To me, this dress is much more wearable than my first attempt (the brown-and-stripes one in this post), which was more of a "normal" subtraction cut dress. In fact, this one goes a bit against the spirit of the subtraction cutting technique. I used small scale experiments to take out the risk of experimentation and I made the bodice using normal pattern making techniques. I is what works for me though.

I think I will enjoy wearing this dress although the amount for fabric means it is not really an every day kind of thing. I would also like to continue experimenting with this technique and I think I will go on to do so in my way, with scale experiments and added normal pattern making. 

July 8, 2020

The subtraction cut dress!

A bit of a disclaimer: these pictures aren't great, to say the least. 
It turned out I didn't have time to have E take pictures of me wearing the subtraction cut dress last weekend, so I did it myself with the camera on self-timer yesterday. I used to do that a lot but I'm out of practice and out of patience with the process and it shows. 

However, I didn't want to keep you waiting for a dress I've been talking about for a while. I may try and get some better pictures next weekend and will certainly post more about the pattern and construction of the dress later this week.

The fabrics I use were chambray with a flower silhouette print and linen. Fairly stiff fabrics, which give volume where they are gathered up. 
Combined with my pattern choices, that gave the dress a silhouette which reminds me slightly of Rococo dresses worn over panniers: with volume jutting out sharply at the side waistline. 
The back is a bit plain but I don't really mind.
I'm really glad I decided to cut off those 40 cm at the bottom. the fact that legs and feet are visible at the front and side gives the dress a sense of lightness and fun that just wasn't there when it was floor-length. 
And obviously, I used a bodice shape I know and love.

July 3, 2020


To be honest, I finished my subtraction cut dress a couple of days after the previous post. And I'm happy with it. I also realized I would have to pose for pictures to really show you what it's like.
But then there were some distractions: It was announced that sports facilities in the Netherlands would re-open on 1 July (not for contact sports of course). This was great news but it also meant more work. My local climbing gym had used the past months to clean its walls so it needed a lot of new routes. And I'm a route setter there.

The person in this picture isn't me. In fact, I'm sure she's grateful to me because I set the route she is using to get up the wall. Route setting on toprope is a lot less tiring when there's an easy route nearby which you can use...

Then, we had a little heat wave.

And then, last weekend, I went climbing in Belgium with a small group of people for the first time since the lockdown started.
It was great to be out on the rock again and the weather was nice too. 

So, I think I will be able to get some pictures of the new dress on Sunday...