So, I was making this dress, but was attacked by a months-long spell of whatever is the sewing equivalent of writer’s block. Then came the breakthrough. And then another breakthrough, and ta-da! The dress is complete.
Long story short: I was trying to make a dress of this cut and construction, worn last year by the Duchess of Cambridge.
[Images from WhatKateWore.com–a great blog!]
But I didn’t like the silhouette it created in my chosen fabric. So the half-constructed dress hung on my dress form for months, with the gathered skirt held in place with straight pins. I started adding silly things to it–beads, a belt, a jacket, etc. I didn’t take a photo at that time, so this is a recreation of the sad ensemble.
Then I stopped seeing it in the room altogether. Then I saw the picture of the Duchess wearing that dress again, and resolved to complete my dress, love or hate it.
I put it on and stood in front of the full length mirror. Then I unpinned the skirt to try adjusting the waistline. But when the skirt was off and I saw the straight portion (which I had not yet cut to length), I had my first AHA moment. It looks better as a straight, sleeveless shift. So, finishing it simply meant adding a back closure, armhole facings, and hem. Done.
At that point, I mostly liked the boxy shape of the dress, but wanted to take out just a bit of the fullness. I did not want to belt it or add darts. I was considering back pleats. Then came the second AHA moment. I don’t know how this one happened, but thank goodness it did. I took two strips of fabric and criss-crossed them on the back.
It pulled the perfect amount of fullness away from the front…,
and gave the back a distinct softly gathered look. I love the result.
Here is the dress on me.
(And yes, that is a bit of armhole facing that I didn’t get tucked in. Argh.)
To put the dress on and take it off, I just need to unbutton it at the neck back, and unbutton the sashes at the bottom, and slip it over my head.
I’m calling it the “Sound of Music Dress,” because the fabric is from some old curtains I never liked.
I’m also calling it the “five-rectangle dress,” because it is made out of rectangles of fabric. The body is all one rectangle, seamed up the back and shoulders, with armholes and a neckline cut in and faced. The collar pieces are rectangles, and the criss-cross in the back is also of course, made of rectangles.
I still want to make a dress like the one I started out to make. So it’s back to the drawing board for another try.