Tag Archives: christmas dress

Adventures in drafting // christmas dress 2016

velvet xmas dress

velvet xmas dress

velvet xmas dress

velvet xmas dress

OHAI. It’s been a while.

I realized the other day that while I’ve alluded to certain things, I haven’t actually talked about anything life-related in a while. So here’s a life update in a  nutshell:

Last year I decided that my old career was not exactly panning out to be what I wanted (a lot of this had to do with licensing regulations in California, but that’s boring and not sewing-related).  At the same time, I had signed up for a flat pattern class at the local CC just to have something to do while I looked for a new job after moving from Boston back to California. Pretty much by week 3 of the class I decided I was going to need to switch careers.  The next semester I signed up for a full class load. Now I’m finishing up my last semester (well, technically I’ll have one last class next semester) while interning as a pattern maker for a local designer.

So, lots of changes going on in the last year! Spoiler alert: I love it.

Anyway, full time school + internship + part time job means not so much time for blogging, which I really miss. I have a whole pile of clothes I’ve sewn in the last six months that need to be photographed. I keep being hesitant to do it because it’s too cold outside. And then I remember I used to do this in Boston, in the snow, in 30 degree weather. I’m shivering just thinking about it. -_-

ANYWAY, now that we’re all caught up, meet this year’s Christmas dress.

The backstory is that my friend kept buying these gorgeous velvet dresses from Anthropologie, and then we planned a weekend holiday trip and decided one evening we would wear velvet dresses. So I got on Pinterest and looked for velvet dresses and found this lovely one by Holly Willoughby.

Making the pattern was pretty straightforward. Move bust darts to waist and turn them into gathers, neckline yoke thing, V-front cutout that meets in the middle, puffed sleeve with gathers that don’t go all the way to the armhole. Since I was using velvet and didn’t want to bother with a separate lining, I made facings for the front and yoke to make it easier.

I used a cheapy stretch velvet from Fabrics ‘r Us because this was kind of an experiment. We’ll call it a Christmas muslin. It actually wasn’t that hard to sew together. I basted the tricky bits but other than that the pile of the velvet sort of acted like velcro and it mostly stayed put. I used stitch witchery for the hem and sleeve edge to avoid having a row of stitching. It stays put and I just think it looks nicer.

The beading was super fun and so quick now that I have a beading needle. I didn’t even bother buying new beads. I’ve done so many beading projects in the last few years that I have an assortment of extra beads and the original dress didn’t seem to have any distinct beading pattern so I just used what I had.

Anyway, I do kind of wish the insides were a little prettier (I was kind of rushed because this was one of two finals week procrastination projects) but I’m in love. It’s one of the comfiest fancy dresses I own and I’ve already worn it twice. The velvet makes it look dressy but the stretchy means more room for feasting.

Maybe I need one in green too..

 

 

adventures in drafting – Christmas dress

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I finally had a chance to take pictures of this year’s Christmas dress! This one was my final project for my pattern drafting class last semester and I’m completely smitten.

I had some trouble getting started because the twee small child in me wanted to take my newfound knowledge of collars and necklines and throw a Peter Pan collar on everything I own. I decided on a bateau neckline and then cut a deep V into it for funsies. It wasn’t in the book but it worked in muslin and I just drafted a facing-shaped piece for interfacing and it stands up just fine.

I started off playing around in quarter scale so all measurements on these guys are quarter-scale measurements. All of this stuff can be found in Principles of Flat Pattern Design. (We just started using the Armstrong book in the advanced class and so far I’m equal parts excited and overwhelmed. In a good way.)

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I started with a combined waist dart sloper and did an adjustment for no sleeves, bateau neck adjustment, cut a midriff yoke, and then angled the dart slightly for aesthetics. The deep V is just cut straight from the new neckline edge straight down to the bust line.

Now that I’m looking at this again I’m realizing I never closed the neckline dart in the bateau. Whoops. No wonder it gapes just a tiny bit.

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The skirt was pretty straightforward. I wanted something big but clean-looking (no gathers) at the waist, but not a circle skirt. I ended up doing a flared skirt (the pink additions) with extra flare (the green).

And then here’s what all the pieces looked like with seam allowances added! I did slightly tweak these after I took these photos though. I had forgotten to do the no-sleeves adjustment on the bodice back, and my hem allowance was too long so I changed it from 3/4″ to 1/2″. I also ended up drafting a pocket piece and added hidden pockets to the side seams of the skirt (as you can maybe see in photo #2 up there).

I also liked the idea of an invisible hemline so I used stitch witchery on the hem and then hand-stitched some gold bias tape (you can kind of see a tiny sliver of it in photo #3).

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And here’s the first version sewn up in muslin! This was before I made the aforementioned tweaks to the pattern so you can see some slight armhole gaping in the back and definitely in the back neckline. (Although to be fair, this dress form is a bit smaller than the ones we use at school.) You might also be able to spot some of that annoying hem pulling that happens when your hem is too wide and sewing it causes drag lines. I spent WAY too long trying to iron it flat.

Sidenote: this assignment was to make a garment that fits the dressforms at school (which are size 8s from 1997) using a Butterick sloper size 8. It was sheer luck that I happen to fit my dress, so any slight fit issues are because it wasn’t actually meant to fit me!

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And that’s it!

(I actually really like the way it looks in cream and might have to make another one of these in some sort of a cream linen or crepe!)