Tuesday, March 27, 2012

What's black and white, and spotted all over?

This new dress I'm working on of course!

A little while ago I saw the Victorian Noble Mermaid Dress from Victorian Maiden, and thought it looked pretty similar to the pencil skirt version of Simplicity 3673. I have this pattern, so I thought, "I can totally make that!"
I'm not sure why I like this dress as much as I do - maybe it's the gentle curve of the bottom and the shape of the neckline. Usually I'm not a big fan of wearing pencil skirts, but what the heck, I can't be poofy all the time, right?

As you may have gathered from my post title, this isn't exactly a replica of the VM dress. The first difference is that I'm using this awesome black and white polka dot fabric from "That $1.99 Fabric Store" (yes, that's really the name of the store). It has a nice weight to it, and slight stretch - great for a fitted dress so I can still move freely. When I got it, it was covered in tiny red arrow stickers, pointing out print errors, but none of these are significant enough to be visible in a finished garment. (Photo further down)

Now, back to Simplicity 3673, specifically the bodice portion. It looks like I should just be able to re-cut the neckline and use the rest of the pattern as is. Yea, not quite. I mocked it up really quickly to see how to get that neckline. Sorry no photo as I didn't think I'd be writing this, but the fit was terrible, even though it worked before!
 I know I have a narrow back/shoulders and that was probably the biggest problem in this case. There's no sleeves to pull the dress tight across my back like there was in the wedding gown. I tried to just pin out the issues in the pattern but couldn't get it to work. By that I mean I gave up in about ten minutes. Patience: apparently not one of my virtues when it comes to store bought patterns. What I did have patience for is drafting a whole new pattern based on my sloper. I've mentioned this sloper a couple times before without giving much details, so here's what it looks like when it's poorly photographed:

I traced that sloper (cut off under the bust) onto craft paper and shifted around the darts until I got rid of them completely in the back and turned them into gathering in the front along the underbust seam like in the Simplicity pattern. This took several craft paper versions and fabric mock-ups before I arrived at what you see below. I have to admit the new pattern is a little scary. There's no darts or princess seams in the back for shaping. Will this really work? I don't know. It supposedly works on the store-bought pattern.

You can see the Simplicity pattern overlaid on top of mine. It's quite a difference! Notice how much narrower my back pattern is and how much less spread apart the shoulder straps are. Those need seam allowance still; they won't be super narrow. I kept the bottom edges of the bodice the same shape as Simplicity's (mine has more gather in the front, which is why it looks different laid flat) so hopefully I won't have to draft a whole new skirt too. We'll see. I'll at least have to make the back waist narrower.
The pattern isn't laid out for cutting by the way, I just wanted to use the fabric I'll be using for the dress as a photo background. See any flaws in the print? I sure don't.

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