Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Rectangle Dress

Here is DD#1 in a self-drafted, draped rectangle dress made according to her specifications.

The story behind it...

DD#1 came home from college in May and showed me a cell phone pic of a dress she liked in a store. The price tag was $40, and not a price a poor college student was going to pay for a simple knit, summer dress. She said, "Mom! I want you to make me that dress!!" Easy peasy. No need to use a pattern :) . The dress is basically rectangles :) .

The problem was she wanted that dress in orange. I couldn't find an appropriate orange online and went to my local fabric store to see if orange knit was in stock. The owner said no, but she would order some for me. While there, I found a teal knit that was perfect for a test dress.

At first she didn't love the color but as the dress shaped up, she liked it. I created a double layer bodice with the fold of the fabric at the top edge. It was pin fitted on her to determine the CB seam and the front, vertical darts. I chalk marked a horizontal waistline seam. Okay. Done with the bodice.

For the skirt piece, I measured her hip and added 3". She doesn't need more ease than that because she's slim, muscular and toned. A CB seam was basted and gathering stitches added on the back and front. There is no gathering at the sides because IMO that would not produce a slimming profile at the waist when viewed from the front and back. DD#2 agreed with that call. I checked with her on the strap width and created 2 interfaced tubes for the strap with a finished measurement 1" wide.

I pinned the skirt portion to the bodice at the CB, CF, and pinned the straps into place. DD#1 tried on the dress, and I pulled the front and back gathers to fit the bodice, rechecked the waistline seam and darts, and fiddled with strap length and placement. Made the necessary adjustments, then permanently stitched all seams.

The end result? DD#1 really likes the dress. The one change we will make on her orange dress will be making the straps 1 1/2-2" wide. We both felt they were too narrow. My only other issue is with the darts. She says she was wearing the same bra for fittings but I don't think so (I distinctly remember her wearing a pretty VS pushup bra during one of the fittings!). A strapless bra produces more east/west action vs. an in/up push-up bra. They appeared to be in perfect position during the fittings, but not so much now. Not like she cares anyway. Just as long as the general look is there, she's happy. She's uninterested in bust dart issues like the general, non-sewing population. In addition, I think we will go with 4" of ease on the skirt next time, doing a little skirt dart and gathering on the back. Those curvy, muscular glutes are calling for about 1" (maybe 2") extra of ease. Sometimes the dress back seems to get hung up there.

As for that $40 RTW sundress? Mine ended up about $7 including thread and interfacing. No pattern needed too, just rectangles draped on her figure. Easy patternless sewing! BTW, she just sent back to college for a weekend and saw her cousin. Now her cousin wants me to make her a dress too :) ! Luckily I have a few extra fabric scraps and have started on some muslin tees for Riley too. I created a pattern and whipped up a muslin tee for him last night, and he looked SO cute running around in it. The hardest part was getting it on him. I forgot the neck measurement has to be begin enough to fit over his head lol! At least I discovered that before even attempting to put it on him though. The girls were laughing over this little Sphynx kitten running around in his teal t-shirt. He looked so cute.

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