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Hi everyone!

Today we will be putting up some more notes, so keep watching! :)
16 Dec, 2015

Hello again!

. . just a few hours later :)

Let’s continue from where we left off.
Yesterday, I measured my empire waist on the draft and calculated it to be 15 1/2″.
My underbust is 30″, which means that I need to tighten my draft by 1/2″.  (31″ draft underbust – 30″ actual body underbust = 1″ difference.  Draft is half the body, so adjustment will be 1/2″)

Normally you reduce wherever there is a seam  (ie. princess seams, side seams, center back if there is a seam).

Even tho, for the empire waistband, we we will be connecting the center front panel to the side front panel as one, and center back panel to side back panel as one, we still have the option to shorten those panels at one of the above mentioned areas, before connecting the panels as one.

It sort of works like an alteration:  if your waistband was too loose, you would pinch it and maybe even stitch across it to tighten it.  Except in this case, we do this before we connect the panels so that we don’t end up with a seam in the actual garment.

So, let’s begin.

– We will not be adjusting anything at center back since center back needs to stay a straight line and on straight grain.

– We won’t touch the back dart, since this is a standard dart width, considering we don’t have various bust sizes at the back, and we are all almost the same shape back there.

– We are left with the front princess seam and the side seam.  We can evenly distribute the 1/2″ between those two areas.

– The 1/4″ that I will pinch in at the front princess seam cannot be pinched on the center front panel.  We, however, can do it on the princess seam of the side front panel.
This is because the measurement between the center front and point H is, for my draft, exactly the same as the measurement between the center front and point I (at the waist).
This means that if I were to have vertical seam at this area, that seam would have been parallel to the center front.  If the top of this seam, from center front to point H, was wider than the area at the bottom, from center front to point I, then I would have been able to pinch out the excess (at underbust point H) until I reached a parallel line.
Note:  The bottom waist area, center front to point I, should NEVER be wider than the top area of center front to point H.

In this case, take out the 1/4″ excess from the princess seam on the front side panel, by moving point K to point Q by a 1/4″.  The empire waistband seam has now shortened by 1/4″ from 15 1/2″ to 15 1/4″.

There is another 1/4″ to be taken out from somewhere.
That somewhere will be the side seam, and equally pinched from both the front and the back panels.
On the front bodice panel, move the side seam in to the left by 1/8″ to point R.  And draw a straight line from this new point R to side seam at waist (point T).
We don’t adjust the waist since the waist is the correct measurement.
On the back bodice panel, move the side seam in to the right by 1/8″ to point S.  And draw a straight line from this new point S to side seam at waist (point U).

NOTE!  Always cross off the old lines with an x.

Please see below photo for above points:
Basic upper torso block 109 _ cropped
Next, draw the princess seam for the front side panel.  Please see below photo.

Measure from point V, on the bust radius, to point W 1 4/4″.  This will be the pinched in fabric amount top of the bust.
Why 1 1/4″?
Because when you place a cloth flat on the front of your body, in order for that cloth to lay nicely fitted against the top of your bust, you will need to pinch out the excess of fabric.  Go ahead and try placing a cloth on the front of your body and see what happens.

From point W,  you will draw BY HAND a nice curve like mine in the below photo, go through point X and curve into Q.  When drawing this line, first halfway from W to X is a straight line, the second halfway from W to X is a curved line that then passes through X, keeps curving and very slightly straightens before it comes to Q.

This is because the maximum curve is on the bust.
Above the bust is quite a flat area.
To give you a better visual, put on a fitted top, go to the mirror, stand sideways, and take a look at the shape of your bust.  This is the best way to get used to drawing the correct curve.

Please, do not draw droopy bust or the, as I call them, the Madonna boobs.  Both mentioned in the second photo below.

If you feel that your curve is too flat at X (bust point area), please feel free to cross over X to Y which will give you a more suitable curve.  Please see third photo below.  You normally wouldn’t cross over more than 1/8″ or 3/16″ past point X.

Once you have completed your curve BY HAND, you may use the curved ruler to reinforce your line.

You will notice that my curves have been done a couple of times, hence the x’s, until I came to a curve that I was happy with.

For above points, please take a look at below three photos.
Basic upper torso block 110 _ croppedBasic upper torso block 112 _ croppedBasic uper torso block 111 _ cropped

Now let’s correct the side seam.  See photo below.

This correction is needed is because we have tightened only the empire waistband at side, but not tightened the the bust panel above it at side.  Both panels, top and bottom, need to be aligned at the side, because you will be stitching them together, and if they are not aligned, one will be sticking further out at the side.

