Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Yellow Dress 2.0!

Funny story: this is the exact same pattern as my yellow dress, except that I swapped out the pleated bust and draped a bra-cup top in its place!

I also made two narrow straps, instead of the halter strap. Other than that, it's the same dress. Isn't draping amazing?

The fabric is a very cool cotton/linen woven in blue and white, that forms a diagonal zigzag pattern. It's fairly heavy, like a tweed.

Here's a side view.

It has a centered back zip, handpicked. It's a metal zip, which I love for a super vintage-y feel.

And the innards: Blue rayon lining and a white grosgrain waist stay.

Horsehair on the hem. (See tutorial here!)

Okay, now that the basics are out of the way, here's what I'm really excited to show you: the bust padding!
You may recall that in my yellow dress, I used bra cups that were stitched to the underlining. I wasn't totally happy with the outcome. They can create some weird rippling at the top of the bodice. Enter bust padding! I got to wondering if I could use light padding for modesty and to create subtle shaping of the bra cups. I found my answer in the bustier section of the book Patternmaking for Fashion Design. Here's how I applied it to my project.

First, I sewed all the bust pieces together.

Here's the underside; it's underlined in muslin.

Then I created the padding pattern. The pattern is simply your bust cup pieces with the seam allowances removed. Cut out your padding. (I used cotton Quilter's Dream batting that was leftover from a baby blanket I made.) Stitch the padding pieces together with the edges butting up against each other (not overlapping), either by hand or with a zigzag on your machine. Here's my first attempt at the handstitching, which makes the thing look like Frankenstein's monster. Sharon later showed me how to improve on it: with tiny blanket stitches.

Then the padding gets pinned on top of the outer fabric, matching up the edges with the seamlines.
Then catchstitch the padding to the underlining around the edges.

See how nice and supported the bra cups look from the outside now?

I've improved my technique on my latest project (it's the hoopin' romper!). The padding is zigzagged by machine, and my catchstitches are smaller.


Then the bodice gets stitched up, and the one-inch seam allowance on the top gets turned down as the facing. The nice thing about the padding is that it creates a subtle shaping at the top of the bra cups, as the seam allowance gets folded over the padding's edge.

Because I'm small-busted (B cup, to be exact), this is really all the support and shaping I need. It's a tight bodice with an underbust seam, so it provides moderate support. The padding provides modesty and a nice shape, kind of like a t-shirt bra does. If you're larger busted, you will most likely require extra undergarments for support.

Okay, one last thing: the boning situation. I went a little lighter on this dress than the yellow dress since the straps provide more bodice support. There are just two sets of bones. One is in the side seams, set into boning channels (in blue). That extra boning length will get cut down to fit, of course.

And then the second set is a hidden zipper set! So the zipper was applied by hand, and there are one-inch seam allowances on the back opening. Because of the wide seam allowances, there's room to get a set of bones in there, after the zipper has been stitched. See the zipper seam allowance in the photo below?

Perfect for adding a bone!

Simply position the bone, fold the seam allowance back down over it, and then pin it in place. Then hand stitch (I used a pick stitch) up the seam allowance to keep the bone in its place.

Whew! That was a lot! Long story short, I'm loving my new blue dress and I got to try out some cool new construction tricks. Let me know if you have questions or additional tips!

66 comments:

  1. It's gorgeous, and I love the fabric. Thanks for all the construction details!

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  2. I love the step-by-step look at how you created the bust padding! I'd read about it in "Couture Sewing Techniques", but still was a bit muddled about exactly how it'd look (I'm a visual person, and nine times out of ten, if there aren't sufficient pictures, it takes me a bit to figure something out! ;). Going to have to keep this in mind for future projects--especially when bra cups would be too much support/or wonky. Thanks for sharing all these interesting "inner details" with us!!!

    ♥ Casey
    blog | elegantmusings.com

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  3. Love the dress. Gorgeous fabric, and it has great body and shaping. Thanks so much for sharing how you did the bust padding.

    Trudy
    www.sewingwithtrudy.blogspot.com

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  4. Yummy! Perfect for Summer in Australia. Love the step by step technique.

