Last week, I presented my inspiration collage for what is (hopefully) going to become an amazing party dress for Christmas. As promised, I will share my process of getting from idea to finished garment!
After gathering inspiration, I make a rough sketch of which features from the inspiration dresses I wanted to use, adding comments and memos of my thoughts along the way. It doesn't have to look great, it's just to make sure one has thought about all parts of the garment before anything else.
Next is details and cutting. For example, I want my dress to be adjustable in waist width, since I want to be able to wear it both with my standard underwear and with my corset, to give it that true Dior New Look silhouette. So, I'll be doing both a zipper and a lacing detail in the back!
And here's a rough pattern plan. I'm keeping the skirt super simple, just a big rectangle to gather around the waist.
The most important pattern pieces are the front and back bodice. Without them fitted well, the whole garment will look sloppy! I have made mine earlier using pattern constructing books, a lot of math and a lot of patience and fitting. This is the basic sketch...
...which leads to these pieces. I have them cut in high waist length, and if I want to make a dress with natural or lower waistline, I simply add the inches required. The neckline is high and fitted, and lower necklines marked out on the pattern pieces for reference. I will be using the low low one on this dress! And these are actually the only real paper pattern pieces I'll be using. I'll just improvise the rest.
If you don't feel like making an entire bodice pattern from scratch, you can cheat a little! Take a bodice pattern that fits quite well, copy it on heavier paper (perhaps with some minor alterations to make it as simple as possible and as perfect in fit as possible) and you can use it again and again to go from when making things of your own design! Mostly, what changes is where the darts are put and how the neckline is cut, and those details are not that hard to play around with once you have your own basic pattern! Much easier than one could imagine! The picture below shows variations for bust dart placement, they can basically go anywhere!
Tomorrow I'll be sewing up a storm, we'll see how far I get! We're leaving town on Tuesday evening heading to the other side of the country and our families for Christmas so it has to be done by then!