Self Drafted Side Cut-Out Dress

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Here’s something new! My 2015 has not been off to the best start in terms of sewing productivity but I have finished one new item – this dress!

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The Pattern: I drafted it myself based on my bodice block (which looks like I’m going to have to make smaller, this bodice is way too big) with some minor alterations.

I added a narrow waistband and a slightly curved gathered skirt but the cool part is definitely these side cut outs which are fun and summery (it’s oddly warm in Texas today despite the fact that it is supposed to be winter, whatever).

I like the look of a gathered skirt with a little curve at the bottom as opposed to a pure rectangle because I think it give the hem a little more poof but I can still use a border print without it looking wonky. I plan on using a border print in my next version.

It closes with a center back invisible zip.

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Because of the cutouts I had to completely line the bodice. But I didn’t want to have to line the skirt or add any sort of support to the waist line so I went with a waistband, problem solved.

The Fabric: Just some quilting cotton which works fine for this style of dress. My MIL actually got this for me for Christmas so I’m glad it’s getting used.

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The Changes: For this section I’m going to talk about what I plan on changing for my next iteration of this pattern.

– Make the bodice smaller. It’s way too big in the bust and waist and I think it’s because I haven’t altered this block in well over a year and it just doesn’t fit as well anymore.

– Lower the v-neck in the back and change the angle of the shoulders an back seam slightly to compensate for gaping. As it is now the back V is ok but it gapes slightly depending on how I move my arms.

– I want to make the shoulder line narrower at the at the armhole, as in, move the armhole edge closer to the neck and further from my shoulder bone. But in doing so I’m making the armhole bigger and need to make sure I don’t have any gaping, especially in the front armcye. We’ll see how that goes.

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– The cutouts are fine. I like them as is. I didn’t add any interfacing to the waistband but if I use a lighter weight fabric in the future I’ll need to.

– I also want to add pockets. I’m always to lazy to do it (so much extra cutting out and edge finishing and blah, I just want to sew up my side seams fast!).

The Results: Not bad for the first try. I’m trying a new method of drafting the entire thing digitally in Adobe Illustrator. first rather than just on paper. I’m hoping it will save me time in the long run and also make my drafting more precise.

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The only problem I had was the loose fit of the bodice but I couldn’t have known that without making a muslin first anyway. Now I can go back and make alterations to my original plain block and re-draft this dress’ bodice from there.

Dotted Mini Skirt

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This is the product of my first test print of my soon to be published (and by “soon” I mean in the amount of time it takes George R.R. Martin to publish his next book) skirt pattern.

The first test print is exactly what it sounds like. I digitized my pattern, graded it and re-printed it out to compare it to the original pieces. This is the first – but certainly not last – step in the testing phase.

It’s important to figure out any obvious issues like, for example, that I somehow missed adding seam allowance to the center back of the waistband pieces. Oops.

Or how there’s no way I’m going to be able to fit the bottom band piece in one long section in the upper size ranges. It will just be too long for the width of the fabric so I need to chop that piece into at least two smaller pieces.

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Also, large sizes might require longer zippers for the pockets so I’ll need to decide if I put different zipper length requirements for upper and lower sizes or just make all sizes use the longer zipper?

Usually by the second test print all these main problems will be dealt with. Since I’m expanding my size chart I might get someone who fits a larger size to test because the upper sizes will be drafted from a different block than my size. And if all that is good to go I can move on to asking all you lovelies to test for me!

You’ve seen this design before with the zip pockets and lots of crazy seaming (which is easier to see in my previous version).

This time I made it out of a brown dotted cotton/linen blend from Cloth Pocket. It’s medium weight and I added interfacing to the waist. Facings and pockets are just some light blue cotton voile I got at a fabric swap.

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I also made this one slightly longer than my gold version by about 3/4″.

I topstitched all the seams, too, but it is difficult to see because the thread blends in perfectly with the fabric. I like the topstitching, though, because it keeps the seam allowances flat on the inside and makes it easy to stitch down the facings without needing to do it by hand, or stitch in the ditch, or use some trick around the top of the back zipper. Easy peasey and it looks nice too.

For the next go around I might try a striped fabric. I want to see if the seaming allows for some cool chevron effect action.

Oh, and I’ll share more about the top I’m wearing in an upcoming post. 😉
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Also, just to let you know, I’m planning on raising my pattern prices pretty soon so if there’s one (or two or all three!) that you haven’t bought yet but have been wanting to, better get them now at their lower price.

Self Drafted Cut-out dress

Self Drafted Back Cut-out dress

I feel like I’ve been slacking a bit with this blog the past couple weeks. Sorry peeps! But I’ve been busy with other stuff – painting my house, building nightstands, cleaning up post Christmas and sewing!

Self Drafted Back Cut-out dress

This is my first draft of a dress that you may have seen my sketch for. It needs some tweaks but other than that it’s not so bad for a first try.

Self Drafted Back Cut-out dress

Let’s talk features! This dress has:

  • a boat neck
  • angled side parts
  • short sleeves with a notch on the side
  • a side invisible zip
  • a 6 panel gored skirt that basically makes a half-circle skirt
  • a cut-out in the back with a button placket (non functional) holding the two back sides together
  • grosgrain ribbon to stabilize the back waist
  • bra-strap holders at the shoulders
  • and it’s fully lined!

Self Drafted Back Cut-out dress

Overall it fits great but the back needs adjusting, which I’m not surprised with, it’s the most detailed part of the dress. I was making the back cut out to be just high enough that I can wear a regular bra under it. As it is right now the highest part of the cutout comes right below the back of my bra so I’ll need to adjust by making that part lower and making the button placket a little longer.

Also since there are no darts in the back the lower back at the sides gaped so I adjusted by shaving off a bit from the sides of the back pieces. I’ll transfer that adjustment back to my pattern, too.

Self Drafted Back Cut-out dress

All in all I’m going to make the back cutout smaller. It’s one of those things where you can’t tell if you like it until you try it, ya know? In this case I think less is more but you get the idea of how it will look in later versions.

I think I’ll also make the neckline a little less wide.

Self Drafted Back Cut-out dress

Sorry about the kind of crappy pics. It’s cold-ish outside so I settled for indoor pics and I realized I should have ironed the dress a little bit. I even noticed one thing I hadn’t seen before taking pics – this is a yarn dyed ikat so it natually has some variation in it. It seems that I cut out my bodice pieces with a darker area running horizontally right across my bust and mid back. Hmm, kind of annoying. Oh well, it’s just a trial dress anyway!

So what do you think? Should I add any more changes other than the adjustments I’m already going to make? I already bought the fabric I’m going to use for the 2nd draft!