Wednesday, January 31, 2018

The New Dress


Above, my latest finished garment, and I L.O.V.E. it!

Backstory: I have a RTW dress almost exactly like it. I like the RTW dress a lot too and have been wanting to clone it. It's really just a simple knit shift dress with an "open" vee neck with ties. This is the RTW below. I meant to take a pic of it on either me or Zillie, but I forgot. If I think about it later, I'll add such a pic to this post.

I decided I could pretty easily re-create the RTW dress with my TNT Ottobre tee pattern. (I have been using that TNT for ELEVEN years now, it's originally from the 02/2007 issue!) The RTW has sewn bust darts. My TNT does not – it has extra length at the bust area which is eased into the side seam at bust level. I prefer the non-dart version.

Below, is my visual comparison between the RTW dress and my tee pattern, and how I started to assess what was going to be needed in a pattern.


This pic is when I got more serious and took measurements, noting similarities, differences, and necessary landmarks. I'm being "thrifty" (lazy) and using some pattern tissue from patterns I'll never sew as my tracing paper. The red arrows show my lines for the new dress.The rest of the lines are from whatever was originally on the tissue.


I drafted a facing for the front neckline. It's probably really hard to tell what's going on with the lines from the original pattern on the tissue. The pic below is the facing overlaid on the front pattern piece.


Here it is by itself where you can hopefully see the overall shape of the pattern piece, ignoring the printed lines. The only "line" that matters here is where it I drew in "FOLD." Right above FOLD is where the vee shaping is, which is not cut on the fold. Clear?


This is what the actual facing looks like using the pattern piece above. It's interfaced and the bottom edge is serged. The vee is sewn (right sides together) and then turned right side out. The shoulders and armholes are basted together and sewn as one when attaching the sleeves and back. The neck opening where you see the binding is also basted together before the binding is attached. The binding is applied to the raw edge(s) of the neck opening. Easier to do than describe.


The RTW dress has back waist darts, which produce some nice subtle shaping. I measured the end and middle points and the uptake of the existing darts. I transferred those landmarks as big dots to the pattern tissue. The janky looking dart outline is just to give me a visual clue for what those dots mean. In case I put this pattern away for 5 years. Or a week. :-)


Here are the sewn darts. As you can see, there's not a lot of uptake, but enough to lessen the "sack effect" while still camouflaging the back rolls. Hah.


The sleeve is nothing special. Ignore those lines all over from the original pattern. I already had a long sleeve created for my TNT Ottobre. I just traced it for this one so I could keep all the pieces together. Sometimes I'm actually not lazy. It's just a straight sleeve to be elasticated at the wrist, so it doesn't need much shaping.


The elastic cuff.


Below is the RTW neckline. The binding is all one piece, attached in one go, leaving lengths past the neck opening which become ties.


My copy.


I'm still kind of in shock at how perfectly the binding/tie went on my copy. I truly expected to need at least 2-3 tries. I luuuurrvvve my CS machine and binders! And Lady Luck.


Much of the success lies with the fabric used for the binding. It's a Telio doubleknit which has nice body and drape at the same time. I bought this to make a navy Jalie cardi, which is next up on the cutting table, but it turned out to be perfect for this binding/tie too.


Here's the neckline/tie open. I made the point of my vee a little higher than the RTW dress so it's not All Cleavage All The Time with it open.


This is the reverse side of the binding.


It's hard to tell because it blends in so well, but the coverstitch looper was threaded with navy woolly nylon. Since the underside was going to show on the tie sections of the binding, I was hoping the woolly nylon would look more substantial and intentional than plain thread. It does. Yay. The random dog hair, on the other hand, not so much.


And on Zillie. I finished the dress Sunday, hemmed it Monday night after work, and wore it Tuesday (yesterday). I am so happy with it. Most of its success is the fabric, but a lot is the effortlessness of a well-fitting knit sheath. I already bought more of this fabric. It's from Cali Fabrics but going quickly. As of today, there are only 6 yards left. Cali Fabrics is quickly becoming my new favorite fabric store. Great quality, lovely customer service and attention to detail, good prices, and fast shipping to Florida from California! I only wish they'd show more pics of their fabrics so I can get a better feel for drape and scale. (I have never been compensated in any way to say that. I'm just an actual customer spending my own actual money.)