On the front body draft, draw a slightly curved line by drawing a line from R upwards parallel to the old side seam, and then curve in to blend at Z.  You must be careful doing this so that you don’t end up with a sharp turn; it needs to be subtle.

If you are uncomfortable doing this or if your slight curve isn’t turning out correctly, draw a straight line towards the side seam at bust level (which is the horizontal line) and then keep going until you reach the Side Length (from the measurements that you took of your body).  The Side Length is measured from the waist (point T).
Please note that you are not aiming towards the point at the armhole and side seam.  By drawing your line through the side seam at bust level. your top end of side seam line might end up either on the left or on the right of the old top of side seam.

Now repeat the same on the back body draft from S upwards.

For above points, please see photo below.Basic upper torso block 113 _ cropped

Next, we will want to draw the front neckline.  Please see below photo.

There will be a knot at the top of the bust.  This will be a fake knot, in order to reduce bulk fabric.
Underneath the knot will be a seam connecting top of the bust to the strap.

I will place the knot right next to the arm because it covers, as I call them, the chi chis (little bit of flesh us girls/women have)  :).
The knot will sit 4 1/4″ measuring down from the shoulder.  Because I measured with a measurement tape from where my bra strap sits on the shoulder, which is 1″ in from the end of the shoulder, then that is exactly where I will start measuring the distance from on my draft as well, and down to the armhole of the bodice.

Place a short horizontal line as mentioned in the photo.

Since you may have a different body proportion than I, not to mention the cleavage :), please decide for yourself where you prefer your knot to sit.

What I did to decide on my neckline, is I put on a sleeveless top (straps about 1″ wide), and a low scooped neck.
I stood in front of the mirror, pinched the top (with my right hand) where I was thinking I would put the knot, and pushed down the center of my front neck with my left hand to get a better visual what shape of neckline I was comfortable with, as well as how high the knot would sit.  You can play with your neckline until you reach a desired silhouette.

Once you have decided, measure from the top of the shoulder to the imagined knot area.  Also measure from the front just below the neck, down to how low you wanted your center front to come.

For above points, please see below photo.
Basic upper torso block 114 _ cropped

Moving on!

Step 1:
From the short mark that you last made at armhole, draw 1/2″ horizontal line.  This will be a part of bust panel that connects to your strap.
You need a minimum of 1/2″ width so that once the garment is stitched, the seam allowances fit inside that 1/2″ without any thickness of fabric.
If you wish, you can make this slightly wider, but not too wide.  Keep in mind that this is the base.  The gathered part will be an extra layer on top of the flat base, and we will drape that later.

Step 2:
On the draft, measure down from the center of the neck, the depth that you have decided on (in the previous step above the above photo), and mark with a horizontal line.

Step 3:
Draw the neck curve BY HAND as you have envisioned it to be.  I wanted mine to drop down from the knot, then drape around the top of the bust and drop again in the center front.
On mine, I followed the shape of the bust radius in one area;  You can see that area where the step 3 arrow points to.

If you wish, you can draw a V-Neck, a round neck, or any other shape as you wish.  Don’t worry about not being able to follow the same shape as me, since the part that goes over the top of this base will be draped.  And you can drape in which ever direction you want, on your own neckline shape .. it honestly isn’t an issue.  As you wish :)

For the above steps, please see photo below.
Basic upper torso block 115 _ cropped

Now that you have finalized the neck curve, you may go over the line with a curved ruler, as per below photo.
Basic upper torso block 116 _ cropped

During the above process, I realized that the bust princess seam that I drew long ago, is drawn from bust point, straight up.   This would not look nice, so I will change the princess seam direction towards the armhole, instead.
straight up and sitting in the middle of the neck would not look nice.
Take a look at below photo for next steps.

I want that princess seam to finish in the armhole about 1/2″ below the top of the bust panel.  This way it does not overlap with the other seams that my sit in that narrow area where the strap will be connected to.

From this new point (1/2″ below top of bust, at armhole), draw a straight dashed line towards the curved princess and blend in.

For above points, please see photo below.
Basic upper torso block 117 _ croppedOnce you are happy with the shape of the DASHED princess seam (that now belongs to the front bust panel, redraw over it with a ruler to reinforce the line with a solid line, as per photo below:
Basic upper torso block 118 _ cropped

Now that the princess seam has been finalized for the center front bust panel, let’s correct/make the princess seam for the side bust panel.  See photo below.

Measure from the new point (which sits 1/2″ below where knot will be) about  1 1/4″ towards right (at right angle from the princess seam).
Don’t worry about exact angle for now.  We will correct that point later once we draw the line.

