The “I’m Not Using a Ruler” Dress
Fabric: Shirting batik fabric, $1
Notions: 3 vintage buttons, $1
Time to complete: 10 hours
First worn: December 2011
Wear again? Probably
Total Cost: ~$2
Firstly, THANK YOU ALL for your kind comments on last week's post! I'm doing better (though I now have a cold) and thank the wonderful Sew Weekly community for being great! If you're down and do the craft thing, here's something that got me laughing.
Ok. That said, how about this challenge? Patternless! This was completely daunting for me. I've said this before but you know how on Project Runway, the biggest dis is "they're such a dressmaker, not a designer." Well, you're looking at someone who is proud to simply be a dressmaker. I'm not too good for patterns. In fact, considering the 1000+ patterns I have, I really don't need to reinvent the wheel.
Despite this, I was very curious to see how my two years of sewing has affected my ability to go patternless. After all, how many almost identical patterns have I cut out this year? There is a bodice, front and back, skirt and sometimes sleeves. Facings are easy enough and can be replaced with bias binding. So, yeah, that's it.
While I could have simply gone the trial and error route, I decided to be halfway scientific with this thing. So, I watched a video about draping. And in this video the first thing they said was you'll need a bunch of tools including all sorts of rulers I don't have. And even if I had these rulers, that's far too precise for my sewing. After all, when I'm being lazy enough, I just "eye" my darts. Oh, that's so bad. I feel ashamed even writing that.
So instead of using rulers and the like, I adjusted my dress form to the measurements closest to my body. I got some muslin and made the sort of bodice that I've sewn often enough. It had two darts at the breast line (sort of) and two darts at the waist, going up. And then, once I had the fabric in the right shape, I marked it and transfer ed it onto tracing paper.
All of this, mind you, could have been accomplished in like a second with a pattern. But, that's not what this week is about! Keep on going.
Since I was using a border print fabric, I justified a rectangle skirt piece that I gathered. And for the sleeves, I (gasp) just started cutting something that looked like a cap sleeve.
Believe me, I'm never going to be teaching a pattern drafting seminar:
Me: Ok class, here's the part where you kind of just cut your dress out of the fabric.
Student: I don't get it. What about our measurements? What about this curvy ruler I bought?
Me: Go with your gut.
Student: Are you serious?
Me: Class dismissed! Great work!
Explaining what I did to make this dress is probably even harder than making the dress itself. And while the photographs this week aren't great (I was cold and just wanted to go back into the house), the dress is actually cute. Way too lightweight for the winter, but it works. It's certainly a testament to weekly sewing that I could do this.
And now back to patterns.