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Friday, 11 September 2015
Not-so-fun-with-fabric this friday
Topic: Works in Progress

Back in May I got some really wild printed fabric from FabricLand. It had a whole bunch of colors in it, some bold splotches of different dye colours running into each other, some animal-like print, and more. It was quite wide and made of cool lightweight rayon. I also got a few yards of sold color rayon for lining in case the printed fabric was a bit see-through. The print is a bit sheer, and it's lightweight and floaty so the lining will also be needed for windy days if I decided to make a floaty syle dress.

But there was a bigger problem that  a slight bit of sheerness and the feather weight. That colorful print that attracted me to the fabric held an unpleasant surprise after pre-washing and hanging out on the line to dry:

...a very weird pattern repeat.  There's no symmetry, there's no mirror imaging of the pattern, and the line with the bold dye splotches are not entireley on grain. This is a very difficult and challenging print and it will be very  difficult to make a dress from it.I can't just fold it in half and pin pattern pieces on it and hope for the best. 

I decided that I would tret it as a border print. I cut off the small bold black and yellow border at the far right end and the top part of the border missing the bold edge on the left. The left would be used for the bodice, the right for something that would go over the shoulders and the rest would be used for the middriff and skirt. Somehow. 

A quick drape shows that my instincts were correct about turning the fabric into a border print. Having the bold black and yellow running up and down gives the skirt a bit of a swirl and the dark hem gives it a bit of visual weight at the bottom. 













I draped a shoulder yoke for the front and back and on the back view you can see the trims and lace I planned to use. I wasn't exactly thrilled to death with the concept but continued draping according to the concept in my head.

So this what I finally ended up with. The yokes didn't work so I changed it to a slip-dress style. The yokes became the midriff and I gathered the fabric loosely at the bust. I thought a gathered to a foundation top bodice would look really nice, and maybe strapelss or with detatchable straps would work. A ruched midriff would also look special and give the dress a retro vibe. At this point the outside temperatures were soaring well into the 30's and it was extremely humid so I had super cool summer dresses on the mind. After a bit more tweaking and adjusting I hit upon my final idea and sketched it out:

Note: those are large crystals sewn onot the center front to cover the lines of machine ruching. Next step: make a pattern for a snug fitting under-bodice.

I decided to use the lining fabric for the underbodice rather than a foundation fabric, then canvas and bones for structure and then lining. If the dress is to be for summer it needs as few layers as possible. An all in one foundation/lining with light plastic bones would work best. So I drafted out a strapless bodice, and tested the fit.

Here's the finished draft, at the left is the original that was paper-draped.

And here the paper pattern is given its final test fit.

Fitting the underlining was easy, the only problem is that the rayon is quite flexible, meaning the top edges are stretching a bit. No matter, they will have some clear elastic added inside to the top to hold the edge close to the body.

And here's the center front of the bodice. There are lots of little pleats tacked to the underside with tiny stithes so it looks like the pleats are floating. You can see some of the underbust pleating pinned in place. The pleats spread out over the bust. One side has its built-in bra cup inserted in place, the other does not. Lots of room for beads and crystals between each pleat.

And here's the side and back being pleated. Pinning takes the most time and sewing is easy, simply work from the back and make a stitch across where the pin is placed. The pleating draws the fabric together and condenses the print, making it a bit bolder. And the invisible pleating is a cool little haute couture teechnique that looks a thousand times better than many lines of machine gathered ruching. Plus the tiny couture pleats allow the fabric to be manipulated and sculpted over the bust.

I am using machine gatehred rushing on the midriff combined with lines of hand embroidery along each rushing line. I am using Wonderfil thread in Razzle and Dazzle. these are thick super shiny rayon threads, one comes with a metallic shine, the other no metallic shine. No pictures as of yet, but don't worry! I plan to share pictures of all stages of misery with this dress.

All I can say is I that I hope it the whole design works out. The fabric is fine, floaty and very slippery to sew.  The print is very difficult to work with and requires a lot of forethought to avoid color clashes. The folder I am saving pictures in is labelled "evl print dress" It isn't really eavil, but it's requiring a whole lot more work that I originally anticipated.

Posted by lincatz at 10:13 AM EDT
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