Then from that point draw a new curved line into the bust.  This new line will be the princess seam that belongs to the front side panel.
Again, it starts as a straight line from the point where you measured 1 1/4″ and then draw that straight line towards  bust while it gently blends into the old curve. They blend about 1/2″ to 1″ BEFORE you reach the bust point

For above points, see below photo:
Basic upper torso block 119 _ cropped

Now we can correct that point where I told you not to worry about (in the previous step).  See photo below.

You will measure from H upwards along the line, which is the princess seam that belongs to the front bust panel, and all the way up to the end of that line (at armhole).
Record this measurement.

For above step, please see photo below:
Basic upper torso block 120 _ cropped

Step 1:
Now use that measurement to measure the same length on the princess seam that belongs to the bust side panel.

Start at point K and measure upwards until you reach the same measurement and then mark with a perpendicular line.

Now remeasure both lines AGAIN to make sure that the measurements are the same.  If they are not, you may only correct the princess seam line at the top (seam that belongs to the front side panel).

Step 2:
From that adjusted measurement point, redraw the armhole blending nicely in with the old armhole.  Make sure that you are not creating sharp curves.  It needs to gently blend into the line of the old armhole.

For above steps, please see photo below:
Basic upper torso block 121 _ cropped

Let’s go ahead and complete the pattern.  See below photo for next steps.

Step 1:
Normally, tops are dropped 3/4″ under the arm.  So go ahead and do that now.

As well, since the top of the front bodice (where the knot is) will be right next to where the arm meets the body, you won’t be able to drop the side seam more than 3/4″ nor should you keep this too high.  This is because you need to gradually draw the top of the dress seam, so that it gently curves downwards, and so that it falls just beneath the shoulder blades at the back (Step 2).

Step 2:
Measure from shoulder just below the shoulder blades and note this measurement.
It is best if you have someone else measure this area so that you get an accurate measurement.
You will do this in the same manner that we have done the front (when trying to decide how low the knot should sit).
For this step see FIRST photo below.

Step 3:
It will look nice if you keep dropping the top of the dress seam further down as you move towards the center back, but not so far down that your bra shows.
At center back, I dropped mine another 1/2″ below what the shoulder blade level is.
Here, make sure that you draw a 90 degree angle line.

Step 4:
Complete the top of the dress line, by drawing the line.
Continue from where you stopped the small curve that you did in the step above the above photo, and continue to the back.

Step 5:
As you continue drawing this curve, pass through all the points that you just made, the 3/4″ below the armhole, then through the point that sits below your shoulder blade and blend into the center back at the last point that you marked as 90 degrees.

For above steps, please see SECOND photo below:
Basic upper torso block 122 _ croppedBasic upper torso block 123 _ cropped

While drawing this, your front bodice panel was sitting on top of the back bodice panel and some lines may not have been transferred.  See photo below.

Take your front bodice panel now and place it underneath the back bodice, in exact same location, and retrace those missing parts of the top of the dress lines, as well as the empire seam lines, onto the back bodice.

Basic upper torso block 124 _ cropped

Finally, go over the top of your hand drawn lines, with a ruler.
See photo below:
Basic upper torso block 125 _ cropped

This is as far as we will go today, my dears.

I hope that you have enjoyed My Progress so far, and that you have been able to keep up with me on this progress by making the same for yourself.

Tomorrow, we will adjust the shape at the bust to make the bust area more visually appealing.

Have yourselves a lovely rest of the evening and see you back here tomorrow.

14 Dec, 2015

Hi darlings!

If you are just joining us, this is our fourth post.  Previous posts are below, and every new post gets posted at the top.  Please start from the very first post at the bottom of this page, and follow the posts upwards.

Well, up until now we’ve been doing a lot of planning.

I have now completed most of the pattern for the top part of my dress, so follow below my steps and work in your own size . . making exactly the same dress, or tweak to your liking (ie. neckline shape, width of waistband, etc.)

As it is late and I need my little self to go to sleep, I won’t be posting absolutely everything tonight.  I will try to do as much as I can tho.
Besides, if you have not taken my pattern drafting course, you may need some time to develop your basic body blocks, explained below the body measurements.

Take your body measurements.

If you have taken my course previously, you will know how to correctly measure your body.  Beginners’ course did not cover UNDERBUST, nor SHOULDER TO UNDERBUST, so please take a look below on how to take these measurements.

You will need the following circumferences for this dress (around the whole body):

Please see below link (on this blog) on how to correctly measure the above circumferences.

