Hello out there!! After a whirlwind trip to NYC last week, today I am thoroughly enjoying the sensation of SITTING DOWN. I know this doesn’t surprise you, but it surprises me: I came home with a stack of fabric. I really thought I didn’t need anything right now. I was going to see Manus x Machina at the Met with Shams, not to shop!
It was only a few days before leaving that I suddenly realized I would be in the company of people who sew very intricate & fancy clothing and I had nothing to bring to the party. On top of that, it would be very hot and very humid. I have this pattern in my stash, and wondered if I could whip up a version in linen:
Little Learning #1: The human body is always changing. I can no longer apply my “standard adjustments” to a Style Arc pattern and be assured of a good fit.
Using my bodice sloper (drafted from the Moulage class), I went back to the Creative Necklines class and drafted the boatneck neckline. Then I jumped over to Creative Darts and Seamlines to convert my bodice sloper darts to multiple princess seams.
Little Learning #2: An armscye princess seam has a pretty tight curve on it, which can cause problems. When I split that into two princess seams, the curves became nice and smooth and much easier to sew without getting puckers. Check out this post for a great explanation of how to make a single princess seam. To make a double princess seam, go to the end of this post.
Next step was drafting the bottom half of the dress. I could have just extended the sloper straight down for a straight skirt, but I wanted some flare like the inspiration pattern. So I went to the Skirt class to make an A-line skirt.
That may sound very involved but it only took a couple hours to draft and sew a muslin mockup. The plan was to perfect a simple version of this dress, and then proceed to add the interesting seams a la the Style Arc Addison dress. I ran out of time! I went ahead and sewed up the simple version in the green linen and I wore it to travel to NYC.
I didn’t quite know what this dress looked like on me, but thanks to Shams, I have photos! Here are some pics I grabbed from her Instagram feed:
Yes it is a little funny that I would go and tour McCalls, because I worked there at one time. But, you know what? It was A LOT OF FUN to see old friends and reminisce. Back to my dress, because you know that is more important!
As I wore this dress throughout the very long day of Amtrak, subway, touring McCall, shopping at Mendel Goldberg and finally checking in to my hotel, I was truly grateful I had worn this unlined linen dress. All you can do on a day like that is to embrace the heat, keep slathering on the sunscreen and enjoy everything. The air conditioning indoors means everyone at McCall was wearing lots of layers, though!
Little Learning #3: Here is where the fabric comes in. When you wear something that feels incredible, you think, “hey I want more!” and that is how I ended up purchasing a gorgeous stack of beefy linens at B&J Fabrics. I bought 1.5 yards of each because that is enough to make palazzo pants or a tunic or a jean jacket.
The next day I wore the dress I started last summer and finished very recently:
Little Learning #4: You can be cool and comfortable in other fabrics! Oh my, I am laughing to myself at how focused I was on linen. I love linen, don’t get me wrong, but truth be told, this dress was every bit as comfortable as the unlined linen dress was. This one is made from a stretch woven purchased from Gorgeous Fabrics.
Little Learning #5: By the end of the day, I knew the dress wasn’t necessarily a huge winner. It felt great, but I didn’t get a single compliment on it. So I knew it was a bit of a dud. The next day, in the blue floral dress, I got compliments, and when I look at the photos, well – I agree! Green dress gets a C and Blue Floral dress gets an A.
And if I keep rambling, this post will be crazy long and I won’t get anything done today. Let me finish up by telling you how to make double princess seams for smoother curves. You start with your bodice sloper, but don’t do the thing where you just draw new lines along the vertical dart to make a shoulder princess seam. Instead, draw the line where you want your new shoulder princess seam to go.
Follow the instructions in Lesson 6 of Creative Seamlines to transfer the shaping from the vertical dart to the seamline. BUT, instead of transferring all of the width, only transfer HALF of the width. In Lesson 7, Suzy shows a great example of 2 princess seams but she transferred all of the width to only one of the seams. The other seam is just a style line. To accommodate my curves better, I transferred half to EACH of the 2 princess seams. That might still be confusing, but if you want to draft your own patterns, watch the classes and take advantage of Suzy’s involvement on the platform. I have learned a lot by just reading all the other questions and her answers.
I am actually going to go back and re-draft the bodice of the blue floral dress to have 2 princess seams with the curves evenly distributed. Then it will be easy to sew without getting puckers. If you have more questions, feel free to leave a comment or shoot me an email.
I’ll post again when I have time, so see you in a while crocodiles!