Monday, November 12, 2012

Butterick 5814: The Draped Wiggle Dress

Now that my coat is finished, I'm embarking on a new project: sewing up my other new Butterick pattern for myself! (It's Butterick 5814, and it's currently on sale for $3.99 online.) While I don't quite have the stamina to do an official sew-along for this one, I will be doing a series of detailed posts on its fit and construction. Like I did with the coat pattern, I wanted to start with a post on the design and its inspiration.

From the beginning (when I proposed this design to Butterick), I've always called this "The Draped Wiggle Dress." When I think of the classic wiggle dress, I usually think of something in wool, with sleeves and a higher neck. (Like the one in my book!) But then there's also the cocktail-style wiggle dress, in a fancier fabric. The genesis for this one was the green dress Joan wears in a Mad Men poster.


I loved the side drape on the dress she wears here. From this point, I started looking at other designer dresses from the era, particularly the work of Peggy Wood. It was her use of little raglan sleeves and bodice draping that inspired by own bodice design. Here's an example of a typical Peggy Wood bodice:

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So now you can see how my own design was born; it's a mish-mash of a couple favorite styles.

It's certainly an interesting way to design. It's obviously nothing original, but that doesn't mean it doesn't have its challenges. While working on a pattern like this, things constantly need to be tweaked and re-imagined. Taking cues from photos is one thing, but then the process of putting those details into an original pattern can be quite time-consuming and difficult.

Tomorrow I'll write about the construction of this dress. While it looks drapey and soft, it has a serious inner structure, including steel boning, underlining, and a grosgrain waist stay!

31 comments:

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    1. The official rating from Butterick is Average, which I would translate to intermediate and above.

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  2. Yayyy! I purchased this pattern as well :) Can't wait to see your finished product! What sort of fabric are you planning to use?

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    1. I'm using a wool satin, lined in silk crepe de chine. I'll write more about fabric choices tomorrow!

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    2. Just read the post :) Thanks so much!

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  3. Is there any way that you would recommend if someone wanted to add a sleeve to this pattern?

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    1. There's already a sleeve, so you could just extend the length. But try it out in muslin to see if you like the fit first.

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    2. Thanks! I wasn't completely sure from the line drawing -- I will have to get better at reading them.

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    3. No worries, it's hard to tell because it's a very tiny raglan sleeve. BTW, I will hopefully have a tutorial on adding a 3/4 sleeve to this dress.

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  4. You always have such cool inspiration from designers past, I love it thank you! Looking forward to your future dress posts.

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  5. Excellent. I am almost finished with my coat and am anxious to get started on the dress. I have to tell you how much fun it is to revisit all the wonderful 50 styles. I am 67 so it is second time around for me.
    Maggie

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  6. Oh that Peggy Wood dress is beautiful. I love the flow of colours that somehow seem both soft and vibrant at the same time. I can see how it would be a source of inspiration.

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  7. Gretchen, do you think dupioni would be a good choice for this pattern? I know it's not one of the fabrics listed on the back, but taffeta is, and dupioni has a similar hand. What do you think?

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    1. I think it could possibly work, but I would test out the drape of the dupioni. I was actually kind of surprised they listed taffeta as a possibly, because it would make the drape kind of stiff. I'm more inclined to suggest fabrics with a definite drape.

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  8. I've had that picture of the Mad Men woman pinned on my interest board for so long now because I love Joan's dress. The draping! The fabric! The color! The curves! *faints*

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    1. It's the Ava, I believe, from Pin Up Girl Clothing... lovely site, if you've not visited it before.

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  9. Beautiful and sexy dress! But i'm afraid that I still look too young to wear that kind of dress. I would look like I'm costumed or I tried too much to be sexy...

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  10. I am so excited to see that you'll be blogging about making this dress. I am using the bodice pattern in my wedding dress. My plan is to use a soft white cotton with some sheen, and once I've made a muslin, I may decide to tweak some things. Thank you.

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    1. That's awesome! I hope you will share pics!

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  11. Looks cool! Thanks so much Gertie for your Garment District tips, I cannot wai to get into the real wool and silk stuff, I think I will make a silk raglan sleeve blouse first.

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  12. YESS! I am JUST heading to the fabric store to then start this dress today :) Perfect timing!

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  13. That's one of my favorite dresses... she's actually wearing the Ava from Pin Up Girl Clothing in that shot. Many of the dresses used in Mad Men are from their site.

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    1. Really? I thought the Ava dress was a repro of the one Joan wears. I read that the designer only uses vintage or has garments custom built for the show.

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  14. I have a beautiful red dupioni that I want to use for this pattern. I'm thinking I will only make the bodice out of this pattern, and make a plainer skirt. I love both, but I think I'll try the details on different dresses. I can't wait to see the rest of the post, Gertie :)

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  15. Hi Gertie!
    I have both the coat and dress pattern, but I don't think I am ready for them yet.

    I love the sultry sheath and jumper variation from your book! I was wondering if I could combine the bodice of the sheath dress with the skirt and drape from your Butterick pattern to create a dress similar to your beautiful pink rose dress.
    I love the piping on the pink dress. Could you possibly do a tutorial sometime in the future, when you are not as busy and tired?

    You need a vacation girl!!

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    1. That dress is just the sultry sheath pattern with added piping and a drape. There's a quick how-to for the drape on the post!

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    2. Oh thanks Gertie! I love that dress!!

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  16. I have the dress pattern and I'm raring to go!!

    Linda xx

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  17. Thank you for the great post! I am following it and cannot wait to read the rest. I have already bought the fabric which you recommend. I was really lucky to be able to choose from a wide variety that I found in designer fabric stores that were so accessible. I really recommend these shops! Looking forward to reading your next post!

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  18. Hi Gertie, I notice that Joan's dress seems to extend the drape all the way to the side seam, but your version (and the Peggy Wood) stops at a waist seam extended from the bust dart. Any reason for that structurally? Or is it just more flattering that way?
    I know, I'm pedantic but I notice these things and then I have to know why!

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  19. Oh No! I'm not done with my coat yet!!

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

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