Take a few more measurements.
The more measurements you take, the more accurate your draft (and eventually your dress) will be :)

See photo below for the following measurements:


-> Place a thin rope or a measurement tape around your waist (as explained in the link above).
Place the measurement tape on top of your shoulder, so that it hangs from the front as well from the back.
Measure with 0 (zero on measurement tape) starting from the back waist, measuring STRAIGHT (vertically, not diagonally) upwards towards the highest point of your body on the shoulder (shoulder right NEXT to the NECK), and then continue measuring down the front (going across the highest point of the bust) and down to front waist.
Record this measurement.  This is your TOTAL FRONT + BACK

-> Now place a pencil on the shoulder to visually see where the shoulder seam should be.  This is NOT where your shirt seam is, as your shirt has already been stylized and the seam may have been moved for a design effect.
The measurement underneath your pencil is your FULL TORSO BACK (zero at waist measuring up to whatever measurement you got at the shoulder).

->  To get the measurement of the front length, you will take the full measurement “TOTAL FRONT + BACK” (which is the measurement you see on the measurement tape, at the front waist) and subtract the FULL TORSO BACK.
(for example 36″ – 17″=19″ . . . 36″ is full measurement of my back waist measured upwards across the shoulder (at neck) and back downwards to front waist.  17″ is is the length of my back from back waist measured upwards to the shoulder (at neck).  And the difference between the two measurements is the front (19″)

Your front is normally 1″ to 2″ longer than the back.  This is because there is a longer way across the bust to measure down to the waist.
For the larger chested ladies, you may be up to 3″ longer in the front than the back.

– SIDE LENGTH (in green)
– BUST DEPTH (in blue)
– BUST SPAN (in blue)
– UNDERBUST (not in photo) – measure your circumference around the whole body (perfectly horizontally) just underneath the bust where the seam will be.  A seam in this area is normally called an Empire seam (or empire waist dress).
– SHOULDER TO UNDERBUST (not in photo) – measure from middle of shoulder, downwards across highest point of bust, and keep measuring until you reach under the bust where the bra seam is.
– ACROSS SHOULDER Front (in red)
– ACROSS SHOULDER Back (in red)
– ACROSS CHEST (not in photo) – from where your arm meets the body (or crease) from left to right.  This is basically above your bust, and half way between shoulder and bust level.
– ACROSS BACK (not in photo) – same as front, but measured at the back
– SHOULDER LENGTH (in green)
Croquis front (x2) _ reference for production factory _ cropped

Develop the basic block for upper torso.

– If you have taken my pattern drafting course previously, you will know how to do that now.
– If you have NOT taken my pattern drafting course, but have the knowledge of how to make the basic block, please go ahead and do so now.
– If you have NOT taken my pattern drafting course, and you have no experience, please go and buy a pattern drafting book first.  You need the basic block to do the rest of the pattern.  You can purchase the book from online sources such as Amazon or if you live in UAE, you can drop by Kinokuniya in Dubai Mall.

** Please note that there are multiple techniques for pattern drafting, hence my and consequently others’ techniques may slightly differ.  We will all come to the same result tho!

Please have your block completed (as below photo) and check that you have all the lines as per the below photo:

Basic upper torso block 100 _ cropped

Next we will complete the bust radius and draw the empire seam, where the bust panels will be stitched to the empire waistband. (see BELOW PHOTO), and then follow instructions below the photo to complete these steps.

Basic upper torso block 101 _ cropped

Draw the bust radius (marked as A) (in BELOW PHOTO)

– If you have taken my course, you will know how to do this.
– If you have not taken my course, a pattern drafting book should explain how to do this.

Draw a straight line from the bust point towards the middle of the shoulder because this is the direction I am thinking that the bust princess seam might end up pointing towards (you will notice that I will end up changing that later) (marked as B)

Changes are a natural process of pattern drafting, so don’t be afraid to use your ERASER :) or scrap the pattern and start over again :)

Next, draw an underbust seam line across the bodice from center front over to center back (marked as C)
This is the dashed line that sits horizontally below the bust radius.  This line separates the top panel (bust) from the bottom panel (waistband).
This line is needed because we will have a seam which connects the bust to the waistband.

Now let’s shape the direction of the underbust waistband, to give the body a more appealing silhouette.
We will slightly lift the waistband at center front, and drop the waistband down at center back.

The below is all measured from underbust level (the dashed line that we just drew):
Center front = up 3/16″ (marked as D).  Here, draw a line at 90 degrees towards right – very important because you want to have a nice straight transition of this line, from left side of garment to right side of garment.  You don’t want to end up with a sharp point upwards at the center of the garment.
Side seam (front panel) = down 1/2″ (marked as E)
Side seam (back panel) = down 1/2″ (marked as E)
Center back = down 1″ (which is another 1/2″ down from Side seam) (marked as F).  At center back, draw a 90 degree line towards left.

