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.
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.