Tag Archives: self drafted

Me Made: Oversized Smock Dress

I always like finding out how other sewers work, how they went through the thought process that bought them to a certain garment.

Its a bit of a riddle like what came first, the chicken or the egg?  Was it the pattern or was it the fabric.  Usually with myself, it is the pattern leads to the choice of fabric (although if I was more organised and only bought what I need for patterns I would have a very small fabric stash!)  But this time round, I used a fabric which dictated a pattern to me, I have now made oversized smock dress 2.0.

Way back when I first had this idea with a beautiful grungy coloured tie dye fabric and self drafted a pattern.  I wanted it almost baby doll like and almost too exaggerated.  It worked and I still wear this to death, but it could be baggier! (check that out here)

So into my life via my cheap shop came this beautiful Mauve Fabric.  It was quite heavy, soft to the touch and had an amazing drape.  It also was the most beautiful mauve colour I had ever seen, and for someone who limits her colour palette to black/white/grey&nude, I was in strange territory…

So How Did It Sew?

 

I think I have sussed out what I want from a smock dress.  I think the key for me it the amount of length on the shoulder, from collar to sleeve.  I exaggerated this aspect and it has turned out extremely successful compared to other attempts.  Also keeping it ‘boxy’ and square really gives that oversized feel, with no shape.  I love how the waistband hangs with an arc, and the skirt follows.

The colour looks great on, despite still being quite muted, it IS indeed a colour that has snuck its way into my wardrobe, but a beautiful Autumnal colour at that.!

I can’t wait to wear this layered up over tights and boots this Autumn/winter  the heavier fabric really gives that added warmth to the piece.

I am sure this is not my last oversized smock dress, so watch this space!

 

My Pattern: Black Insert Dress

One thing that dominated summer on the high street, and has moved seamlessly into Autumn, is applique Roses.  I invested in some way back when, with the full intention of using them this summer.   I had planned to make a simple black dress and just jazz it up with the appliques.  But I went a step further than simple… I added inserts and Bell sleeves.  I went full Stevie Nicks vibe on this dress and I love it!

I started with a skater dress bodice that I had drafted with a slightly higher neck.  This pattern was traced and re cut from an old dress in my wardrobe and has become the base of many dresses, good and bad, its’s a perfect fit.

After tracing a copy, I then cut it down the middle front for the lace insert.  I didn’t add any seam allowance here as I was technically just ‘replacing’ the fabric by sewing in a piece of lace.

The Bodice was easy to whip up.  The insert technique I used was to overlock the raw edge, fold it under, then literally sew the lace edge on top of that on the outside. Sometimes it was fiddly, sometimes i had to go back and patch holes, but it just worked.  I was lucky that my chosen lace had a black edge which i used as my visual guide in sewing.

The Sleeve was made on the go, measuring where i wanted the insert to sit on the arm, then flare out into the bell sleeve.  I did a rolled hem on the base of the bell sleeve as It would also be seen as I wear it.  It was a bit of a faff, but worth the extra time and headache it took

attaching the skirt to the finished bodice posed its own issues… one being the lace not being adequate support at the waist, especially with a zip involved.  What i found best was adding some binding to the inside of the skirt.  It meant there was no movement and everything stayed in place as I fiddled with the lace, and then the zip.  Unfortunately I only had Grey binding…. but no worries you cant see it on the inside.

I debated leaving it plain, but then I have endless amounts of black dresses, so I took the plunge and had sewed the appliques on and I am not disappointed.  I am glad I waited to the end to decide to add them, even though it would have been easier to sew them onto the sections, I got the placing right when I tried it up against myself (and avoided and misplaced nipple looking roses!)

I didn’t want it to be symmetrical, and it wasn’t; mainly because when I ordered a pair, they sent two the same. So they could never have sat symmetrical.  So I separated the so called ‘pair’ and put one on the skirt and one on the bust at different angles.

overall i am really happy with this more experimental pieces.  I love how I have ended up with a Free-People-esque boho dress.  The bra needs a bit of a second thought when wearing this (not the grungy white one i was wearing in the pictures!)  But its revealing without being to sexy, mainly due to the bodice neck height.

My Pattern: Black Babydoll

I tend to do things in quick concession, especially when I am chasing that train of thought.

My attempt at the self drafted baby doll has urged me on to make another so soon, and apply the tweeks I learnt from the first to get an almost perfect version.  This was mainly the issue with the sleeves not being as oversized as they could have been.

This time I used a black silky material.  Although its quite thin, it was not as see through as the purple first version.

So How did it Sew?

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It would be silly to go into detail on the sew as it was basically the same as the previous.  Although I will add the material was a little fiddly a times (as is the nature of silky fabric!)

Overall I am really pleased with this version, its more wearable than the first.

The only issue is the sleeves feel a bit flat, but I liked the overall look.  In future I could easily insert a netting to give it some shape, but this is entirely dependant on the fabric I choose.

My Pattern – Babydoll Dress

This idea had been forming in my mind for a while;  I think its clear by now that I like an oversized simple casual style that I can dress up.  Which sounds simple enough, until you try to shop for this AND are a plus size.  Hence why I sew.  But I still search for inspiration, sometimes things fir the criteria.

One thing that kept popping up was a simple babydoll dress with puff ball oversized sleeves (I am assuming oversized sleeves, but these are on tiny models so just sleeves) So I set about planning one out:

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Again, this was another idea I had to purge, it was haunting me and I found that I had to get it out into the world to move on with other projects (the creative mind!) I had a semi sheer crepe fabric in my stash that wasn’t doing very much, I felt that it could be semi wearable, if not, I have not wasted a good fabric, at least get a wearable Toile out of it.

This work was completely self drafted, I made a practice bodice and one sleeve, adjusted the height of where the skirt would sit on my breasts and hardly needed to adjust the paper pattern before jumping right in.  To be honest, I find this the best way to work, throwing caution to the wind and just doing.

I am not ashamed to admit I watched a few tutorial and read a few blogs for this one.  The online sewing community is amazing, full of talent and an abundance of information.  Use it!  My sleeve was drafted purely from looking at pinterest diagrams!

So How did it Sew?

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Date Completed: 13th April 2017

For a fabric I had little faith in, I am not hating it, its definitely something different in my wardrobe, even though it is a little stiff still.  (I am planning a fabric softener soak if possible)  This dress was simple and quick make, from idea to draft to completion.  This was due to the skirt part just being two large gathered rectangles rather than a drafted piece, but i feel it added to the dress and allowed for maximum gathers.

The bodice part is double layered, despite this I will be wearing it over a slip or the classic vest and leggings due to its sheerness.

One plus about this fabric being stiffer is how the puff sleeves fit.  Depending on the materiel for my next attempt (and there will be one) i may have to consider a mesh or a supporting fabric inside the puff.

A great bonus of self drafting is not having to follow a pattern, and although it was a bit of a freestyle, the freedom is a relief.  Not that I tend to stick to instructions, its just nice to figure it out yourself. Its definitely more fun, and quicker as long as you don’t make a mistake.

I absolutely love this dress on.  As a plus size sewer I was worried about adding volume around the bust without highlighting the waist, but I love the silhouette it gives me.

I have already selected my next material for another of these.  I am even considering a single button at the top as something a little different.