Monday, June 21, 2010

a garden variety dress

I want a basic dress pattern so I am working on New Look 0563.  This one has a few nice variations, doesn't it?  I feel so Michelle Obama!

And here I am in our little front garden where we'll plant something - perhaps a camellia bush.
Here is a picture of a camellia bush:

I have been using up a bolt of drapery lining and it works really well for mock-ups.  It is cheaper than muslin, too.  The back really needs some work

And the armscye is way low. 
I kinda messed up - the bottom of the bodice is a size 16 and the top of the skirt is a size 18.  The darts don't line up like they should.

I am happy to get myself a dress pattern.  I never had many dresses because of fit issues.  Here are the paper adjustments I made:
Cut a size 18 to get the maximum height and width.
Starting at the top, cut the shoulders a size 10 and slope the front shoulder down by 1/2" or so.
Taper the shoulders to a 14 at the bottom of the armscye.
I added 5/8" height to the front bodice (horizontally throught the armscye) and I honestly don't know if that really helped me or not- I am a little puzzled still.  The stitching line (the black line) is too low.
I also added about an inch to the back bodice and I am not too sure about that adjustment either.
Taper to a size 16 at the waist.
Taper to a size 18 for the skirt.  I forgot to blend the bodice and skirt so that the darts would line up. 
This is what I sewed today on my day off.
Now for the fun part, fitting.  Now is when I wish I already had my Wolf form.
Yep, I am getting one. 
I was thinking and thinking about my sewing education and this is my choice.
I will get the Wolf dress form this year, and next year I will take the draping class with Susan Khalje and Julien Christofoli.  I am maybe pinching myself a bit and wondering, how did I get so lucky to do this?  I am very grateful to have a hobby I love and the opportunity to learn this wonderful craft.
In the meantime, I have a lesson scheduled with Susan soon and this dress will be my project.  If all goes as I hope, the next pictures here will depict a pinned out (fitted) version of this muslin. 
I am so looking forward to learning!
** happy dance! **


  1. I am going through the exact same process you are right now...fitting a sheath dress.

    I've never bought one or made one because I can't get the fit right. :(

  2. Interestingly I just blogged about how this would be a great sheath dress pattern! I went through a month-long process of fitting a sheath dress (detailed in excruciating detail on my blog). Seriously, it stunk. But I'm so excited to have a dress pattern that I can make 20 different versions of. And with all the work I put in, I plan to make about that many!

    Good luck with yours! Really looking forward to seeing this finished.

  3. Once you fix the back, this will be a great pattern asset. All sewers should aspire to have a basic dress pattern that can be changed to suit the seasons or styles. I'm working through a number of projects at the moment, but high on the to do list is a muslin for my Simplicity sheath dress. I'm very jealous that you have a direct line to SK, the queen of thread.

  4. Good luck :) Good basic pattern. Once you get the fit right you will be able to whip up lots of variations.

  5. Good luck! You certainly will be able to use this pattern for all kinds of different things once you get it fitted. It is almost a "basic sloper" in that way. One thing that came to mind when looking at your pictures is that since you started out with a size 18 and then added even more length to it, maybe the bodice is too long in proportion to you. I will eagerly await reading about what you learn in your lesson...

  6. Wow...your garden dress looks awesome. where can I buy it and at what cost.

  7. Except for the back bodice the rest look really good. The back looks like you need to make a sway back adjustment, unless the side seams aren't where they should be either. It looks like the perfect platform for a tnt pattern.

  8. I just caught that you have lessons with Susan. Khalje? You lucky girl. wow am I jealous!

  9. Since I'm working backward I can see where you went with this, but am intrigued by your sizing and cutting choices as they are so similar to mine through the shoulder and bodice.

    I wish I could have a Camellia bush but I am just a little too far North.


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