Adventures in Drafting!

This post has nothing to do with either the armed forces or the writing process…the drafting I’m talking about is pattern drafting! Actually, it was more like pattern adaptation and alteration, but drafting sounds so much more accomplished.

Background story: I recently bought a ton of knit fabrics online out of curiosity, and wasn’t sure what to do with all of them. I’m still waiting for most of them to arrive in the mail (hrmph), but over the weekend a received a slinky, polka-dot knit from Gorgeous Fabrics. I had wanted to make another Renfrew top with it, but was inspired by this post to attempt turning the shift pattern into a dress. Also, the fabric was too slinky/drapey to be a top, and is much better suited for a dress.

Before I bore you all with the (somewhat dramatic) details of the process, here’s the finished product, in two outfits (one I wore yesterday for the 10 minutes that I actually left the house, and the other is today’s. I promise I don’t usually wear the same thing two days in a row!).

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Dress: handmade, based on the “Renfrew” top by Sewaholic, Sweater: LOFT, Boots: Clark’s, Belt: LOFT, Tights: Anthropologie, Hat: LOFT

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Sweater: LOFT, Belt: Banana Republic, Tights: Banana Republic, Boots: Clark’s

So, now the dramatic tale of now I made this. In the article I posted above, the gal used a top pattern (traced from ready-to-wear) and added a circle skirt. I thought that would be a swell idea, too. So, I drafted a circle skirt pattern for a half circle, based on this post. Voila:

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And thus begins the saga of things not working as I had planned. I didn’t have enough fabric for a half circle, so I made a quarter circle pattern instead. I used the Renfrew scoop neck, 3/4 length sleeve variation. Then the stitches were skipped when I started sewing because the fabric is so strong (this is a polyester/Lycra blend; the other tops I made were natural fibers + Lycra, which made them softer and more pliable). I finally ended up using a size 80 universal instead of the 70 ballpoint I had used for the others.

Then, there was the fit disaster. After I attached the skirt, I tried it on before finishing and trimming the seams, and oh boy….it was a problem. The fabric was SO slinky and form-fitting that it clung to my curves a little to eagerly, and I ended up looking about 5 months pregnant.

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Needless to say, I was distraught. My poor husband had to put up with a LOT of whining and moaning that night. Then, after a chat with my mom, who is also my sewing guru, I compared my dress with the knit dresses I already had in my closet. I discovered that you can’t make a narrow a-line with a slinky knit (if you have a tummy and bum like mine) that is citied at the waist. So I chopped off a few inches from the top of the skirt and gathered the front and back of the skirt. And voila! The skirt could now hang properly. I was overjoyed!

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The next day, I made my husband brunch, cookies, and dinner to make up for my excessive drama the night before, and finished my dress! So far I’m loving wearing it.

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