Tuesday, June 22, 2010


It comes from the strangest places sometimes.

A week or two ago, I stopped in Dress Barn, a store I generally don't frequent. I needed a necklace to go with something and I knew they'd have racks of useful costume stuff. (I'd already been to H&M, but you know you're having a bad day when even the beads look too young for you).

Surprisingly, not only did Dress Barn have what I wanted jewelry-wise, they had a crapload of really cute clothes.

I checked, and the quality still isn't there, but whoever is doing their designing these days is doing some really fun stuff. And it's the kind of clothes that I can visualize on most ages and sizes, with some variation, as opposed to the clothes for really skinny 20 year olds that they then grade up to size 20 and age 40.

Obviously, a lunchtime camera safari needs to take place soon, but one dress stuck in my head and I drew it out quickly on a post-it when I got back to the office. I even knew what pattern I wanted to use as the base.

The original dress is black and white, and it's a knit. My dress is going to be linen, and brown and ivory. Or milk and white chocolate, as I see it. The color change wasn't planned; when I went fabric shopping the other weekend with Andrea, tops on my list were black and white linen. But I didn't like Joann's linen, and Jomar didn't have white. The ivory caught my eye, but next to black, it looked dingy. Then I saw the brown - which, in my wardrobe, acts as my chief neutral anyway. Brown is my black.

A new idea was born. Who says a knockoff has to be exact - especially if it inspires something better than the original idea?

I decided to use Burdastyle's Fatina dress as the base. I've made the dress twice before, and it's a good basic shift that can be played with - obviously, from the photo. That's Lily, by the way, giving her feline seal of approval to my pattern dismantling. And above is a piece of Katie, curled around the post-it sketch.

They're such helpful girls.

I would have started this sooner, but the house ate my pattern. Really. One of my few bits of organization is that all my traced patterns (or the printed-and-cut variety) are folded up into big brown envelopes and stored in magazine organizers, by category: skirt, knit top, dress, etc.

Except Fatina wasn't in with the dresses, knit, woven or formal. I know I didn't lend it to anyone - I would have just sent them the PDF. So I had to wait out the weekend and print another one when I got to work Monday. This is what I get for not having a printer at home!

I pretty much know what I'm giong to do here. I cut the pattern apart at the "lengthen here" line, right under the bust dart. I did the same thing for one of my other versions, and that was good . I measured the width of the skirt and divided it into even sections, and sliced the pattern into thirds, front and back. (My bad paint sketch is backward - the center panel will be white, with brown on either side, so that in back I can run the invisible zip down the brown center panel - I have brown invisible zips but don't think I have a white one handy).

The only part I haven't decided on at this point is the width of the hem band. I think that will come later, after I've got the dress pieced together. I can always whack a chunk off the bottom and add the band then, when I know what width will look best on me.

Too late in the evening to do more now than put the pattern pieces away for safekeeping - sorry, Lily! - and get started tomorrow. Here's hoping I have some white lining fabric in the stash.


meredithp said...

Great idea, but absolutely no printer at home?! Wow, I couldn't do it. I'm sure you know that you can get a small HP laser for a reasonable sum. Small footprint, ideal for printing out patterns, correspondence, etc. :-)

Carolyn (Diary of a Sewing Fanatic) said...

Believe it or not, I've knocked off quite a few dresses from Dress Barn...the inspiration is good even if the quality is not what we use in home sewing.

I think this will be gorgeous and would be inspired to copy you if my summer to sew list wasn't so danged long!

Can't wait to see what finally emerges from your sewing machine!

bow said...

Ohh ... Good idea. I like it,
I don't have concept and never knew this, thanks for your sharing.


My english not good.