Furthermore, below this line, will be the waistband.
The block does not include a very fitted panel at the underbust.  It is fitted at the bust and at the waist only.  This is because the dart is straight, which basically pinches the waist only.
So in order to have a fitted underbust, we need to fit that area closer to the body.

Where the left dart leg meets the bust radius (this is the area that sits under the bust) is marked as G.  Measure 3/8″ from G towards left – this point is marked as H on the draft.
Look at point H.  Measure from point H to center front.  This must be EQUAL or BIGGER than the measurement measured from center front to bottom of left dart leg (marked as I).
Regarding the measurements that you just took:
– if the waist area is smaller than the underbust measurement, leave it as it is.
– if the waist area is equal to the underbust measurement, leave it as it is.
– if the waist area is LARGER than the underbust measurement, then move the point H towards the right (so that point I to center front is the same measurement as is center front to point H).

Then measure also 3/8″ from where the bust radius meets the right dart leg (marked as J).  The 3/8″ distance from point J is marked as K on the draft.

Please see below photo for above points:
Basic upper torso block 102 _ cropped

Draw the “empire waist” seam, on the front panel.  This seam will connect bust to waistband (photo below).

While drawing the above line, leave about 1/2″ straight line as per above 90 degrees.  Then slightly curve the line downwards to newest point H.  This is where the princess seam of the bust will start to be drawn upwards.

Skip a little to the right and continue drawing the curved line from point K towards point E.
Please note this is NOT A STRAIGHT LINE – it is a curve that is curved downwards.  Please see photos below.

Basic upper torso block 103 _ cropped
Basic upper torso block 104 _ cropped

In order to continue this seam into the back, you need to cut the paper inbetween front and back.  Please see photo below.
Basic upper torso block 105 _ cropped

(In photo below)
Connect the two papers (front panel and back panel) together at side seams.  This means take the front panel, and align the side seam over top of the side seam of the back panel.  Please see photo below.

To continue to draw the line on the back, please take into account that the seam at Center back (marked as F)  MUST be 90 degrees, so leave that last 1/2″ before the center back, at least 1/2″ at 90 degrees.

After connecting the side seams of front and back panels, I realized that the seam on the front panel was too high at point E.
So I erased the line between point K and E.
Do the same on your pattern.  (As your body shape is different than mine, your seam at E might be okay, it might be too high or might be too low)

Then redrew the line as a DASHED line (marked as L) from K towards point F, keeping in mind that the last part of the line at F must be at 90 degrees from center back (at least 1/2″ from F towards left)
During this step, my point E was dropped by about 1/4″ below E (at dashed line, marked as point M).
Yours may be a different measurement as your body shape is different.

I then looked at the line and felt that it is giving me a sharp turn downwards from K.
So I redrew the line as a SOLID line (step N) which happened to raise the point M upwards, and now sits between M and E.

Please look at your shape as it may be different than mine, and make a nice softly curved line.
See below photo for above steps.
Basic upper torso block 106 _ cropped

Looking at that line that I drew (in the photo below), I felt that it has a sharp corner at where the arrow is (in the photo), so I corrected that by redrawing a smoother line in that area.

Feel free to correct any sharp turns on your pattern as well, if you feel that it needs correction.
Basic upper torso block 107 _ cropped

Next (photo below), measure the width of the empire waist seam around the body, from center front along the solid line towards the center back.

Make sure that you are measuring PRECISELY along the curved line, and not straight across from center front to center back.

Do NOT include the measurement BETWEEN points H and K, and also do not include the measurement of the back dart (BETWEEN points O and P) in your measurement.  We need the actual measurement that we would get if we were to stitch the garment, to make sure that it fits.

This measurement will tell us if we got the same measurement as what we had measured ourselves as UNDERBUST (in the very beginning of today’s post, in the measurements section).

My underbust measurement that I took was 30″.
On my draft you can see that I got 15 1/2″.  This is half of my body as we are drafting only half of the front and half of the back.
This means that as a full body, I would end up with 31″ empire waistband on the draft.
1″ too big.
So considering I am working on half the body, I need to make this length shorter by 1/2″ on this draft.

Please see photo below for above point.
Basic upper torso block 108 _ cropped

This is as far as I will go tonight.
I hope that you are able to understand everything that I am explaining.

For those of you that have not taken my pattern drafting class, you have some time to complete your block before coming back to follow my next post tomorrow :)

See you all tomorrow for the rest of the draft! :)

12 Dec, 2015

Hello again :)

So, I just got back from my meeting and am lounging on the couch while thinking about the dress logistics.
Am listening to Christmas music and getting happy :)

Now, just reviewing the illustration so that I can decide where to start with the pattern.

