Self-drafted sewing

So this post is about something I've been working on for quite a while and I'm really excited to share... My very first self-drafted sew! I mentioned that I was going to an evening course in pattern drafting a little while back, and this is my first finished garment - a sort of wearable muslin and product of the pattern pieces I've been working on.

It's by no means perfect, and the final garment I'm working towards will probably look quite different, but it has princess seams, pleats and petal sleeves and I'm pretty proud of it (try saying that after a glass of vino ha!)

The course is very self directed. I just took along a mood board in the first week and ended up using one of the dresses as my main inspiration (the one in the middle on the right hand page, I think it might be Viven of Holloway). It has quite a vintage feel and a few features and techniques that made it interesting and just the right amount of a challenge to draft.

I had to start off with the very basics, so I made my own bodice block. A block is a basic pattern piece that you make using your measurements to perfectly fit you. It took a few muslins and tweaks to get right, but it will be really useful as a starting point to have and work from. Some of the others in the class made personal blocks, and it was really interesting to see how different they all looked! My front bodice differed massively in size to my back - no wonder I've ended up trimming down the centre back seams on a fair few of my makes! It's all starting to make sense...

By using the block, and playing with it in both paper and fabric form, I managed to work out and create all the extra features - of course I had the help and support of the wonderful tutor too! Let me show you some of the pattern details...

I removed that humongous breast-accommodating dart on the front bodice in favour of a princess seam. I usually avoid princess seams because the prospect of adjusting them to fit my bust fills me with dread, but now I have a block it's easy peasy! I took the princess seams all the way though the back bodice too so they match nicely at the shoulder seam. Then, like my inspiration image, I added this neat little pleat on the outside shoulder.

I opened up the neckline and took it into a shallow v shape, which is actually really flattering. Much to my tutor's umm... disgust.... I top-stitched the neckline. I don't think it's so bad to be honest, but in what felt like true Project Runway style, he said that the top-stitching 'absolutely killed it' (and not in a good way haha). Following this, I did get shown how to properly draft and apply a facing, and how to understitch so you never get a peek of it from the outside. Never going to attempt dodgy topstitching again!

On the plus side, the tutor did say that my concealed zip was excellently executed - hooray! Even I can't believe how well I matched all the seams!

I drafted basic sleeves from a ready-made block, and then from that, worked them into two pieces to form a petal. There's a small box pleat on top to add fullness, and a couple of small pleats in there. I love the sleeves, but they feel just a little bit tight in the back when the dress is being worn. I think I need to make them a little bigger (cut and spread technique maybe..?) and slightly gather then into the back bodice to add a bit of ease.

For this version, I added just a very basic gathered skirt which was roughly based on the Emery skirt. I'm working on drafting a wrap pencil skirt for the final version of the dress, which I'll hopefully be making up in the next few weeks. I'm imaging it in a lovely emerald green wool crepe...

So in all, I'm pretty pleased with my first self drafted dress! I've learnt a lot along the way and still have a few things to tweak for the final version, but I'll definitely be wearing this one with pride :)

Northern Soul inspired sew

I got to spend a lovely few days in Manchester and Liverpool doing fun things last week. This obviously required a new dress - a second, and again, slightly modified Megan dress from Tilly Walne's Love at First Stitch.

I bought the fabric quite a while ago with the Megan in mind. To be honest, I don't normally wear white. In fact, I avoid buying pale coloured clothes and fabric all together so I don't have to put a white wash on (ha!). I just had one of the moments in the fabric shop where you just picture an amazing version of a pattern coming to life. It's a poly cotton with a slight bit of stretch to it, and like my last Megan, that stretch and movement really helps the fit. 

I had a bit of help inspiration-wise from a cinema trip to see Northern Soul. It really captures the sounds, styles and fashions of the era, and spurred me on to finally get this dress made!

The dress took no time at all to whip up. I'd made a few tweaks last time and stuck with these. There's an extra inch added to lengthen the bodice/stop those tucks getting lost under my bust just like before. This time I also took a centimetre off the centre back too. I've been doing a pattern drafting course in the evenings at art college, and it's helped me to realise that the amount of fabric I need at the back is significantly smaller than what I need to cover my front (Light bulb moment!).

I'm really pleased with the overall fit - it's probably a bit better and more comfortable than version 1. Also, of course, there's the added collar. Last time I drafted a Peter Pan collar, but this one definitely called for the pointed contrast collar. I based this one on the wonderful Emery collar that I can't stop swooning over!

I'm so pleased with the dress that I think I'm going to have to make more pale garments to make the white wash worth it! The polka dots and collar have just the right amount of impact. I'll be wearing this one as a day dress and for going out too!

Thanks for visiting!

Thanks for visiting!