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  5. Gorgeous dress! I think you'll get more day-to-day use out of this one verses the more dressy yellow version :)

    Question: About zig-zagging the bust padding pieces together... do you butt-edges of the pieces next to one-another and then sew them together, or... do you overlap them a little & them sew them please?

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  6. First of all: I love the dress! You look gorgeous in it!
    As I'm fairly new to sewing, I have some questions for you.
    Did you actually use a pattern for this dress, or did you just create it yourself? If you used a pattern, why did you go for the bust padding?
    And why did you insert boning at the back of the bodice? I have a dress with boning, but it's just at the front and side seams..
    I'm sorry if the questions sound a little stupid, but I just want to understand it, so that I'll be able to improve my creations in the future.

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  7. I think I actually prefer this version on you. I just LOVE that fabric!

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  8. Beautiful and thanks for sharing the construction details!

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  9. That kind of weave is called a herringbone twill, and it's commonly used in tweeds. I've woven similar things myself, though I'm more usually a diamond twill junkie.

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  10. I'm crazy about this dress! The bright pop of the blue lining is so cheerful.

    I'd love if you'd elaborate on how you sewed the bodice lining to the bust-line, and if you tacked the lining to the waist..

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  11. Very nice. Love the swing feeling of the skirt. And as always, it's the work done on the inside the makes the garment outstanding on the outside. Great Job.

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  12. LoooOoOoOooooOve!!! Great job!! Can you please be my fairy god-dressmaker?? *lol*

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  13. Outstanding! Thanks for the construction details. While I would need other supporting components, I can see using this on preteen and teen dresses for my niece. She always needs to be different and special in her fancy dresses. Her Mom can't afford to purchase special little bras for each of her events, so this would work. Your photo-tutorial really helped me visualize the process.

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  14. It looks great, and you look great in it! Thanks for sharing your construction tips. It is really interesting to see how to do these little touches that make so much difference in the end.

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  15. That is a really sensational dress Gertie. It`s just oozing with a couture construction feel and look. Well done you!

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  16. i love this dress!! so beautiful!!

    ♥erica
    daniredvintage.blogspot.com

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  17. Oh, so awesome! It's things like boning and the cup padding that make me so excited for your book!

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  18. Thanks, all! Okay, answers to your questions:

    Claire: the padding pieces are butted up against each other, not lapped. I updated the post.

    Eline, I made this pattern myself by draping it. I chose to put boning up the center back because I tried it on in the early stages and noticed it was sagging a bit back there. There's no prescribed place to put in boning; it can vary from project to project. The best way to see where you need it is to try it on (preferably in your muslin stage, but you can usually add boning mid-construction as well) and see where it needs more structure and support.

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  19. I prefer this color on you (even though I do like the yellow dress). I see you are keeping Ms. Sharon very busy. Give her my regards.

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  20. You are on fire, girl! All this AND you're writing a book? Love the new dress. It looks fabulous on you.

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  21. LOVE it. You look stunning!

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  22. Love this dress on you. It is amazing how much architecture is involved to make something look so effortless!

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  23. I love this. The more I follow your blog the more confidence you give me that I can actually take a stab at sewing something like this....one day!

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  24. I love this dress and I love these posts. Posts like these make it really hard to wait for your book! I'm so excited to buy my copy when it's ready!

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  25. I love this dress - and the construction details and photos are perfect.
    My only issue is...... a 'B' cup is not "small busted". Hasn't a 'B' always been average? I get that in this age of ever larger and larger breasts (and people) it might seem small, but the industry standard is still written for a 'B'.

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  26. It's fabulous and fits you so incredibly well! I so want to learn how to drape now!

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  27. fabricgirl, I guess that's debatable. Yes, patterns are generally drafted for a B, but given that so many women need to adjust to make that larger, I don't really feel comfortable calling it average. I personaly feel as though I am smaller-busted, so that's how I refer to myself.

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  28. Oh, and LAP: the lining is inserted by hand. I used a fell stitch. I also stitched the lining along the underbust seam to keep it in place. I used a pick stitch and just stitched in the ditch of the lining, picking up only the seam allowance of the body of the dress.