I will be draping two parts on the dress – the bow and the skirt.
I can visually play with the fabric, and decide the size and shape.
Skirt – REASON:
I want to visually decide how much of a flare I prefer.  This is better done by draping, although if I wanted to, I could also pattern draft it.  The only problem with pattern drafting it is that I have to visualize how the fabric will drape, in my head.
As I want the skirt to be perfect, I’d much rather drape it.

In case you aren’t familiar with the term “draping”, please don’t look up the Urban Dictionary’s explanation . . lol.
Draping means, basically, to play with the fabric in my hands and “draping” it on the mannequin until I come to a fit and fall of the fabric that I like.

The waist sash and the bust will be pattern drafted (flat on paper), using my body measurements.
Warning – beware!  The dress may not fit any longer after the Christmas dinner :)  Yes, I’ve been working out really hard in the gym last half a year, and ‘Tis The Time To Eat as much as I want!! :)

Now, before I start pattern drafting, I need to clarify a few details.

Take a look at the below photo.

Top of the waist sash will be sitting right belooow my bosom.  And the bottom of the sash may end up slightly higher thaaan the waist.

Point #1 (in red):

This is where the bust and the sash will be stitched together, to each other horizontally along the underbust and around the  body horizontally.

Point #2 (in green):

I will decide on the width of the waist sash, considering the size and the shape of the bow.
If you are small chested, please don’t make a large bow – it will make you look flatter.
If you are large chested, please don’t make a small bow – it will make you look bustier.  Unless that is what you want ;)  Hey!- we all have our preferences, so whatever rocks your boat! :)

– if my waist sash is too narrow (sketch A), then my bow will end up looking very long and poor, and it may even not be able to hold up because of the weight (on a narrow length)

– If my waist sash is too narrow, and I make the bow shorter in length (sketch B), then my bow will look very small and cheap

– If I make the waist sash too wide (sketch C), the bow will end up looking too large, and this will overtake the dress by being the big focal point of the dress, which I don’t want.
Even if I shorten the bow, it will still not look sophisticated.

. . so be careful when making the bow :)  (see below photo)

Chosen illustration 100 _ pattern brain storming _ A

In the next photo below, I will decide on the following:

Sketch A)

Where will the connection (connecting the sash and bow) be placed along the waist, in terms of being at center front or slightly towards the side under the bust?

Sketch B)
Since the right side bust panel and right side skirt panel will overlap over top of the left side (left side bust and left side skirt).
If this is the design, then it would look nice if the connection seam of the waist sash (the stitch connecting the sash and the bow) (#1 in the below photo) that this connection seam is placed along the front right panel Edge, as per #2 and #3 (in the photo).  This means that it will be placed somewhere under the left bust area.

Since this is where I plan to attach the bow, I will end up with a nice edge line, from neck all the way down to the bottom of the skirt.
I am, therefore, thinking to keep my opening (a way to get into the dress) in the front, and eliminate the zipper idea in the center back.
This way I will not have a seam showing in the center back, but rather a seamless back panel.
This means that this would work like a wrap dress, so the only part where the right side of the dress connects to the left side of the dress, would be at the seam base of the bow (next to where the bow attaches to the sash).  This will be the connection/closure point.

What can I use as the closure?
– Open ended zipper:  not very classy
– Hook & eye:  maybe.  Not to have it pull, I would need to insert a bone (length same as width of sash) and then place hooks & eyes along the bone from top to bottom.

How do I secure loose waist edge of the left panel, which is now sitting underneath the right bust of the right panel of the dress?

I could place metal snaps (because they are stronger and longer lasting) along the top seam of the sash.
That means that I could place the “male” metal snaps on the underneath of the right sash panel, at the top seam.  And the “female” metal snaps can be placed along the top of the sash of the left panel, the outer side of the left sash, to secure the two waistbands together.

This will still leave the whole sash somewhat loose looking, which would not look very nice.
Besides, having no seams in the skirt, except the opening in the front is not possible.  This is because, considering that there needs to be an overlap, the fabric width would not be wide enough to cut a circle (that needs to overlap).  And the overlap is not possible without an extra seam.

So, an invisible zipper is really needed somewhere, either the back or on the side.
– If the zipper is placed at the center back, you will see one seam only (top to bottom of the dress).
– If the zipper is placed at the side, which could possibly be nicer, then the skirt will need side seams on both sides (to match the look).

