Thursday, July 09, 2015

In Progress: To Frankenpattern A Shift Dress

The Goal:

Create a shift dress pattern that fits well at the neck and shoulders, skims the body, and has sleeves that allow a full range of motion. The basic pattern pieces will allow for creation of other not-so-basic variations.


For the longest time, I have been craving all types of shift dresses made in print fabrics with different necklines, sleeve lengths, and body silhouettes.

Reminds me of an elongated Grainline Scout tee.

I've tried a few commercial patterns and as with most patterns on me, they haven't fit correctly at the back neckline. I always find there is extra fabric. I don't know what it is, is my back so much more narrow than my front, because the measurements don't reflect that opinion? Or maybe the neckline is either too high or too wide, resulting in a lot of extra fabric?

NL6145 looks good from the front, right?

The problem is around back. I could carry a basketball back there!
I attempted New Look 6145 last summer and while the front looked fine, the back had so much extra fabric at mid-back. My thought was it had to do with the armscye and how the sleeve was attached, so I tried a few alterations but ended up abandoning that muslin.

This year I made a series of knit t-shirts, including one made from the Grainline Scout pattern. This reminded me of how much I like the way that pattern has always fit when made in wovens and I decided to use it with New Look 6145 to create my own shift dress pattern. I pulled out my MALA paper roll from IKEA to trace and preserve the finished full-length pattern.

The French darts and the width of the sides were never a problem in my muslin of New Look 6145, the problem was in the shoulder and neckline area. Therefore, I used my Grainline Scout pattern for the neckline, shoulder, and armscye portion and traced them onto my paper which when compared to the other pattern; flattened the angle of the shoulder line, increases the shoulder length, and decreased the neckline width.

I then positioned the dress pattern on the paper so that the lower armscyes matched and the fold line of the center front bodices lined up and traced the dart markings, length, and skirt vent shape.

Next Step:

Now to cut it out and see if it works or not. Check back later.

Part 1: Seeking a Sublime Shift


M-C said...

Are you making a full bust adjustment? Because it looks like you have enough bust to justify it :-) (no offense, I'm similarly built). So if you're not, it's because you're buying patterns according to your full bust measurement, and that'd cause sagging all around the neck. Better to go to a smaller size and allow for the bust, it's way less work than adjusting everything else.

Siobhan said...

Best of luck! I agree with M-C that you might need to go down a size in the shoulders, especially if the armscye is kinda hanging past your shoulder point.

Otherwise, I've used Burdastyle Shift Dress 09/2012 with great results. It has those french darts you are after.

Summer Flies said...

I am the same with the back and have recently come to the conclusion (not yet tested) that I need at least 2 sizes smaller for the back and front to the upper front chest measurement (to the base of the armscye) and then a FBA and then grade out at the waist and hips. I watch with interest!

Noelle said...

I am totally on board with the quest for the perfect shift dress! Good luck. I'll keep on eye on your progress for further motivation. And it will be so worth it when you get your pattern tweaked just so.