One more pic, in front of Alex's shocking orange truck. Which kind of goes with the dress, no?


Parting shot: Snow, here in Tampa a couple of weeks ago. OK, actually frost. But I still had to scrape my car windshield before work. This is not how it's supposed to work here in Florida.



27 comments:

  1. Wonderful re-creation of a favorite RTW. Looks perfect for Tampa. I appreciated your documenting your garment-to-pattern process. The fabric is so interesting, different from the RTW dress yet captures the same spirit. Love it.

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  2. What a great job you did in recreating a RTW garment--the fabric is a lovely choice and the fit is terrific. I love how you conserved resources (using old pattern paper)--but it's because of your experience that you could do that so easily. I almost missed seeing this post at first! So glad to see a new item created and to witness the process via your thorough post.

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    1. Thanks for checking. I know my posts are few and far between these days.

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  3. Wow I had to look closely to figure out which was the RTW dress and which was your replica. Great looking dress. Interesting neckline details that look relatively easy to achieve. I really need to try out the binding attachment on my serger.

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  4. What an absolutely gorgeous dress. The fabric is lovely. I have serious sewing machine envy now for your overstitch machine with that binder. It is such a lovely finish. Xx

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    1. Thank you! It's so great when everything comes together.

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    1. Thanks Vicki! Are you sewing these days?

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  6. O my, your thrifted pattern paper looks rather confusing! Apparently it worked, as the resulting dress looks wonderful!

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    1. Not so confusing in person. Thank you for your nice compliment!

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  7. Gorgeous! Question: I noticed the binding has a lovely pleated effect. Is that from the fabric or from the binder stitching? I'm so interested in getting a binder for my BLCS. Thanks for all your inspiration!

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    1. It's the fabric. It has a ribbed texture.

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  8. You look so great in that dress, the fabric is amazing on you, it's my fave and I have been following you for many many many years! The neckline ties and facing look so EASY when you do it, and beautiful! I can't even imagine the hot mess I'd make of that binding. I thought you had a Brother coverstitch (like mine...). Did you go all Babylock when I wasn't looking, or am I remembering wrong? you are the one and only coverstitch queen. very inspiring!

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    1. Thank you Robyn. And nope, I've always had a Babylock coverstitcher. You shouldn't be afraid to try binding. Just practice and you'll be fine.

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  9. A winner for sure! Not just the dress, but you also look great, Debbie! I agree with Robyn that you’re the coverstitch Queen. I’ve copied a few RTW things with mixed results. You dress is excellent and I’m betting there is a short sleeve, too. I’ve ordered from Cali Fabrics a few times now and my opinion of them is the same as yours.

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    1. Aww, thanks. This was a very simple silhouette to copy so the chance of success was pretty high. :wink: Cali is surely becoming a go-to for me. Not sure if that's a good or bad thing. Haha.

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  10. Looks great! I guess you will be making a bunch of these, even if they can't all coordinate with a truck or car!

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  11. I love the dress I wish it was mine. That fabric has all the colors in it doesn't it. Great job on cloning the RTW dress both of them look great.

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    1. It can be Connie ... just get out a tee pattern and add to it. :-) But thank you! :-)

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  12. I love this dress - great job . What is Tilio doubleknit ?

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    1. MaryEllen, Telio is a brand name. Fabric.com sells it. The pieces I've ordered/used are good quality.

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  13. I got it wrong on IG when you asked which one was RTW and which was the copy. You did a fantastic job!

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  14. Great use of such a vibrant print! The simple shape is a perfect match for the fabric, and the dress looks fab on you. I just love all the colors in it, and yes the truck definitely "goes" with the dress. ;-) Cali is becoming a favorite of mine as well--they have such great prices and service, to say nothing of the variety of fabrics they stock.

    PS: Sorry that some of our winter weather made it to FL, haha! Feel free to return to sender. xD

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