I think I prefer having a center back seam.
It will be easier to get into aaaand out of (wink wink), rather than trying to squeeze in through the armhole.  Imagine that! :)
This way the dress will only have one seam in the skirt (at back) instead of two seams (one at each side), which wouldn’t look nice considering there is an opening in the front already.  Besides, having side seams, and a zipper in one of the sides, would mean that seams would be going through the gathered sash – not very nice.
I will try to make the back seam in the skirt as neat as humanly possible.
Moving on!

Sketch C) (in the below photo)
To make  a more appealing neckline, and instead of making a straight “V-neckline”, I will curve the shape into “Sweetheart neckline” as per #4 in the photo below.  Here, you can work with how much cleavage you expose . . how low can YOU go!?  I suggest not very low :)  . . . especially if you are big busted :)

To add more appeal to the overall silhouette and shape, we can play with the placement of any other seams that are in the dress.
I have decided that the waist sash will be slightly and gradually dropped at the side seams, and further more at the back as per #5 in the below photo.

Chosen illustration 100 _ pattern brain storming _ B
In the next photo below, I will decide how far up, above the side of the bust, will the knot sit (#1 in the below photo)

During pattern drafting, I will shape the front Sweetheart neckline (#2 in the below photo).
I will also then decide how high will the side seam sit underneath the armhole (line in blue)

At the back, I will decide how high up will the back panel go (#4 in the below photo) above the waist sash (#3 in the photo).  I need to keep in mind that the top of the back panel should sit just underneath the shoulder blades, in order for the dress to be comfortable to wear.

Chosen illustration 100 _ pattern brain storming _ C

Finally, the last sketch below.

The underneath 2 layers of the gathered bust layer will have princess seams (#5 in the below photo).

These 2 underneath layers will both have side seams (#6 in the below photo) in the bodice panel only.  The waist sash will also have side seams, on both sides.
I could possibly connect the bust side panel to the back side panel as one panel on the left side of the body and another panel on the right side of the body.

The only issue with this idea is that the grain will be thrown off (on the back panel), which will make the back panel on bias grain of fabric (diagonal) instead of straight grain.
This is not ideal, because in the center back must most definitely be on straight grain.
One of the reasons for this is, so that the zipper can be put in nicely at center back (being on straight grain).  Another reason is so that the back panel (being kept on straight grain) will not stretch across the back out of shape (#7), which would otherwise had it been on bias grain, most definitely be stretched.

Chosen illustration 100 _ pattern brain storming _ D

OKAY!  Ready to make the bust and sash patterns now.
Keep checking back for my progress! :)


10 Dec, 2015

Hello fashionistas!

My apologies for having been away for a little over a week – I’ve been X-Mass shopping for family and friends :)

However, I Have done some work in the meanwhile!  :)

In the last post (DAY 1 – 28 Nov, 2015, just below today’s post) I listed all the steps that need to be done, in order.
Herewith, I will discuss what I have done so far today.

As per point #1 in the previous post, I have sorted through some 100 of my old illustrations, and I have decided on a perfect dress.

The dress chosen is below.
Keep reading below the photo for my logic for choosing this dress, and what I am thinking in terms of production of the dress.

X-mass dress

REASON for choice:

– In Dubai more opportunities to wear the dress again, meaning, to those charity galas, new designer line launches, the Dubai World Cup, and those WILD bachelorette parties :D . . . not that I’ve been to any ;) ;)

– X-Mass dinner party is a casual get together with family and friends, hence a short dress with semi-fancy fabric is more suitable

– As I have broken my toe recently, a short dress can be worn with really nice flat shoes :) . . my new stilettos will have to wait till at least 5 months from now . . bohoo! :'(

– Red and white X-Mass colours can be used, so that it goes with the theme and I can also wear it again.  While the rest of the dress is red, the hem border can be white, as well as the waist sash.  This way I can match Santa :)
I hope that it is true, that he comes down the chimney.  I’ll be happily waiting with a dust stick in my hand :)


– quite happy with the illustration silhouette, so no changes as per point #2 in my previous post
Tho, once I do make the sample, I may change certain details depending on how I feel about it

– Logistics of how to put the dress together in terms of pattern pieces, where seams will go, how it will be stitched together and will those stitches be duable (meaning will they end up looking neat if I do it that way)

– For the border and the waist sash . . should I use pure white, nude or dark red colours.
Lighter colour than the dress itself would be nicer, hence I am leaning more towards white.  As I am not a fan of White white, I am thinking champaign or off white, but will decide for definite later on.  Also, the colours and shades I use will depend on what is available in the fabric shops.

– not going to colour the illustration as per my point #3 in the previous post, as I am running out of time

– will get straight to how the pattern needs to be, and how to get it to look like I’ve imagined it in terms of stiffness and drape

– white BORDER:
To stitch onto the hem of the dress or not to stitch :)  An alternative could be a separate white skirt layer, underneath the upper red layer.  To give it a luxurious look, it will be better as a separate layer.

