Sunday, March 14, 2010

Not as simple as it looks

This is one of those designs that is very simple - clean lines, sharp contrast, nicely balanced (I think), not fussy. But what is very simple when made up is not necessarily simple to execute. Glossing over the DOH! moment I had when drafting (centre front pleat drafted on fold. Side pleats drafted flat. Um, yeah, we're pretending that it was always supposed to look like two big everted [is everted the opposite of inverted?] pleats rather than three inverted box pleats.)

Getting back to the point, this design is exactly what I had in mind. However I didn't want to put in a centre back seam, making the easy peasy facing application method impossible. No amount of staring blankly at the dress was going to come up with an easy method to clean finish the edges, so I had to twist and turn and fiddle to acheive the desired result. Then I had to stare blankly for a bit longer to decide how best to clean finish the back neck slit. The answer was to use a binding strip to face the edges - simple and solid. (Sometimes I think it would be nice to just make something from a pattern - someone else already figured out how to put the pieces together!)

On the bright side stitching down the lower edge of the facing was a joy - lovely crisp cotton which held a finger-press so well that all I had to do was clip into the inset corners and finger press around the curves and pin them into place. No running a gathering stitch around the edge, not even a press needed - just finger press and pin!

The next lot of blank staring came when I had to decide on embellishment. It needed something to balance the burgundy facing, but since it's unlined I didn't want anything too fussy on the inside. I thought of a spiral of a strip of ruffle, and looked for my rolled hem foot. It is MIA, and I almost went nuts looking for it. I wonder if I gave it to a friend thinking I wouldn't use it? Can't imagine why I would, since I'd tried it and knew it worked, and I like baby hems on light fabrics. Nothing else was sparking any ideas, so eventually I gave up and hit the net to blog surf. Somewhere I saw a dress decorated with dozens of appliqued spirals - perfect! The geometric shape works much better with the lines of this dress than the organic shape of a flower would have, in my opinion.

So, the end result is a dress which I like very very much. It is unfussy, striking, and very much to my taste. Much easier to envision than produce! I deliberately drafted it too small for Isabella so I wouldn't be tempted to keep it. Then I drafted it in her size, because she needs one too!


  1. That is a beautiful one of a kind little dress. Nice work!

  2. This is my favorite thing so far. Absolutely. I LOVE the graphic design of this. When I first saw the image I thought it was black, not burgundy (it's really sunny in here today so my screen's a little reflective). Black would be great too, but the burgundy is lovely. Now I'm going to have to scrounge through all my patterns and see if I can find something similar because I am WAY too lazy to figure out drafting that thing myself. And I Must Have It.

  3. That really is very beautiful.. hope it finds a lovely stylish home to hang out in.