Costume design, vintage sewing machines, painting

Very Intricate Dress (or style #12105)


I have been pondering this dress for a while now, it is part of the 1 Meme Street collection, a collaboration with Sai Corson (who I’ve worked with previously).  I love love love the idea of this dress, and wanted to make absolutely sure that it would work, so I’ve been very meticulous with my patterning, marking, layout & construction.  I envision this dress being made of a light, somewhat crisp fabric with a subtle stripe.

  • I draped the initial shape of the dress, then input the resulting pattern into patternmaking software. 
  • I printed the pattern & cut a basic muslin, then drew lines on the muslin where I wanted the seamlines.
  • Then I took the muslin apart & transferred the markings onto the paper pattern & updated the CAD file.
  • Printed the newly updated pattern & cut another muslin, this time out of a striped fabric that was similar to the real fabric.

Shots of those processes:

One of the first major challenges was in determining how to treat the pattern pieces that were cut on the bias.  For this dress, I only wanted to use the bias visually, while it is usually used to enhance the flow and drape of the fabric.  So, I wanted my bias pieces to behave like pieces that were cut on the straight grain.  I eventually settled on flatlining all of the pieces of the torso to lightweight muslin on the straight grain.  Since most of the bias pieces were pretty small, it seemed the best strategy.  I had considered using a fusible backing, but I am always disappointed in the results (even if i preshrink the fusible), the stuff just doesn’t like me!

Determining the placement of the stripes was not as difficult as I expected.  I determined early on that I wanted my matching stripes to go down the middle of the piece, or meet in the corner (depending on the piece).  Layout & cutting was made easier by the fact that I had already determined where I wanted the stripes & marked it on each pattern piece.  I was pleasantly surprised at how little waste fabric was generated from this pattern.  Usually garments that use the bias are very wasteful.  Here are the pieces flatlined & laid out:

From this point, the construction went incredibly quickly (not having to fight the bias certainly helped), it was just like working a puzzle.  And here is the next muslin:

There are a few little tweaks I’d like to make:

  • Some minor fitting issues in the bust & shoulder area
  • I’d like to combine a few smaller pieces into one larger piece
  • A couple of the stripes need to be readjusted
  • I think I’d like to lengthen the skirt a bit, it seems a little too mod.

I am thrilled with the results, and am very glad that I took the time to be a meticulous nutball, it really paid off in the end!  Now I can focus on the good fabric & finishing details. 

Here’s one last pic of the interior, showing the flatlined pieces.  The finished product will be lined with a lightweight silk to keep all those seamlines from itching & will help it lie flat.



One comment on “Very Intricate Dress (or style #12105)

  1. Anonymous
    April 27, 2011

    That is some amazing work.

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This entry was posted on April 26, 2011 by and tagged , , , , .