Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Colorblocked Shift Dress

This dress was my final project in Draping class last semester.  Last spring I posted about the collection I designed for Kate Spade in my Fashion Sketching class.  This is one of the dresses from the collection.  My God, I'm terrible at drawing.  Wait until I post my drawings from the Fashion Illustration class I took this spring...

The coral fabric is a Casa Collection satin from Jo-Ann Fabrics.  (It's not as hot pink as it looks in the pictures; it's a deep coral.)  I used the wrong side because I didn't want this dress to be all satiny - I don't even like satin.  (I don't think anyone does.)  But it was the perfect color and had the body I needed for this dress.  That also makes this dress a little harder to wear.  I had originally envisioned a very casual summer dress in a cotton.  But since I used the wrong side of the satin maybe it doesn't look wicked fancy and I'm just overthinking it.

The white fabric is a Kona quilting cotton from Jo-Ann Fabrics.  I read online that the best fabric to use for scallops is a tightly woven one made of natural fibers.  And the whole thing is lined with white rayon challis I ordered online from Hancock Fabrics.

Total Cost: $17.73
  • Coral Fabric: $3.99
  • White Fabric: $6
  • Lining: $5.99
  • Zipper: $1.75

I originally had a different white fabric.  It was some sort of satiny thing with a crazy name I've never even heard of.  So I had the whole dress sewn together and I had just understitched the lining and somehow I ended up with a run - like you get in pantyhose - all the way down the front of the bodice contrast.  I nearly had a nervous breakdown.  So I had to unpick everything and pull the whole dress apart and re-sew it.  It was traumatic.

It was impossible to get a good picture of this dress.  Even though I used the wrong side of the satin, it still reflected light like woah and made this dress look all wrinkly in the photos.  I tried to take a picture of the back and it looked so terrible that I can't even post it.  (There's an invisible zipper down center back.)  Also, these pictures don't do justice to the silhouette.  The best picture I could get where I feel like you can really "see" the dress is in my bedroom mirror:

So let's talk about fit issues.  This dress is a little tight across the hips.  By "a little tight" I mean the hips could probably be taken out an inch.  And the armscye feels tight, too.  Maybe it's cut too high or needs to be shaved off a bit.  But maybe it's because I am wicked sensitive to the way an armhole feels because that has always been my thing.  I am very disappointed that I ended up with these fit problems because I made a muslin and agonized over every detail for days with my Draping professor and everything was fine.  I would like the opportunity to make this again with some coral cotton I have in my stash.

Drafting the pattern for the scalloped hem was sort of complicated.  It involved math and drawing halves of scallops and tracing them onto paper.  My professor helped me and it was six months ago, so I can't remember all of the details.  But that means it will be hard to take out the hips because I will have to re-draft the scalloped situation which will not be fun.

There hasn't been a picture of Sox lately, but he was very much involved in the construction of this dress:


  1. I could be totally wrong, since I haven't been sewing very long, but couldn't yo fiddle with the front/ back verticle darts to add room in the hips? Make the darys end a little higher up? Then you wont have to mess with the scallops?

    1. That's not a bad idea. I hadn't even thought of that. I always add/remove ease from the side seams and I always forget about changing around darts.

      I might be able to make that work when re-drafting this dress. Thank you for the advice!

  2. This is so cute Alison! And that you drafted it yourself?? Awesome!!! I love the color combo! I feel the same way about shiny satin, but this does not seem shiny to me :) Just all-around adorable!!!

    1. Thank you! I used the wrong side of the satin to avoid the bridesmaid look, but I guess the idea of using such a "fancy" fabric is what makes me question if it's too formal for every day wear haha.

      And yes I drafted this myself in Draping class. Draping is a lot of fun. I think you get better results from draping than from flat pattern. At least with the basic blocks (bodice, skirt, etc.) and then using flat pattern to alter and change them.

  3. So cute! I often use the wrong side of fabric. And Sox seems to approve!

  4. those scallops are just perfection!