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  29. This is brilliant!
    First of all your dress looks amazing and the fabric has a wonderful drape.
    Secondly thank you SO MUCH for the bust padding tutorial! I had never thought of that and it makes total sense- and the step by step pics are great :)

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  30. Another gorgeous dress. Thank you for sharing your construction process- I hope it stays on forever because I'd love to reference it someday when I get brave enough to try clothing like this for me :D Or by then my dd will have grown and I'll probably do these sorts of things for her :)

    Lovely job!

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  31. Gertie, you never cease to inspire me. That dress fits you so perfectly! I'm so excited to delve into the details of this post:)

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  32. Wow...gorgeous, gorgeous dress. You look stunning!

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  33. great dress--you look as good in blue as you do in red!

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  34. I am in awe of your skill. You give me something to work towards. Such a beautiful dress!

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  35. You are such a babe Gertie! I am impressed with all the time you put into this dress. Worth itttt!!@

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  36. That's really lovely. I've loved watching the evolution of your projects and techniques these past months ... really inspiring!

    Quick question though. I always have a devil of a time cutting out a rayon lining ... do you have any tips?

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  37. Lovely! Looks so pretty on you. And thanks so much for sharing the bust padding construction details, definitely something I'd work into a summer dress project. (Next year, as it's full-on Fall here!)

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  38. It's beautiful! So crisp and tailored in away, yet so soft and drape-y, too. And thank you for the explanation/demo of the padding; I actually understood it and can picture myself doing it!

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  39. OOH! Looks great, and I like your shoes! May I ask what brand they are?

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  40. The FABRIC! It is so gorgeous. I'd be tempted to make a sweet little bolero out of it (but scared to wear something so matchy-matchy)!

    I also love to hear that you try to improve your technique garment by garment, rather than ripping out the handstitches you consider to be imperfect. It's fun to follow along on your journey, and know that it's a learning experience on both sides.

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  41. Thank you for the sewing tips! It looks amazing on you!

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  42. That bust padding is GENIOUS. One of the most fabulous things about sewing ourselves is adding whatever built in support we need. Bra cups never work for me as at my local store, they don't cary the size I need. Thanks for sharing!!

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  43. That fit is perfect for you Gertie, really flattering.

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  44. You pick the best fabrics Gertie, love it. You have inspired me to try out that horsehair in the hem, it really adds something special!
    Also I am SO SO excited for your book, hope it's all going well :)

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  45. Your dress is beautiful and your tutorial is excellent.

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  46. I'm getting more excited for your book with each new post! I love this - it's always so helpful when you include pictures and detailed descriptions of your process. Thanks!!

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  47. Yes, I've got a question-where did you get those ADORABLE shoes!?

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  48. You look stunning! I love this dress. Red shoes???

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  49. i loved reading this post brilliant you truly do inspire me gertie :o) i have the book pmfd already but an a little scared of it i must get it out after the coat-along! your blue dress is fabulous.... x

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  50. Gorgeous dress and thanks for the interior details.

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  51. The fall of that dress is a thing of beauty. Fabulous post (as ever).

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  52. Wow!! The weight of that fabric makes it drape so perfectly!!
    And the waist stay is very cool. I've never done one but I understand they can be very helpful.

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  53. Love this style on you, you should make one with a snazzy exposed zip!

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  54. Gertie! This is so stunning, one of my favourites from all your dresses. It really looks so beautiful and your tutorial was excellent. thank you so much for sharing.
    My only question is, where the flamin' heck do you find the time? You seem to be like a machine woman!

    Well done and thanks for keeping alive the sewing skills that were really dying for so long!

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  55. You look so lovely in this dress! I love the bodice swap and beautiful fabric!!! Nice job!!!

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  56. i have been reading your blog for a number of months now, and while i always think your garments are darling, when i saw this one i wanted to stand on my desk chair (dangerous) and yell "yes! yes! a thousand times - yes!!!" this is by far the most flattering, chic, and in my opinion "you" of them all - and it's your own draped design! hat's off to you!

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  57. Pure genius Gertie.The blue color is adorable. The shoes by the way are lovely

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  58. You and your dress look amazing! This reminds me again of why I can't wait for your book.

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  59. Love this dress & you look great!

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  60. Hallo! Ciao, I'm Emanuela from Italy,i would ask you if in your book,there are, step by step your Bust Padding.You Are Greit.Bravissima Complimenti!!!!!!

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Thanks for your comments; I read each and every one! xo Gertie

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