A ‘Totally OMG’ Dress | Veronica Darling
Fabric: 1/4 of a Christian Dior Bedsheet Set, $1
Notions: thrifted zipper, $.10c
Time to complete: 6 hours
First worn: December 2011
Wear again? Yes!
Total Cost: ~$1.10
This dress is 'OMG' for a number of reasons, first up: I FREAKING MADE A DRESS WITHOUT A PATTERN. It's also a little 'Va Va Voom', so yet again: OMG. And a big OMG from me: I love my hairdresser!
The dress is inspired by the Stop Staring repro clothing line, as a few of my friends wear these darling dresses and I'm always left wondering if I can ever make something similar. After a lot of googling, I came up with this idea to make a bust area & a back bodice with fold over (and therefore built in) sleeves/shoulder straps. My biggest worry about sewing without a pattern, was: Where the hell do you start? I'm a Virgo, so organised (in my own way) and work really well with instructions. So where was 'Step One' here?! I was worried about sizing those pieces… do I measure myself or Diana the Dress Form? Should I drape the fabric on and cut out shapes? Did I even know how to drape?
Now, like a lot of us, I've watched Project Runway. They use their dress forms a lot, and stick sticky tape lines all over them. And yes, friends. Since I've not ever drafted a dress from scratch and never been to drafting school, I tried to copy what they do on TV. And, it kinda worked!
I used Diana to cut out the bodice shape onto butchers paper, and that's where I thought about pleating the front bits of the bodice, and I put a dart on the outside to give the boob shape. I remember reading somewhere that darts and pleating help sculpt the fabric, because the fabric is just flat. The butchers paper really helped my Virgo Brain because it was easy to fold in the pleats and the dart, and then it became a pattern piece for the front. The back bodice piece was a little harder because I only wanted one piece so I kinda made it up (folding it around from the back) and it came up ok!
Originally, I was going to make the dress in black and white gingham; some fabric from the stash had a decent stretch in it. BUT, as this was my first drafting attempt I thought I'd better use a toile or muslin as practice, just in case!
I've had this thrifted bedsheet set for ages, so I wasn't going to miss much of it. Plus the greens/blues looked nice with my new hair colour!
Cutting 4 of the bodice pattern pieces, pleating the centre and then sewing 2 bodice pieces created a front bodice and lining. I made some bias binding for the neckline of the bodice back/sleeves piece, and attached that in between both bodice front pieces.
It looked pretty good, so I went ahead with the skirt pieces using Diana again as a guide for the upside down V shape on the front, I cut a tube and stuck vertical darts in both back and front skirt pieces. But it was when I cut the skirts, I realised the sheets were DESIGNER BEDSHEETS!
I also didn't realise I'd cut the skirt pieces so short, so the results:
A Totally OMG self drafted dress! I put a side zipper in and it was pretty much perfect fit! I had to change the skirt darts (shortening them a little) as I'd over eagerly sewn them a little long. AND, I'd kinda forgotten the facing for the underarm pieces (side seams area), so made some quick n fast bias binding, but next time I'll have to work out how to better face the sleeves outside (I just ironed them flat here) and the side seams.
There's a few baggy areas which will be subjected to a problem solving session and next time I'll try to get a little more coverage in that sweetheart neckline (I think making the sleeves a little more toward the centre?), but overall I'm totally stoked it worked out to resemble a dress! Now I have the two new little pattern pieces, and a 'brave new world' attitude with construction, I might just make a whole bunch of these dresses! I especially wanna try some of the stretch fabrics, so I can chuck out the zipper and just pull it on!
My darling hairdresser Corrin suggested the new shade, and I'm taking suggestions on what colour it is! Peach? Apricot? A watered down Vivienne Westwood? I totally love the change, and as Corrin suggested as we spent hours together last week in the Hair Lounge, it's all about New Beginnings. Can you feel the changes in the air? For us it's summertime, we're settling in to our new house, and 2012 is just around the corner. New Beginnings!