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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Designing knit summer dresses

Hello all!
I'm slowly working through the kinks of this blog, setting up the design and understanding how to control the visual features. I'm not much of a coder, and have zero experience with HTML so getting to know my way around this place was a bit of a struggle. But I'm getting there!

I'm also figuring out my preferred way for presenting pictures on the blog. I rather dislike the idea of editing my pictures using photoshop. I do use photoshop and illustrator at my work, but there's a thin line between editing pictures to create a clearer image of what I was trying to show, and editing them to the point of creating an alternative reality. I wish I could live in a world where everything is crisp, clear and sharp, but I'm not. I hope to find the middle way and learn in the process.

Now let's talk about summer dresses:

I have this nice thick stable knit fabric I bought recently, I have enough of it to make a summer dress, and I also have the same fabric in black. I want to use the fabric to make summer dresses, and after much thought I think I'll go with the following design:

I never tried a racer-back for a dress but I think it can work well with this fabric. I want to self-line the bodice, so the added structure will balance the casualty of the design.

I'm still not sure what to do with the skirt. for the black dress I want to do a simple 1/2 circle skirt, but for the striped fabric I thought of playing with the design a bit. Initially I thought about adding gathers at the waist, but since the fabric is thick it may be too bulky for me. On the other hand a half circle skirt with stripes may end up "drooping" at the sides seams; Should I try a chevron pattern instead? 

For the bodice I'l use a racer-back sports bra pattern I drafted in the past. I'm aiming for a self-lined bodice with no exposed seams, for that I'll follow collette's tutorial, but I have one more requirement – I want the seam between the shell and the lining to roll inwards, thus I need my lining pieces to be a bit smaller than the shell (to account for the turn of cloth).
While I can cut the lining pieces smaller in the side seams, cutting them 1/8" smaller all around is a bit tricky so I'll try to manipulate the seams as I surge: instead of aligning the shell and the lining, I can pull the lining a bit so it'll end up smaller. I tried this on a recent sports bra and it worked, but I need more practice. 

The lining piece is the bottom piece. instead of aligning the shell and the lining,
I pulled the lining a bit to create an overall smaller piece. 

Let's break the process into stages:

1. Extent the sports bra pattern to create the bodice. adjust the fit (most likely a swayback adjustment and maybe add 1cm in circumference). 
2. Cut the fabric from the previous step to create another sports bra, in order to practice self-lining again.
3. Prepare the bodice for the black dress.
4. Create a half-circle skirt; do an "FBA" (full butt adjustment) on the back piece. 
5. Stitch the skirt so that the seam is sealed between the two layers of the bodice (in theory I know how to do it, but I've never tried it).
6. Repeat for the striped fabric, with modifications (the chevron on the skirt if I choose to go with this design).
 I'm still not sure what to do with the hem. hand stitching is a bit of an overkill for something that casual. Maybe I'll finally try my machine's blind-stitch foot?

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