A BUMPY START WITH THE PATTERNMAKING
I was excited to begin the patternmaking on this month’s design. I was looking forward to drafting the bodice, having meant to make a wrap front style garment and this was the perfect opportunity. It did not as you can guess from the title work out as planned. I will admit to being a little worried during the drafting of the pattern that I was not going to be able to make the dress look as nice as I had pictured it.
I started with Helen Joseph-Armstrong’s book Patternmaking for Fashion Design as my first point of reference. You can find more information about my favourite patternmaking books here. I used her suggestions for a similar wrap front bodice to alter my tunic block. I thought it looked pretty straightforward and had high hopes that I might not need to sew too many toiles (practice garments or muslins). When I tried the first toile on I had to laugh. The front bodice was not even close to correct. It was very loose along the neck edge, and the outer layer even had so much extra material it folded over in the front. Hot mess.
There were other issues as well. The inner layer of the skirt was far too tight. It is easier to blame the skirt than my hips. Although I could blame chocolate with its sweet, sweet siren song. Damn you chocolate. I am pear shaped; this causes a lot of problems if I try to buy anything off the rack as the garment is inevitable tight on my hips and gaps at the small of my back. I have to wear a belt with everything or alter garments to make it fit. This dress fit very nicely at the waist but very tightly on my hips. I added 1cm on each side of the hip line and blended it to the current waist line.
The outer skirt looked like my original drawing, but the curve of the front hem needed to be adjusted as the design line was not as pronounced as my sketch. I raised the hem @@@@@@cm and made the curved edge near the waistline more pronounced.
CHANGES NEEDED FOR THE SECOND TOILE:
· Front bodice – changed front edge, took 1cm off shoulder at neckline
· Inner skirt – Added 1cm to hip line
· Outer skirt – changed the front curve on front skirt
I made the changes listed above to the second toile and was hopeful that the bodice would fit better on the next toile. Nope, it was a lukewarm mess. At least I made progress in the right direction. I liked how the left side fit but was not impressed with the outer layer. I decided to change my tact a bit. At the time, the right side of the bodice had no darts and the left inner side had a dart from the waist to the bust. I decided to scrap the right side and use only the left side. I changed the dart into an angled pleat. I am hoping this will add a soft shape to the bust line and further play up the cross body design.
When I tried on the second toile, there was something not quite right about where the two layers were sewn together on the skirt. I decided to see what it would look like if the left side of the skirt were comprised of two separate layers. I created the last toile as two pieces: inner skirt and outer dress. It made the garment more versatile and allowed the dress to move in an interesting way.
CHANGES NEEDED FOR THE THIRD TOILE:
· Front bodice – use left side piece for both sides, change darts to angled pleats
· Skirt – separate inner skirt from the outer layer.
THIRD TIME IS THE CHARM-RIGHT?
Now we were making headway. The bodice of the third toile looked much better. I am sure you could hear my sigh of relief from your computer. The change from darts to pleats does make the design differ from the original sketch, but I think it adds to the design. I was pleased with the third toile and was starting to feel like there was hope for the garment and that I would make my deadline. The family sized bar of chocolate would no longer be needed.
PERISCOPING THE PATTERNMAKING PROGRESS
I couldn’t wait to broadcast on Periscope. I wanted to show my progress and ask my fabulous scope watchers a few questions. It was by far the best scope yet! It wasn’t that more people watched than every before or that I got lots of hearts (who doesn’t love hearts though). I was because there were very supportive people watching, they were commenting and giving suggestions which was amazing. I love how interactive it was. Check out the Periscope broadcast above to see the toile, see my favourite patternmaking books, and discuss some of the challenges ahead. It seriously was a rush! Thank you to everyone who watched and commented!