Finished: gray white colour block dress

A self drafted pattern, based on the bodice toile I made using Lynda Maynard’s craftsy course Sew the Perfect Fit and my wearable practise dress Hoezee dress. Princess seams, side seam zipper and a pocket.

Selfdrafted dress with princess seams

(I cut the white part a bit too short so added a grey strip at the hem.)

Because my back is short and curved inwards I tried a back piece in two parts, attached to each other in an angle. This is based on my experience with the Hoezee dress, that needed a horizontal dart at the lower back.
Still seems to have too much length though, it now bulges above my waist:

Selfdrafted dress with princess seams

My focus was more on getting the front fit really well. Big bust, small rib cage, no real waist and a bit of a tummy:

Selfdrafted dress with princess seams

It’s alright, although I’m not really good with sewing extreme curves yet.

Here’s the process for this dress in steps:

  1. Started with a vent in the back of the skirt, per this tutorial: http://www.afashionablestitch.com/2010/sewalongs/pencil-skirt-lesson-2-back-vent-tutorial/
  2. Then I put in darts in the bodice back peace
  3. then sewed back skirt to back bodice
  4. studied princess seams, using this or this tutorial: https://allspiceabounds.wordpress.com/2013/07/08/sewing-princess-seams-with-semi-finished-edges/ and http://www.blogforbettersewing.com/2010/09/sewing-princess-seams.html
  5. stay stitch front pieces
  6. make little cuts in the seam allowance
  7. pin princess seam together, starting with apex to apex. Pin at an angle.
  8. make cuts again
  9. sew in small stitches and slow speed
  10. sew side seam
  11. put in zip, using this tutorial: http://www.makeit-loveit.com/2011/10/sewing-tips-installing-a-basic-zipper.html
  12. tried on for fit:

Selfdrafted dress with princess seams

13. made some alterations. Especially at the underbust, it had to curve much more inwards.

14. redid the zipper, using this tutorial: http://www.makeit-loveit.com/2011/10/sewing-tips-installing-a-basic-zipper.html

15. sewed bodice

16. tried the lining but the fit was terrible, after all the alterations I did to the bodice.

I tried to finish the edges with biasband but it looked terrible, next to the slick colour blocks. And I couldn’t get it to lie flat. Took it out.

I drew a new all-in-one facing, based on the finished shell of the bodice.
I took apart the shoulder seams and marked the sewing lines with staystitching. Handy!
I used this tutorial to attach the lining to the shell, even though my dress has a sideseam zipper: http://www.crafterhoursblog.com/2011/02/all-in-one-facings-tutorial.html
(Between step 5 and 6 I pressed and did understitching and pressed again.)

After the last fit I added some extra bustdarts to make the sides lie flat to the sides of my body.
It’s a bit weird, adding bust darts to a dress with princess seams, but they work. Luckily they are a bit inconspicious in the grey fabric, next to the white colour block.

Selfdrafted dress with princess seams

I then spend a lot of time handsewing the shoulder seams because there was little fabric and it all wanted to fray. But I did it.
Overall I’m happy with this dress. It’s canvas and that wears well. I like practical clothes.

The front fits well, flattering my body shape without restricting kovement or breathing. It has a pocket. The lining is made from a snotty dress shirt that I never liked and that always was too tight to wear anyway. But too expensive to throw away, you know how it is. It now has a second life and much more purpose.

There’s still an issue at the back though. I had already put in darts that cross from the bodice to the skirt but more fabric can be taken out. I’ll need to amend the original bodice toile and restudy how to attach a skirt to it.
Selfdrafted dress with princess seams

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