Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The anatomy of a dress.

I have a strange way of not being able to shut my mind off when it comes to dresses. When I see a dress I like I generally start disecting it and thinking about what the pattern pieces are shaped like and how they are made (I have to admit that this happens in church... often). Sometimes I can't figure it out, but I can usually get pretty close.

A friend recently mentioned she was looking for dresses for a trip she was going on, which inspired me to work on designing one for her. For this one I used the flat pattern method (see "A New Summer Dress" blog for the draping method).
I did some research on her body type and things to avoid and accentuate. She is tall and slender, which made me think I should make something to show off her small waist and widen her at the shoulders and hemline, so that she wouldn't look like a box (not that she could!). On her trip she is going to a warm climate, but lives in an area that is cool more than it is hot, so I thought a summer dress with a jacket to go over it... The dress is strapless but I added loops just inside the front so a ribbon could be added to make it a halter.
It is fitted through the bust, waist and hips but it flairs just below the full part of the hips, again to accentuate the petite waist. The skirt style is called 6-gore with some flair added.

I knew for the jacket I wanted a tailored look with some gathers so that it didn't look too "nun-ish". I wanted the collar wide, but not hideously so. I lowered the neckline by 2 inches all around and added a 2.5 inch wide pleated collar. This reaches to the shoulders and creates width there... I made the sleaves slightly gathered at the top and 3/4 length with a pleated gathered ruffle to fall just below the elbow. I also added 2.5 inches to the natural waist and made pleated gathers there. There is only one button on the jacket, a large covered one just at the waist to pull it in.

I'm mailing it out today and can't wait to see how it fits her!

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