♥ Starting with the Basics: Design Analysis ♥
So where does one start when making a couture dress? Well, given that I already have a custom fitted bodice foundation pattern all measured up and toiled, my job will be a little easier. All I have to do is design the blouse and circular skirt patterns.
Let’s take a look at the back of the dress to get a good idea of what I’m aiming to achieve.This time I’ve drawn the hem considerably longer. Please excuse my contortionist looking model. My drawing skills will get better over time, I promise!
Just like the front, the back neckline is square and low cut. There’s a zip down the center back seam and a dart either side from the waist up. To give the dress support I will most likely need to sew boning into the darts and side seams. Remember, I’m working with three layers of sheer fabric.
One of the challenges of this project will be making sure the seams of each layer of fabric match and don’t create too much bulk. I can always carefully trim away some of the seam allowances. The silk organza should do a good job of providing support at the zip opening.
The sleeves are simply short sleeve patterns. Nothing challenging there. The centerpiece of this dress and the greatest challenge is the full circle skirt. Simple yet elegant and full of flounce. Imagine all this fabric swaying around your legs as you walked or danced. I can see Ginger Rogers wearing it now! Well almost.
Looking at this beautiful image of Ginger and Fred dancing together, this would have to be the perfect source of inspiration for the couture dress. The grace and elegance of 1930’s fashion and the extravagant stage and film musicals of this era created unforgettable imagery in the history of the entertainment arts. No other era in the history of fashion could be a more fitting source of inspiration. I hope my dress can live up to my expectations.
So back to designing the bodice.
Looks pretty simple right? Well, looks can be deceiving. A lowered neckline in any dress can gape if the extra ease drafted into this area of a bodice foundation pattern has not been removed. To do this, I have transferred this ease into the bust and waist darts. I also removed the shoulder dart by transferring it to the back waist darts. I also shortened my sleeve pattern to a length just below my biceps. This sleeve pattern has a gusset drafted into the underarm to allow for movement. In the second toile I make you’ll see I have removed the bulk that this creates.
Here’s what the bodice toile looks like.
Well, that’s the bodice. A perfect fitting one as well I might add. I’m really happy with how it has turned out. In the next post you’ll see the complete dress with a circular skirt. I stitched it up today and it looks amazing. I just need to hem it for the photos!
So what do you think? Have you worn or made a dress with a bodice like this? What challenges did you have? Does it look anything like this beautiful vintage dress below?