A change of style

Recently, I have been thinking about making dresses in styles that are outside my usual comfort zone. I have looked through some cuttings and patterns that I have saved over the years and have the following thoughts.

For dresses and blouses in woven fabrics – currently I use a TNT bodice pattern combined with different collar, sleeve and skirt options. There is a seam at the waistline to which I attach a variety of skirts. The basic bodice has bust and waist darts at the front and waist darts at the back. On one occasion I moved the darts into princess seams starting at the armscye on the front of the bodice which I really liked. I recently drafted a new bodice with a yoke by transferring the bust dart fullness into gathers at the shoulder/yoke.

I have made the style with and without sleeves, with plain revere style collars (no collar stand), shawl collars, pussy bow tie collars and scoop or v-neckline with no collar. The latter style has also been made as a pinafore dress. Sleeves have been short, capped, lined or unlined. With or without a gathered sleeve head, long or short gathered or pleated into a cuff. These bodice styles have been also made as blouses, some with the addition of epaulettes.

Skirts added to these bodices have been gathered or box pleated with or without buttons down the front or flat fronted. I have used the circle skirt patterns from the Betty dress by Sew Over It, Vogue 8577 and several other ‘big 4’ patterns. Most of my dresses have side seam pockets.

Although I have made several faux wrap dresses in knit fabrics, to date I have made only one using woven fabric and unfortunately that was an unmitigated disaster.

Over the next month or so I will be experimenting with new styles. To begin with I am trying dresses with a raised waistline – an ’empire’ line. I hooked out several patterns from my stash:- Butterick 4332, Butterick 6678, McCalls 7116, Serendipity Studio 119 ‘Madeleine’, Simplicity 8875 and Simplicity 8910.

Butterick 4332 – from 1996 and now Out of Print
Butterick 6678 – a recent purchase
McCalls 7116 – a free pattern with a magazine
A new designer from my pattern stash
Simplicity 8910 combines empire line with unpressed pleats

Before I could get starting on any of these patterns I was inspired by the ‘Montana’ dress by Style Arc, demonstrated by Alex Judge.

Montana Maxi Dress by Style Arc

I purchased the pattern and having made a toile to check the fit have made this, my bicycle dress. I am very pleased with this dress and will post a separate description of ‘the journey’ into the making of the project.

Montana in Bicycle print cotton

I will continue with trying some of my stash patterns with ’empire line’ bodices and will then be trying a drop waist style (vintage pattern Style #1996).

Vintage pattern #Style 1996

I would like to try woven wrap bodice styles – Butterick 6051,

Butterick 6051 – a recent purchase

Hannah dress by By Hand London, Eve dress by Sew Over It. ‘Utility’ styles – Simple Sew Zoe dress and Merchant & Mills ‘Factory’ dress.

Simple Sew – Zoe dress & top
Ideal candidate for a hack

Raglan sleeved dresses Vogue 8970

Vogue 8970 – has been in my pattern stash for a long time

Dresses with inset waistband – The Amelia dress by Simply Sewing.

Amelia Dress came free with a magazine

Finally the Buckle Jumper dress by Paisley Pincushion. This last pattern is one that I purchased in the USA and has long been in my stash. Hopefully this year I will get it made up!

Purchased a long time ago when visiting the USA

So many different patterns – and that is just the patterns for woven fabrics. It is a good thing that I have such a large stash of material acquired over the last 20+ years that will keep me busy during our extended lockdown!