Saturday, August 8, 2015

Following Patterns

The (modern) dresses I make myself? You may have realised that they very rarely resemble the picture on the envelope of the pattern I start with. Typically I come up with a design idea, find a couple patterns to mash together, or sometimes just one to majorly alter, then I make the dress in my head rather than the one the pattern is supposed to make. However last week I actually made not only one, but two dresses that look like they came straight out of the pattern book. And I really like them!

First off this swingy, red, halter dress made from a reprint of a 1940's pattern.

Butterick B5209 to be exact. I picked it up at a pattern sale a couple weeks ago, as there was nothing 40's inspired in my wardrobe and I decided there ought to be.  

The red fabric is a very soft, lightweight, synthetic of some sort. I'm not exactly sure what the fiber content is, it feels too soft to be polyester (which often feels plasticy), but it's definitely a synthetic of some sort, as it does melt. (I learned this while pressing the hem. Thankfully the dress was actually a bit long so I was able to just cut off the melted piece and re-hem)  I picked up about 4 or 5 yards of it at Goodwill for about $1. Although I typically prefer to use cotton for sundresses, this fabric worked really well for this design.

I pretty much made the dress exactly as the pattern showed (Well I actually never looked at the pattern instructions, but the dress came out looking like the pattern envelope so I assume I did it right) I only made a couple alterations. First, I added pockets. Second, I cut up an old bra and sewed it in the front of the dress. 

This was very easy to do, and very practical too, thanks to the low back of the dress.

Thanks to my alteration, this is a very comfortable dress to wear, and I might actually use this pattern again! With some major alterations of course, as I don't need 2 of the same dress in my closet.

The other pattern I made up was this one, Butterick B6205.  I picked it up because I thought it looked cool and comfortable and quick and easy to make. And it was! No zippers, no buttons, nothing at all complicated.

Now the pattern envelope said I needed over 4 yards of fabric, well that felt a little excessive to me so I only got as much fabric as I thought I'd need, 2 yards. That was enough fabric, but I did have to make some changes once I started cutting the dress out.

The dress is basically four pieces. Skirt front, skirt back, bodice back and bodice front, all cut on the fold. Well with only 2 yards of fabric there wasn't enough "fold" for everything so I had to sew a seam down the center back of the bodice, but that was no big deal.

The bodice was also supposed to be lined with the same fabric the dress was made of. With only 2 yards of fabric I, of course, didn't have enough for the lining. No biggie, I almost never buy fabric to line anything with. I just use whatever is in my stash that some what coordinates. After all, no one ever sees the lining! Well except for with this dress. When the dress is tied at the shoulders, the unbleached muslin I used as lining definitely shows. But, when I throw on my ivory crocheted belt, the ivory lining of the shoulder straps appears to be an intentional design aspect, and the entire look is 'tied' together!

This is a great dress for a hot summer day, cool, comfortable, and yes, it has pockets ( that were actually part of the pattern rather than something I chose to add!). I can't say I regret making it exactly like the pattern showed. I might actually use the pattern again as the base for a future (self-designed) dress. I'm actually already considering how I might combine both this and the 1940's pattern into one swingy, comfortable, easy to make, awesome dress! Check back in a couple months to see if I'm successful. Mean while I've got a few birthday presents I need to make, and major goat chores I need to tackle, so back to work I go!

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