Tag Archives: self drafted

Plaid neck pleat dress

Back in January I went to the Pattern Cutting Weekend class at Ray Stitch taught by Alice Prier and thoroughly enjoyed it! Day 1 was making our custom fit blocks while on day 2 we got into the details of cutting patterns. Alice really knows her stuff and I came away super inspired with lots of ideas.

And viola, here is the first dress that I cut from my block!

Neck pleat dress front

I brought the fabric at Ray Stitch the weekend of the class, it is a mix of viscose and polyester and I was really drawn to the plaid. After the success of my plaid Laurel dress I was keen to have another go with some plaid.

When I brought the fabric, I was leaning towards making a skirt so I only brought 1.5m. However, after a bit of time to ponder, I wanted to use this for a dress. The dress was inspired by one I saw on Modcloth – I really liked the effect of the neck pleat with the plaid fabric.

Neck pleat dress profile

I calculated the position of the pleat such that when sewn up it would be parallel to the vertical line of the plaid. Although I originally planned for the shaping to be a simple folded pleat, when made it up I felt there was too much volume above the bust so I stitched it down more like a dart, but not all the way to the point so there is still a bit of movement and give there.

Neck pleat dress profile

The back bodice is princess seamed and the closure is an invisible zip down the centre back seam. I debated for a while about the skirt – a pleated  rectangle or some variation of a circle skirt. Turned out that only having 1.5m of fabric made the choice for me! All I could fit was a half circle skirt, but I’m pretty happy with this.

Neck pleat dress back

I took my time cutting this out so that I could center and match the plaid – I feel like I was pretty lucky to be able to do this so well with my limited fabric. I particularly like the way the plaid matches up in a diamond pattern on the side seams of the skirt.

Neck pleat dress side

Of course I had to add pockets to the design! Fabric limitations meant that I needed to use a different fabric for the pocket bags. So I used some black viscose that I had in my stash, which works well as it is lighter than the main fabric and drapes out of the way.

Neck pleat dress front

The neck and armholes are finished with an all in one facing. I used red cotton for a splash of colour on the insides. Then to match, I used some red bias binding from my stash for a hem facing that I finished with hand stitching (all 3m of it!).

Neck pleat dress insides

I made a couple of toiles of the bodice, which was just as well as they showed a few fitting adjustments that I still need to make to my block. Once I’ve done that, I’m very excited to be able to make lots of different designs that (hopefully!) will require minimal or no fitting adjustments.

I’ll leave you with some spinning photos that I tried out for fun with my new camera remote…

Neck pleat dress spinning

Self drafted kimono sleeve top

Hello there, I’ve got another self draft to share with you today.

This time, a short sleeved kimono top, a basic shape so I thought it would be simple to draft.  I think it has turned out ok, but wasn’t quite as simple as I had imagined!

Kimono top front 1

To create the pattern, I traced around three different top patterns I’ve made that fit reasonably well (Sewaholic Belcarra, Colette Sorbetto and Simplicity 1693), lining them up so that the waist point was the same for each trace.  Then had a bit of a gut feel attempt at drawing the kimono top pattern (aided by internet pictures to get the basic shape).

Kimono top front 3

The arms didn’t fit at all well when I first tried it on!  They were far too tight around the arms and felt a bit long so I cut about 5cm off and lowered the arm opening by about 10cm.  This meant I didn’t have enough material to create a neat finish all around the arms, but as long as no one inspects my underarms close up this should be fine!

Kimono top back

The fabric is a woven viscose from Fabric Land in Brighton.  Given the boxy style, I definitely think a drapey fabric was required.  I’m not sure if I’d like this top in a solid colour (would want to tweak the arms a bit and perhaps make a bit more fitted first), but with this spotty fabric I think it works quite well.

Kimono top front 2

All in all, I’m quite pleased with this as a first version. There are definitely improvements to be made fit wise, particularly around the arms, but I think they would be worthwhile working on as the simplicity of the style would be great for showing off interesting fabrics.

Self drafted A line skirt with pockets

At the end of my spiral into so many toiles that I nearly lost the will to sew, I started drafting an A line skirt.  Following my Belcarras reset (here and here) I thankfully had the confidence and motivation again to continue with the skirt.

Needlecord A line skirt

I started drafting this skirt from a basic pencil skirt, rotating the waist darts to create the A line shape (I calculated it so that I could remove the front darts entirely) then added in hip slant pockets using the same pocket shape as my Ginger skirt.

A line skirt hip pockets

There were a number of new to me techniques with this make, but I was able to take my time and enjoy the learning process.  The fabric is a lovely soft needlecord from Goldhawk Road and I had a go at flat felled seams as I felt they would work well with this fabric.  I did take a photo to show these seams off as I’m very happy with them, but the fabric doesn’t do detailed shots well, so you might have to trust me that there are two seams here (achieved a nice neat finish at least!):

flat felled seams

The bit that probably took the longest (but also what I’m most pleased with) was the zip.  I thought a lapped zip would work best with the fabric and wanted to try it out.  It is easy to find plenty of tutorials on how to sew a lapped zip, but I struggled to find one that explained how to get the neat finish with a facing that you see on ready to wear lapped zips.  I’d been going through a process of trying to reverse engineer this, when I happened upon this tutorial which got me on the right path much quicker.  Again, the fabric doesn’t work too well for detail shots, but hopefully you can just about make out the neat finish at the top of the zip:

Lapped zip detail

As I think this is likely to be more of a cooler weather skirt, I lined it with a pink/green acetate also from Goldhawk Road (I drafted the lining to be a little bit wider than the skirt around the hips to be on the safe side since the needlecord should have more give than the acetate).  For the facing and pocket linings I used some cotton from a decent stash of fabric that my grandma kindly gave me.

Needlecord skirt

Overall I am very pleased with this skirt – I enjoyed taking my time over the new techniques and getting a neat finish. Plus, the fabric is lovely and soft to touch, it has pockets and I think that the shape of this would lend itself well to a few more skirts in different fabrics/colours that could become easy work staples.