Last week, I had a little extra time in my schedule, so I decided to play around with my dress form. We had just had a demonstration of draping with knits in my Fashion Draping course the week prior, so I decided to spend some time draping a knit torso sloper for myself. V1 was pretty good overall, but it needed adjustments. I ended up lowering the neckline 1″, slimming the sleeve, and reducing the shoulder width 3/4″. After trying on V2, I realized when I took the 3/4″ off the shoulder and reshaped the armscye, I scooped it too close to the front. I also still wasn’t completely happy the the sleeve width. For my V3, I decided to redraft a new sleeve and use a higher cap to make the sleeve less wide overall. I also ended up curving the armscye back out 1/2″ in the front only (the back fit fine). I didn’t sew that one up yet, but I trusted it was pretty close to perfect! I will confirm this at a future date when I have more extra time. I marked my dress form in places I will consider my preferred neckline, shoulder, and underarm seam to make my future draping projects need less adjustments.
After creating this knit sloper and taking the draped pattern to paper, I traced it onto pattern paper and did some slash and spread manipulations to add fullness and turn it into a tent dress! I then made flutter/bell sleeves to go with it by doing the same with the final sleeve I drafted for the knit tee, using my flat pattern textbook for guidance.
I had a promo fabric I wanted to use for the dress, so I sewed it up straight away in the fashion fabric. I definitely realize I should have sewed a muslin first, since I had done manipulations. I trusted that I would still wear the garment, even if it wasn’t perfect, so I went with it. While the finished dress certainly ended up wearable and very cute, there are things I noted to tweak on those pattern pieces for whenever I sew this pattern again. I’m bringing the armscye up 3/4″, taking the shoulders in 1/2″, and instead of the straight side seams that a woven tent dress usually has (and how I drafted this one), I decided to slim a little in at the waist with a curve and leave the fullness mostly from hip down, just so there is a little shaping in the waist. The sleeve will need to be redone from the arsmcye and shoulder adjustments, also. When I drafted the dress hem, the length at the front before seam allowance was where I wanted the skirt length to end. I forgot this and changed it to a hi-lo, which made the front a little shorter than I intended it to be. I was down to scraps of this fabric, but I was only able to wiggle out enough of them to make a narrow gathered ruffle to add to it for extra length. I think it still borders more tunic length, so the pattern will definitely be readjusted to my original length, but this one could serve as a tunic length (maybe a touch shorter). I had enough scraps left to make a little sash to pull it in at the waist. I prefer the look this way as a dress, and would probably wear it without the sash if I paired it with jeans so it would be more flowy.
I know I pointed out a lot of changes that I plan to make, but I’m still really proud of this dress. The lined flutter sleeves are a dream, and it’s so bouncy and twirly and lovely to wear. This process re-affirmed how incredibly important it is for pattern designers to be thoroughly pre-testing their patterns before sending them to testers, and it will inform my own testing process when I start selling my patterns in the future. Can’t wait for that day….