Hot! A ‘Totally OMG’ Dress | Veronica Darling

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The Facts

Fabric: 1/4 of a Christian Dior Bedsheet Set, $1
Pattern: None
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! 

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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!

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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!

 

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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:

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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.

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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! 

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And now I'm ginger instead of platinum!

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! 

xoxo

Author

Veronica Darling

Veronica Darling has been sewing well for about 4 years, blogging for 5 years and smiling for over 33 years. In 2011, she joined Mena's Sew Weekly in sewing through the year, and in 2012 will keep challenges slightly smaller in scale.

38 Comments

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  1. Wow Wow Wow – a whole new you for 2012. Really fine job of your drafting. This is one sweet dress. Hair looks fab!

  2. Wow…just wow, that’s an awesome dress, and you look great as a ginger too!

  3. you bloody legend girl! look what you created! All this intense sewing (and project runway watching) has paid off. I’m so impressed with your drafting from scratch. Brave new world indeed. oh and I love the ginger hair.

  4. Lovely new hair, lovely dress! You have every reason to be proud of you accomplishment.

  5. You are such a cutie patootie, girl!

  6. Great dress, and loooove the hair! It really suits you. Bit softer than the last colour, and goes nicely with your skin tone.

  7. House of Pinheiro

    Love the the hair …and thre dress … Wow…

  8. Incredible! The dress looks great on you (as does your new ” do”). Your drafting skills are impressive & inspiring.

  9. That dress is just awesome, as are your sewing skills!

  10. OMG indeed- I am really impressed by this dress! It is beautiful and how cool is it that you draped? Patterns are totally my comfort zone, so I really enjoyed reading about your process for figuring out how to go patternless.

  11. OMG GINGER!!! Adore your hair so very much, and the dress is stunning, too! I cannot wrap my brain around the awesomeness you are wearing. You totally whooped this patternless challenge!!

  12. LOVE the fresh new look! That last photo of you is spectacular! As is the dress!

  13. Fantastic, both hair and dress! My vote is for apricot. I think you’re spot-on with the coverage issue– move the sleeve in a bit and angle downwards (if you can read my mind) so it sort of comes towards your neck a bit more, and you’ll have it just how you want it, I think. A marvelous showing for sure.

  14. FABULOUS!!! Exceedingly well done. I would NEVER know you hadn’t studied fashion design and learned draping if you hadn’t told us. Adorable dress!

  15. LOVE IT! You have inspired me to try draping my own dress! Thanks so much for sharing!

  16. Eat your heart out Stop Staring, this is Christian Dior sheet couture at it’s finest. Absolutely stunning lil lady, just brilliant. Your hairdresser is a magician, you look A to the amazing.

  17. This is AMAZING my dear! Your hair is breathtaking! Love them both! It’s funny that we were both inspired by stop staring!

  18. Flipping WOAH. That is one amazing dress – I CAN(‘T} BELIEVE YOU HAD NO PATTERN!! That’s my mind blown by your crazy mad skillz (I love leaving comments for you because I can add a “z” on the end of words that otherwise my inner grammar and spelling enthusiast wouldn’t allow). Just flipping amazing – boudoir couture never looked so good.
    And new colour!!! Amazing!! Looks great xx

  19. Thank you darling Jen! New Beginnings!

  20. Thank you darling! I’m super excited that it *made* sense FINALLY! Following patterns for 8-10 years on and off, certainly pays off!

  21. Thank you so much Anna! You’re very kind! xoxo

  22. Thanks Francesca! I was worried my skin colour would be too olivey, but it kinda matches ok!

  23. Thanks Lynn, I really love sewing and the learning involved! SO rewarding when something like this comes together!

  24. Thanks Janey! (I bet after a few read throughs of that Burda Book, you’ll have some drafting skillz!) xoxo

  25. Thank you Amber! I was hoping it ‘made sense’ in the writing… I get a little lost with terminology (like, I don’t think I’ve done any draping here, I felt like I just made some pleats… but I draped it onto the dress form, I guess!) so it’s hard to explain sometimes! Thanks for reading! xoxo

  26. Thanks Meg! We’re totally twinnies now! YAY!
    I’m still amazed I made it! ARGH!

  27. I’ll let you know if I can make more! xoxo Thanks Bethany!

  28. Yep, I am totally following your advice, thank you heaps!
    And I think apricot is the colour, it’s not pink enough to be peach!

  29. THANKS LAUREN! You’re a total babe, I’m so happy! xoxo

  30. YAY! Let me know when you finish! xoxo

  31. Thank you darling Kazz! YAY Corrin’s a babe, if you ever need a gorgeous Hairdresser, look her up! xoxo

  32. We have good taste Adey! xoxo

  33. How funny that’s it’s Christian Dior, right? I’ve NEVER imagined designer sheets! xoxo