Wednesday, February 27, 2013
PPM #2: Bamboo Shoot Dress
Most of the patterns and their instructions in the first Pattern Magic book are only designed to show what can be done with fabric manipulation. As Carolyn states, they're not so much finished garments as design concepts. It's up to the maker how to apply these concepts. This requires some creativity on the part of the maker, but also some experience with basic sewing and drafting techniques. For this month I chose the bamboo shoot bodice. It didn't seem very hard (I can be overconfident like that! Sometimes it helps, sometimes it comes around to bite me in the butt) and I thought I might be able to make it wearable. This design is feminine and delicate, so my thoughts turned towards a simple dress.
I had to go to IKEA anyway (yes had to, I swear, it was work-related!) so I checked out their fabrics (no luck) which are next to the bedsheets. And that's where I found my fabric! It's 100% lyocell, which is similar to rayon but the production process is more environmental friendly. It's really soft and almost silky in drape and touch, but heavier. I mean, who wouldn't want to wear soft bedsheets like that all day? The only disadvantage is that is wrinkles like crazy. Which is good if you want folds that stay put on themselves, but not if you want to move and sit down in it.
It's entirely possible that I love the back even more than the front! I'm so happy this pattern placement turned out well. I used my own bodice blocks to draft the pattern. If the pattern was going to be fitted, I'd rather have them drawn on my measurements. Literally every seam is different from the sloper that comes with the book. Only when you start drawing your patterns based on your actual measurements you realize that not only the bust or waist can be different, but also waist length, armscye depth, bust height and what not. The skirt is a half circle skirt.
Cutting and sewing
But let's take a look at the bamboo shoot. The book says to draw the bamboo shoot pattern, but does not share details on measurements. So I eyeballed it and decided to go with shoots 6 cm wide. The angle is a bit off, the top V should be at the center but it's half a cm to the left. If you want to know more about the process of making the shoot, Marianna from Sew2Pro has a better post on how to draw this. I should have read that first :). I muslined the bodice to practice the folding. I just drew the outlines on the fabric with a pencil, which made it easier to get neat folds. On the final piece I hand sewed the folds just inside the seam so it wouln't show. The book says just to sew the intersections, but that won't hold if you'll actually wear it. I also trimmed the seam allowances to reduce bulk. The whole dress is lined with the same fabric, the underside of the sheet.
Cutting this out was even harder than making the bamboo shoot. I tried to line things up but had limited space because I bought the one-person sheet. And I made the mistake of not checking the skirt pattern: it turned out I used one drafted for a friend with completely different measurements. Oops... It was shorter than I had intended, and too narrow at the waist. I had to add an extra strip of fabric at the sideseam. Not so nice. The dress closes with a blind zip at the side seam. Confession: It's not finished yet. I have to re-do a seam because it puckers, hand stitch the lining to the zip, and hem it. I'm scared to though, I'm not sure I could hem it without stretching the seams. Any suggestions for hemming rayon?
It was very nice to sew some frosting again! I'm checking out that bedsheet section more often, that's for sure. The bamboo shoot was interesting to make, but I think the dress would have been pretty without it too. I'm planning on wearing this dress to a wedding next week, so it will get worn at least once :). No clue what to wear with it though, in terms of colour and style. How would you style it?
Marianna's february project demonstrates another way of how to incorporate some magic into your designs by altering the just the facing of the bodice. And like she says, if you'd like to join us, remember no project is too small (nor big!) and you have months to prepare. Just blog about it on the last Wednesday of any month or, if you’re blogless, send either of us an email with your pics and we’ll host a post for you. The date for next month is March 27th!