Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Listening to the fabric

The next dress is starting to come together in my head. Even though I know the best use for that 1.6 meters of blue flowered Liberty would be to make a shirt from it and not try to stretch it beyond its capacity, it wants to be a dress. It told me so. The problem was how to make 1.6 meters of not-particularly-wide cotton into something resembling a dress big enough to fit me.

The answer: careful cutting, a fabric pattern that's non-directional and a contrast fabric used in such a way that it won't look either cheesy or like I ran out of fabric.

My first idea was a dress based on B 4985, which I really liked as a blouse, but even though the more numerous yet smaller pieces might be a bit more sparing of fabric, I've decided to use the bodice from Vogue 8352 instead. 8352 fit pretty well and the top half didn't take a lot of fabric. It's got a slightly dropped waist which will allow me to swap out the existing full skirt for something a little less generous. While I like the original just fine, (a) I don't want an identical dress, and (b) the full dress takes 3 yards - I can't stretch 1.6 meters quite THAT far.

So I'm going to use just the bodice, and see how much fabric I have left after that. I found a warm tan cotton broadcloth that would work with the Liberty, though I haven't completely given up on finding the right light blue. If I do the collar and the facings in the contrast color, that will tie the bodice together with whatever I have to do to make the skirt work, which right now entails making something vaguely A-lined, and possibly using vertical bands of contrast - which seems more interesting than a band at the bottom of the skirt. The dropped waist also means that I don't have to make shirt dress - I can just do buttons from the waist and keep the skirt as one piece, also using a lot less fabric.

At this point, the dress is sleeveless. If it looks like there's going to be a decent bit of fabric left after the skirt (I know, I know, I'm dreaming) then I'll find some itty-bitty sleeve to put in. Otherwise, the armholes will get banded with more of the contrast fabric.

If this works, it's going to be a miracle on level of the loaves and fishes. But with fabric.


Paula Gardner said...

I hope it works out, I love, love, love that fabric! Remember the woodworkers rule, measure three times and cut once. Not that that ever works out for me, but I'm thinking it probably will for you.

Meg said...

Have you ever checked out the Liberty prints at B&J in the city? I saw them for $45/yd. Is that reasonable?

cidell said...

I love the comparison of loaves and fishes!

Unknown said...

"Listening to the fabric"... so true! If it speaks to you, listen! It sounds like you have a great plan of action, though.

Vildy said...

Enjoyed your ruminations! Have you thought of using a small scale Liberty-ish print as the secondary fabric? In either the same or blending colorway? If you look okay in open pleats, the view of the dress that shows released box pleats could be done so that the underneath part that shows most when you move is the second fabric.


Claire said...

I like your idea. 1.6 yards for a dress. You need to take a picture of your layout...this I have to see. I tend to be a bit on the wasteful side so a lesson in economy is just what I need.

The fabric is pretty and I'm glad you listened to it.