Following the pattern drafting course at clothkits I set about making the dress I had designed and drafted. You can see the final design below, the dress was designed for myself but my sister Erin modelled it for me in most of the pictures.
This is me getting arty with photography..
On the course we began with drafting basic block patterns for the bodice and skirt based on our measurements. We then made them up as toils to check the fit and make any adjustments. If all was good we transferred the patterns to card making them easier to trace for design variations.
The bodice block
I drew out a few different designs and picked one to focus on. The design on the bottom right was the first version with capped sleeves with a gathered skirt.
To make the design less busy I decided it might be better to have a more fitted skirt to balance out the gathers on the bodice front.
I drafted a six panelled skirt making it a snug fit on the hips and flaring it out gradually. The neckline I widened and removed the buttons on the front, although I may make another version with this feature for a more casual day dress.
I needed a fabric with drape for the dress to make the gathers soft and the fluted sleeves hang in the right way. I picked a lovely grey crepe which did the job well plus it was easy to work with, always a bonus!
I made up the dress in calico to test the design and fit. You can see it on the left without the sleeves.
A couple of things needed changing including the position of the shoulder seam and the neckline which needed lowering. Other than that I was happy with the design.
When making up the pattern in the crepe fabric I found I needed to take it in quite a bit at the back, this is due to the different structure of fabric. The crepe is thinner and has more stretch than the densely woven calico. This is why it is always best to test your design on a similar fabric to the one you will be using.
I inserted a concealed zipper at the back but I wish I had put one in at the side seam as the crepe fabric isn't forgiving when it comes to hiding a bulky zip.
I can only try again.. really I'm too much of a perfectionist, if it isn't right I will just have to make another one until it is.
Apart from making another one of these (if I have time) next time I will be making my second drafted design, a simple shift dress with princess seams.