Sunday, July 10, 2011

Summer Dress (es?)

This linen was destined for a long sleeved shirt.
So much of sewing intention is shaped around the climate. New York summers have been such that they can be recalled with dread in January. It didn't take much to can that long sleeved plan and go for a simple sheath. I had 2 yards, the fabric was about 50" wide, lets go.

I didn't have success with the simple sheath pattern I fell for last summer. Butterick4386 showed me all sorts of ideas and promised to turn into my very own TNT pattern. But I did not like the way that puppy looked made up and on me, even after I added an iron on monarch butterfly to it.
I learned something though. The boat neck isn't my best friend. I need to shorten the upper chest area and maybe between underarm and waist as well because the dress didn't hit where the remains of my waistline is… or isn't. That's progress though.

This time around I used my sloper to draft the pattern. I raised the armhole for the grater coverage needed for a sleeveless dress. I also dug out a THREADS article "Curved Darts Flatter Every Figure" (issue# 107). I re-shaped the bodice darts, making them s- curved. I didn't even shape them as much as I could have and still got better results. This technique is a keeper. I kept the big pockets they're hard to see with the print, though.
The construction was eccentric because I relied on my experience putting things together. I also approached the dress like a drawing, without knowing where it would end up, I made decisions as I went along. Read: I didn't figure out how to put this together beforehand and some procedures cancelled out procedures I might have used later, if I thought about it. I drafted facings for it, then thought I'd like to bind the neckline with some contrasts. That worked out well, I like that kind of fiddly work sometimes but then I had to stay stitch the armholes, clip and press the seam allowances to the inside and slip stitch the dress and facing armholes together, then sew up the side seams. A slit neck opening on a dress I saw somewhere caught my eye and I altered my facings to suit. Then I thought I might not be able to get into the dress after altering for the more close fitting darts. Back to THREADS magazine to check whether I could use a side zip closing. That would have required more forethought though, and I hadn't planned for deeper side seams. I read that 23" was the minimum neck opening length for pulling something over your head. I had more than enough. I turned out the button tin and found the green flower shaped button, started to make a spaghetti tube to use as a loop fastener, then remembered the "Cool Corder" tool I fell for at a long ago "Knit-Out" in Union Square. It took less than ten minutes to get the thing working and spit out a short length of i-cord for the loop. At the last minute, I added the purple button over the green button so the flower could have a center.
I want to keep going and make more summer dresses.