Monday, 17 August 2015

Self drafted.....

I love that being able to sew has opened up so many windows of opportunity to make exactly what I'm after. To use the perfect fabric. To add all the perfect little touches from all of your favourite RTW clothes and to make up the wardrobe you have in your head. 
This make was inspired by a lovely little vintage dress I had a few seconds glimpse of and couldn't get it out of my head. There was no way I would be able to find it in the shops and good old session on eBay didn't come up with anything just right either. It was time to use my long lost drawing ability and my very questionable pattern making skills!

The dress in question was a sundress with a gathered skirt and simple bodice but with a lovely tie back across the back bodice just across your bra band level. 

I have absolutely no skills in pattern drafting so the first thing I did was find a dress I already had with a similar front bodice and went about tracing it out. This old dress from Miss Selfridge was perfect. It doesn't have any darts and I really liked that the edges were simply bias bound. 

The front bodice was perfect as is and I traced the main bulk of the back bodice and then adjusted the shape to accommodate the tie pieces, with guess work and a few length measurements I came up with some pattern pieces like this...

Don't zoom in on those little dress sketches, I really thought I had a knack for drawing, turns out I left those skills in a GCSE art folder back in 1996.
The small pattern piece is for a patch pocket. The dress I'd seen didn't have these but I always like to have somewhere to stash a lip balm or keys and I thought the patches would work better than in seam pockets. 

I made up a toile (yes I actually went to that trouble!) and was pleasantly surprised that the idea was going to work, it just needed a little tweak to the front of the bodice by the arm hole...

I left the bottom of the bodice loose as I'd be attaching it to the gathered skirt.

After making the adjustment to the bodice front pattern piece, just pinching out a half inch from the under arm, I was happy to move onto the real fabric and it's a good one. I'm off on holiday in September so this is totally appropriate for a late summer make. it's a viscose from Regency Rags and has a great drape to it. I realise I don't have a clear photo just of the print but you'll get the idea..

I added a simple gathered skirt using two rectangles of fabric and omitted the back buttons. I used and elasticated waist at the back so didn't really think buttons were going to be necessary on this version, I wouldn't need them and I don't think the fabric would have taken them very well, it's a bit too drapey, although it is something I would like to try again and maybe use a different skirt pattern with the added buttons. 
I even went to the trouble of making self bias tape with the leftover fabric..

The thought of doing this is much worse than the actual doing, it was relatively speedy and I love that it all matches so nicely. I think a block color wouldn't have worked so well.

Considering I didn't have a pattern I am really pleased with how this turned out and it'll be a perfect beach dress for holipops. Nice and cool and easy to wear.

The bodice fits nicely across the front and I'm really pleased with the tie back. I cut the fabric for the back on the bias so that the actual ties weren't on the bias, if that makes sense?!, because of the angle it means the tie parts are more on grain so hopefully they wont stretch out too badly. The height of the tie back is good and sits neatly across the bra band, although I'll probably be mostly wearing this with a bikini so I wont be so bothered about hiding it.

I used some of the binding on the patch pockets and positioned them on the edge of the front skirt pieces so that they sewed up into the side seam. I used a bit of fusible interfacing on these to give them a bit of strength too, no one likes a saggy pocket...

You can see the gentle gathers of the skirt front here, I just ran elastic through the back skirt piece so it's easy to get on and off.

I finished off the inside of the skirt edges with binding to keep it neat and the side seams are french so there are no raw edges anywhere.

My top stitching is a little wonky in places but over all I'm pleased with the bias edges..

Yey for summer dress and big yey to holidays! 

I have one more summer make and I think that might be it for this year. I keep hearing a lot of people wishing autumn would come quickly...don't wish away the sunshine! 

I have been thinking a little bit about my autumn winter makes for this year but I wouldn't want to rush into that season, the winter always stays for too long. 


  1. This is so so lovely! I want to copy you! xx

  2. Absolutely lovely, I'm in awe of your self drafting skills! Gorgeous fabric too, it will be perfect for your holiday. x

  3. This is flipping brilliant! What a lovely dress.