This is always the most challenging part of interpreting a garment whether it be designer inspired or from a catalog...the pattern alterations. What makes it easier is that I start with a pattern that I know fits as evidenced by the 42 different dresses I've made from this pattern.
I used a lot of tracing paper and tape to achieve these alterations and I'm alot more confident in the alterations to the back of the pattern than to the front...
So here is the sequence of pattern alterations I made:
1. Traced a right and a left side of my TNT dress front pattern. These two pieces were then taped together.
2. The first design detail I made to the traced pattern was the side eyelet circle. To figure out exactly where I wanted the circle to go I held the taped pattern piece up to me and marked where my side hit the pattern. Then using the scientific method of placing a saucer midway through the side cutting line, I traced the saucer's edge for my circle.
As an aside, all of my tracings were done with a pencil first so if I didn't like the way it looked, I could easily erase the markings and start again.
3. The main squiggle line through the bodice of the dress was the most challenging part of the pattern alterations because this is what gives the dress the style distinction IMHO. I drew this line several times, erasing and refining it before I was satisfied with it.
I relied heavily upon my iPad during this process. Propping it up on the cutting table with the picture of my drawing enlarged so that I could just glance at it to make sure that I was following my vision. At other times it was the picture of the actual dress...however, it was invaluable during this process!
Lastly I traced over my pencil markings with a black sharpie marker...fully committing to my design choice...*shew*
4. Cutting the pieces apart and adding seam allowances proved more challenging than I thought. I had to go back and lay the original pattern piece over the sections more than once to make sure that everything fit and worked like they should.
Can I also state here that in my opinion, you should always use your original pattern piece as a guide to make sure that your new cut up/revised pattern still fits.
I also used different seam allowances for different sections of the front. The side circle piece has 3/8" seam allowances. The main squiggle pieces have 5/8" seam allowances. I did this because on one of Audrey's posts (Sew Tawdry) there was a discussion of how a smaller seam allowance allowed a curved piece to lay flatter. This is my first time using this technique and I'm sure that it will insure that the eyelet circle will insert flatter and more easily into the dress.
5. The back pieces were up next and compared to all the work I did on the front ~ a breeze to change. Probably because there is just one seam separating the eyelet fabric from the solid fabric so it was just a matter of determining where I wanted it to go.
I went back and forth over whether or not this seam should be affected by the side circle piece and finally decided that the front and back pieces should be different to get the maximum design effect. Now I've watched the model walk on both the Style and Versace sites and I ended up interpreting the back the way that would work best for me. I'm sure if someone else attempts this exercise, they would come up with a different solution.
6. So after the backs were cut apart, seam allowances added (5/8") and placed back together to insure that they fit, the pattern alterations were done.
But I have to tell you that this dress is alot more complicated than anything I've attempted before and there is a nervousness associated with committing these pattern pieces to the fabric.
Here's a pic of the pattern pieces all cut out waiting to be pinned to the fabric...
...and here is the pile of fabric, notions and lining waiting to be transformed.
Finally, I usually put a DVD of a favorite TV show in while doing these pattern alterations. They allow me to have some noise in the room while I'm working, yet not distract me - as in sitting down in front of the TV to watch the program - because I've already seen the episodes. So does anyone else do this? Or do you need total silence when working?
Next up...the construction information...as always, more later!