September 23, 2012

DIY Dress Pattern: Using Shapes

Not sure why, but being back in school has actually lead to me sewing MORE. Maybe I rationalize that putting off endless text-book reading is justified because I am doing something constructive, improving my talents, [insert generic excuse here]. Whatever the reason, it has resulted in me finally constructing my own dress pattern AND IF I CAN DO IT, SO CAN YOU! Seriously! So here we go.

1. Find your inspiration and take it to the fabric store. For me, it came from a pin on my style-wise niece's Pinterst board, originally from Reiss Embroidered Dress, retails for around $300

Being new to the area, I luckily (perhaps providentially) happened across the most amazing fabric outlet store here in Dallas. Their regular prices are typical, but the selection is huge and clearance fabric... $0.99/yard or less! I found the teal spandex-sheer 5 yards for $4.50, the white silk lining 4 yards for $0.99 (yes, that's 25cents/yard), and the lace was a splurge at $8/yard. With the zipper and the thread, this dress cost less than $15. So, how did I do it?

2. Those kindergarten years are about to pay off, because constructing a pattern really comes down to finding the basic shapes within your inspiration.
     2a. Let's start with the top (front-view). Most tops are basically a rectangle with darts (triangles) at the base and a neckline (here, a semi-oval) cut into it at the top. You will also note slight semi-ovals cut away for the armholes and a small triangle cutaway at the shoulders:

You would cut one of these out of the sheer fabric, or cut the pattern in half and cut one on the fold out of sheer fabric. For a more modest look, I cut one out of sheer fabric (teal) and one out of lining fabric (white). **Top (back-view): Follow the same shapes and directions, adjusting the deepness of the neck-back to your liking and using only the inner dart. For both views, be sure to mark your darts before cutting!


2b. Now let's look at the lace overlay. It is similar to the top, a rectangle with darts (triangles), but shorter which means no neckline and no armholes. 

For this, cut one out of lace and one out of lining. (*I already cut my lining in step 2a, so another cut of lining here is not needed.) Again, the back view uses the same shapes and directions, with the exception of using only the inner dart.

2c. Cap Sleeves: Sleeves come in all shapes and sizes, but for cap sleeves, as pictured here, you basically have a top-rounded triangle that forms both the front and the back of the sleeve (it is all one piece).  Cut two of sheer fabric. *Again, I chose a more modest look and cut 2 of sheer and 2 of lining.

2d. The Midriff: The front midriff is a bowed rectangle while the two back midriff pieces are smaller, normal rectangles. Cut one front of sheer and one front of lining; cut 2 back of sheer and 2 back of lining.

2e. The Skirt: My favorite part! The skirt lining and the skirt overlay are 2 different shapes. The skirt lining is your basic trapezoid with a slightly bowed base. Cut 2 of lining.
The skirt overlay is your basic full circle skirt. I really liked this circle skirt pattern I found on Pinterest, originally from a cute blog called Fickle Sense: for the whole tutorial visit HER WEBSITE
skirt patterns (circle skirt)

For the actual construction of the dress, I will create a different post, coming soon. Be Brave! You can do it!


Shums said...

This is reeeeally cute! And slightly amazing, i dont think my brain can handle this sort of thing.

Jenna said...

Way cute! I'm one of James' friends since junior high. I saw this post on James' Facebook since you accidentally hacked him. :) I'm glad I looked because this was very interesting. I don't sew but this gives me hope!

Leanne said...

Awesome! What was that you were saying last time I saw you about not knowing how to create your own patterns?!??!? I think you were lying...I'm really excited to try this!!!

danielle z'berg said...

Did you ever post the tute?

Anonymous said...

Gorgeous dress, I love the colour and it really suits you!

Anonymous said...

I just found your blog and this is amazing!