Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Lace Panel Skater Dress

This has been my first design & sewing project for a while.

I was approached by a friend of mine from university & asked if I could make her a dress for her birthday. I've been a bit apprehensive the past few months about taking commissions, it's not that I doubt my abilities, but more that I find it hard to get a good balance between a customer's budget and the price I need to charge them so I'm not under-pricing myself. This becomes especially hard when you think about what you can buy on our great British high street! As a freelancing design/pattern cutter/seamstress it's incredibly hard to compete! But I digress, that is a whole different discussion topic in itself!

So, back to my original topic...

After discussing what my friend was looking for I set about sketching a few ideas. 
I decided to sketch out my ideas in a flat 'working drawing' format, as this was how my previous workplace presented designs. It's not the prettiest or most creative way to design, but it's a simple way to see the shape of a garment as well as thinking out construction details. 

So here was the final design.

* Sleeveless Bodice
*Plunging Lace Panel at CF
* Bust Darts
* Bodice Lined at Front Only
* Full Skater Skirt
* Keyhole at CB
* Invisible Zip LHSAW
* Inside Bind Armholes & Neckline
* Outside Bind Keyhole
* Pinstitch Hem

I decided on a lightweight tailoring crepe as it would drape nicely as well as being heavy enough to leave the skirt unlined. The pattern cutting process went quite smoothly. I wanted to fit the toile to get a better idea of fit on my friend's body, but unfortunately long distance & clashing work hours meant a fit session wasn't possible. So I had to work 'blind' using measurements and my mannequin.

A fabric sourcing trip to London proved very successful. Goldhawk Road is honestly the best place to go for a huge variety of affordable (and expensive!) fabrics. I came away with a beautiful rich purple colour crepe and a circle design matching lace. You couldn't have asked for a better colour match!

So, on with the actual dress!
Please excuse the inconsistent photo quality below. My photography is not great at the best of times, and only having my phone camera to use 90% of the time makes it a bit harder to get good quality photos!

Lay Plans for Cutting

Inserting CF Lace Panel & Lining the Bodice Front

Binding The Neckline & Armholes
I ended up doing all of the binding by hand, as my fancy new binding foot proved too tricky to use for this. More practice definitely needed with that so I can perfect it for future projects!

Internal Bodice Construction


Ta Dahhhh!!

I actually want one of these for myself!
I love the colour & the bold lace design.

Although this wasn't a particularly hard garment to make, the whole process was made a lot harder due to the fact my overlocker decided it had had enough, and broke halfway through, and who can blame it after thankless years of hard work! It's now at sewing machine hospital, so fingers crossed it pulls through! Thanks to Lisa for loaning me hers (lifesaver!).

I'm particularly pleased with how the binding came out, I think I've got a good technique down now!

Although there are certain things I would change, I am so happy with how this came out. 
(So maybe I'm just being picky!)

Hopefully Jemma loves it as much as I do.

Em x