I am so excited to share this make with you! This was my final project for Flat Patterning at the Cañada College Fashion Department with Ronda Chaney. A silver lining to the pandemic was that I was able to save on commute time and take virtual fashion design classes. It also provided me with some structure and social engagement during these chaotic times.
Note to the reader: Ronda is a wonderful, knowledgeable teacher. My sewing has evolved so much because of her. Cañada is offering virtual classes again next semester and registration is open so if you reside in California and were thinking about fashion classes — do it!
Back to the dress. This class was about designing your own clothes. We had many exercises, but ultimately the final project was to design an entire dress or blouse/skirt combo. I opted to go with a dress (obviously). The description I gave for the dress in the my final writeup was:
The bodice has curved princess seams with a button extension. The 3” partial roll shawl collar runs along the neckline with a breakpoint at the bust line. The cap sleeves have 2 small tucks for some fullness at the shoulder. Finally, the skirt is a flared skirt with extra flare that has a button extension added to match the top with narrow slash pockets.
Here’s the sketch of my idea:
And here’s how it turned out:
Reasonably close, I’d say!
I did draft it from the moulage/sloper I made in my course with Kenneth King. He’s another amazing and entertaining educator and artist that I highly recommend taking a class with if you ever get the chance. I had made a test garment with my sloper so I knew that fit perfectly (as one would expect). But when I first started to do manipulations to the sloper and those also fit perfectly, that was when the value of taking a pattern drafting class really sank in — I could draft any idea that my mind could imagine!
The most challenging part to draft was the collar. The first time I drafted it, it was far too high up on my neck and too tight around it. Since the original draft was of a shawl collar, that’s how it was supposed to be. But that wasn’t the look I wanted. What I wanted is a cross between a shawl collar and a flat collar. I opened the neck and flattened out the back by spreading the back collar. I ended up having to draft it 3 times, but in the end, it was worth it to achieve the desired look
The beauty of drafting something yourself is you can make it exactly how you like it with all the little extra details that make it more fun/comfortable to wear.
Besides the collar, the first fun item were the sleeves. I went for a cap sleeve and I wanted a little something extra so I added 2 tucks at the top of each sleeve. They are self-lined. I am so happy with how they turned out — exactly how I wanted!
The second fun item were the slash pockets. Pockets are a must have in my dresses, especially if I’m going to wear them to work, because I need somewhere to put my phone when I go to lunch/bathroom/meetings/etc. The slash pockets are even better than the more common in-seam pockets. First, they don’t add bulk right at the hips. Not a big deal if it’s a full circle skirt with a petticoat, but for a slimmer skirt like this, it’s really nice not to have the added poof at my widest point. And second, I can anchor them in the waist seam and side seam so they can hold a bit more weight and are more secure for something important like a phone. I rarely feel comfortable putting my phone in the curved in-seam pockets. So this is likely the pocket I’ll be using whenever possible.
I also added my other convenience feature, a loop for attaching my badge. When wearing a dress, there are rarely good places to hang one’s badge at work. Problem solved. And in this case, it can tuck discreetly away into the slash pocket when I’m not at work.
For those interested in seeing the actual patterns I drafted, here you go. It actually ended up being quite a few pieces once I had all the facings in there.
So, yeah, I’m super proud of how it turned out. It fits. It’s comfortable. It has all the bells and whistles I want. Definitely going to get plenty of wear out of it. Of course there are a few tweaks I would make on the next one, but that may be a while because I have many more designs in my head that I need to draft and construct first.