Pattern drafting tutorial - Colour Block dress - Part 2
Welcome to the second and final part of this pattern drafting tutorial. You can find part 1 here. In part 1 I took you through the drafting process of this dress from the brand Boden. They make stunning dresses and other things and they always incorporate a lot of colour in their collections. I love it!
Now we move on to cutting and sewing the dress. Make sure you have done all the steps in part 1 before continuing.
Pattern drafting tutorial - Colour block dress - Cutting & Sewing
What you'll need:
♥ Your pattern pieces from Step 1.
♥ Your fabric. I used a ponte di roma in cream, pink and green.
♥ Pins or pattern weights
♥ Fabric scissors or rotary cutter (+cutting mat)
♥ Matching thread (I used white for the entire dress)
♥ Zipper (only if your fabric in not that stretchy)
♥ Sewing machine (regular or regular+overlock+coverstitch)
Fold your fabric as needed. I folded so I could cut both side pieces (side front and side back). Start by placing your pattern pieces on your fabric. I began with my green pieces. Place the first piece and measure the distance from the grainline to the selvage and make sure it's even all the way.
Rember: we have not added seam allowance so you have to add seam allowance as you go. I added 1cm all around. So don't place pieces too close together.
Pin pieces to fabric. Make sure it's smooth with no wrinkles underneath.
Use a sewing gauge or similar (measuring tape works too) as a guide and cut out your pieces.
Mark your notches by cutting a few mm in to the fabric.
No more than this is needed:
Finished cutting the pieces:
I added 1 cm seam allowance at the hem too. I didn't want a wide hem for this fabric. And this is how I cut sharp edges, instead of making it super long and thin I make it "blunt" ny cutting straight across.
Now let's move on to the pink fabric.
I repeated the steps from the green pieces. 1cm seam allowance. I placed the center front skirt on fold.
Marke the hip notches along the seams. Now let's move on to the white fabric. Place the center front on fold and cut 2 back pieces.
I actually received less white fabric than I ordered (that's why it has taken so long between part 1 and 2...). I had to do some tetris for these pieces but got there in the end. All pieces cut out! I didn't cut any facings yet because I wanted to get an idea of the fit first.
With all main pieces cut out I decided to baste them all together (longest straight stich on my sewing machine, easy to unpick later) and try the dress on to be able to make small adjustments. I tried it on inside out to easily be able to pin.
It ended up being a little bit too big on me so I pinned it and cut away the necessary amount. I also didn't think the neckline turned out exactly as I wanted it so I made adjustments.
As you can see the neckline turned out to be too narrow and also a little too high.
The design on the inspiration dress from Boden has more of a boat neck which doesn't really suit me so I decided to make my neckline a little lower than the collar bones. I just measured how much wider I wanted the neckline to be and also how much lower. You can mark with a pen, pins or make notes so you remember the changes you want to make. Then take the fabric pieces apart to be able to make these changes.
The image above is of my new neckline. I made the shoulder smaller in the process which I don't mind. I repeated this at the back because I had to take away the same measurements at the back shoulder seam to match it to the front. I didn't make the neck drop back a lot lower through, just enough, because I was quite happy with the neckline at the back. Make sure the curve on the front and back neckline look good and smooth as you place the pieces together at the shoulder seam;
I then placed my facing pieces and bodice pieces on top of each other and cut the new shape of the neckline.
Cut new neckline:
When it's all done on all 4 pieces let's repeat these changes on the fabric pieces. As I mentioned previously I didn't get as much white fabric as I ordered so I had to use green for the facings. White would've been better but green worked too because the fabric si quite thick and isn't too see-through.
Now lets overlock/serge (or zigzag edges). Side seams, waist seams, edge of facings and center back seams.
Place top front bodice right sides together with center front skirt and sew them with 1 cm seam allowance (I used a straight stitch with stretch needle on my regular sewing machine).
Press the seam allowances apart and then move on to the front side panel (green). Pin it right sides together with center front panel and make sure all notches line up.
Then sew them together.
Press the seam allowances apart. Then repeat this on the back pieces. Attach white with pink at the waist seam and then add the green side panel.
Now let's move on to the facings. Place back facings right sides together with front facing and sew the shoulder seams together with 1 cm seam allowance.
Repeat this on bodice pieces. Now all shoulder seams are sewn. Leave center back and side seams open at this stage. Then place bodice and facing right sides together. Make sure side seams, center front and center back and shoulders line up. Pin together.
Now sew the armhole and the neckline through both layers.
Clip the curves to make them easier to shape.
Press seam allowances apart and turn. Pull the back pieces to the front pieces through the shoulders.
Then press, press, press :)
Understitch the center front neckline to make it stay in place. Press all seam allowances towards facing and then stitch them all together close to the seam. Just like a half circle at the center front, as far as you can reach. This will help the neckline stay nice and the facing not showing when wearing.
Insert the zipper at this stage. If you have a really stretchy fabric like I have here you can skip the zipper. Let's sew the center back seam. Place the center backs right sides together. Sew together. All the way from the facings to the hem.
Then press the seam allowances open. Then do the same to the side seams. Sew right sides together.
Press the facing down and then secure by hand or with machine. I stitched in the ditch from the right side, by hand.
Do the same at the center back.
Now we only have the hem left. I overlocked the entire bottom and then folded 1 cm up, pressed and then sewed with a stretch twin needle. You can also use zigzag + twin needle or coverstitch for this step if you have one :)
Give the hem another steamy press and then it's all done!
Now I could consider this dress a "wearable toile" because it's not exactly the same as my inspiration dress... However I feel done with this project now. I like it and it was a great exercise. If I would make another version though I would use a different fabric with less polyester. I would make the white part at the back a little bit more narrow and the pink skirt piece at front a little wider to look more like the inspiration dress. There's always room for improvement :) And these kinds of projects rarely turn out perfectly at the first try.
Let me know how your drafting goes! If you have any questions at all - let me know! Let me know what you want me to recreate next!
Drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment below with any questions or concerns.
Until next time.
Happy drafting & happy sewing!
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