Thursday, December 5, 2013

Side-Draped Sheath Design, First Draft


Now that I've finished sewing the dozens of designs for book #2, I decided I needed a new challenge in my life. One thing I've been drawn to lately is sheath designs--dresses with no waistline. Specifically, how to manipulate the pattern and add design details when you're dealing with things like double-ended darts. I saw a vintage dress with three pleats on the side hip, and decided to give it a go. 

Here's my first try at the dress, which also has a sweetheart neckline as a feature. 


I made the side pleats by slashing and spreading the flat pattern. But, I also had to shorten one of the double-ended darts to accommodate the pleats.

A pic of the dress on (yikes, this fabric is hard to photograph well!):


It's much harder to get a smooth fit around the waistline once you've eliminated the waistline seam, since the curves of a seam at the waist add shaping to the garment. This resulted in some wrinkles around the torso.

Another fit note: I wanted a close fit around the armhole, but it ended up being a little too close. Easy enough to fix, though!

This is a first draft, and perhaps the last. I'm not sure why I got so obsessed with the idea of a side-draped dress with no waistline seam. The challenge, I suppose. However, I do love the neckline so I may make this again, sans pleats. (If you like the shape, it's very similar to the Sultry Sheath pattern in my first book, Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing!)

23 comments:

  1. Incredible dress - the fit is soooo good!

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  2. I'd love for you to try out a Paris Original pattern. I bet you'd be an ace! These patterns have so many wonderful draping effects. This dress is just beautiful Gertie.

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  3. I've made a few wedding dresses with side draping and no waistline and I usually either add some boning to eliminate any wrinkles or add some more pleats at the waistline (with boning underneath). I love your dress its perfect for Christmas parties!

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  4. I totally understand! As. I've got a very petite torso and have a hard time fitting things without a waist seam!

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  5. I adore Yours patterns. I´ve made a few dresses, but yours sewing tips are best!! I´m a big fan.

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  6. I agree that boning would be a good idea, as lack of waistline would definitely mean wrinkles. I also feel the pleats are too far around by emanating from the side seam. Would it be more flattering to cut the hips in thirds, and maybe have them come from the bottom of that waist dart instead? I seem to recall most sarong dress tie in about that spot, not right on the side seam. Good on you for experimenting! If only I had the time to play around like that :-)

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  7. such a shame it didn't work out! It looks lovely on the dress form, but you know... she doesn't move very much! Good on you for trying something new too - never stop challenging yourself! xo

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  8. Because of the color of the fabric, black, you don't notice the wrinkles and wouldn't notice a waist seam either. I think it's a great holiday dress and the side darts add enough detail to make it slightly above a simple LBD.

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  9. I like the look, I think it turned out pretty great. I actually try to avoid waistline seams at all costs, I guess I just like minimal seaming and smooth transitions.

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  10. I love the dress! Can I ask what make your dress form is? Looks pinnable with no gaps - I've been searching for a decent one for ages and yours looks like it fits the bill.

    Happy sewing

    Linda xx

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  11. Side wrapped sarong inspired dresses are a favorite of mine, and this one is great. What I have noticed in the 1950's versions that I've seen is that the lining is a separately fitted layer, with the fashion fabric often as a second layer that is draped over that lining. This method can keep the dress from creeping up the torso (along with bones in the side seams too). I guess this really makes the skirt alot like a sarong, since that 'floats' and can move around without pulling the sheath itself.

    A note on the sweet-heart neckline: I have noticed that couture dresses with this look often have the sleeves or shoulder straps sewn to the bustier or bodice with a seam line that continues the arc of the neckline. It gives a really good, sharp corner to that sweet-heart shape. I think it is patterned much like a very low raglan sleeve. I have an example that details some pleating and another type of sweet-heart neckline that might help problem solve: http://pintuckstyle.blogspot.com/2013/02/a-closer-view-navy-silk-sheath-c-1955.html

    Looking forward to seeing this dress take shape!

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    1. Thanks for the suggestions and the link--gorgeous dress! I think you're totally right about adding a seam, like a raglan sleeve.

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  12. I think for a first stab, it turned out lovely! I am looking forward to your new book.

    PS: I'm really glad to see the blogging picking up again. I've missed you.

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    1. Aw, I missed you guys too! Things are finally calming down a bit!

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  13. I think it looks pretty good. Looking forward to your next book.

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  14. Excited for the book, but also happy to get a little more Gertie attention on the blog. :D

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  15. Oh this dress looks just amazing! Some real talent here!

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  16. May need to make the waist pleats more pronounced or start higher up; as it is they kind of look like wrinkles, unfortunately. I thought about making some sheath dresses but probably get too distracted by other challenges

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  17. Ouahhhhhhhhhhhhh this dress is just amazing...

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

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