– Keeping a separate layer (meaning two skirt layers) will mean that it will need a 1/4″ hem roll finish for the underneath white layer, and also 1/4″ hem roll finish for the upper red layer.  That will make the dress look cheap.
How do I finish the hem without showing the stitch?

– I could back the upper red layer with another red layer underneath it, and stitch them at the hem together.  I could then back the underneath separate white layer with another white layer underneath it, and stitch them at the hem together.  This is 4 layers of fabric!! Yikes!  No.

– How can I keep 2 layers (red and white) of fabric only?
I have to think of putting the two together.  If I attach the two together at the hem, they might pull on each other.  Not an option.

– To keep the look crispy, I need to use either organza or horsehair underneath the layers at the hem.  Even if I am thinking of using taffeta for the dress itself, I will still need the horsehair.
Could the horsehair help with the finishing?
Horsehair will keep it too poofed out, at the hem.  I’d still like a little bit of softness, so a narrow horsehair about 1″ or 1 1/2″ would be more suitable as it is more flexible.

– Come to think of it, using the organza fabric (instead of taffeta) for the dress would look FANTASTIC!
It will give the drape, the flow and the bounce that I want.  Done!  Back to the finishing now.
PATTERN again:

– How do I finish the hem of the organza skirt?
First of all, organza can be quite transparent, hence 2 layers will show all my panty lines!  Oops!  Besides, the upper beautiful red layer would lighten in colour from having the white layer underneath it.  Need to keep the red very Red :)

– Would it be possible to go back to having 4 layers of organza?
Hmmm  . . let me think about this one.

–  Okay, I will use 2 layers of red organza for the upper layer.  These two layers will be stitched together at the hem, hence no seam will be visible.
I will have to carefully cut the fabric so that both layers are cut on exactly the same, precise grainline, in order so that they don’t pull on each other in a funny way when worn.

– The underneath white layer can be a single layer, but I don’t want the white to be semi-transparent or to show the stitch line.  So I will cut another white layer, but will cut only the bottom 5″ measured from hem upwards (around the whole hem) of the same layer (not the full layer from hem to waist).
This way I am reducing the possibility of the pull of fabric.  As well, having this shorter underneath white layer, it won’t matter how I stitch it (at the top of the shorter layer) since it won’t be seen (the stitch line will be above the level of where the upper red layer ends).  In any case, I will decide on the best way to to finish that area at the time when I am about to stitch the dress.

– Will I need horsehair since I am using organza?  No.  It will flow beautifully just from the fabric itself :)

–  I will use horsehair, however, in the bow because the bow won’t stand up like that without something sturdy

– Skirt is decided on (as mentioned above)

– The white waist sash that is wrapped around the waist will be gathered horizontally across the waist, hence it needs something  to be backed to.  This means that it needs another separate flat waist panel underneath the sash, so that when the sash is gathered on top of it, it can be tacked to that underneath layer and keep the gathers in place.
2 layers of the white flat panels of fabric, which is the same colour as the gathered fabric on top, will give it a nice finish.  This way, the tacking can be done to the first flat panel underneath, and the very inner flat panel (below both of them, and next to the body) will cover the look of those tacks and the threads.
The outer flat panel (just below the gathered panel that it is tacked to) might need to be fused, which will also give it a stronger base for tacking. Will try the fusing on a small piece of actual organza fabric, once the organza is purchased, and see how it stands, feels, and looks.

– Thinking of the gathered sash, I am wondering if it will look nice using organza . . . hmmm . . thinking it might end up too poofy.  Will have to do the trial on a small piece of actual fabric, and see how it looks.  I think it should be okay, but we’ll see when the fabric swatch is done.

– What about dry cleaning?  Will the gathered look be destroyed?  Should I make the gathered sash detachable?  How would I attach it then?
Could I attach the sash with snaps, velcro, what . . hmmm.  It might end up not as nice and neat.  I think I will stick with stitching the sash to the bust+back panels above it, and just hope that the dry cleaners do a good job – meaning I will have to mention to them not to flatten the gathers, and to really point that out to them, and have them write it on the big note they put on the dress before dry cleaning.

– That’s easy!  Horsehair inbetweenthe 2 layers of organza.
The bow will be a flat rectangular piece.  I will take the far edges (meaning the short sides) and align them together (by folding the piece in half).  This will be stitched to the sash at front.  I will then place a silver broche on top of the stitch line to hide the stitch line.

– Sure, white sash+bow and white hem  on a red dress would be perfect for X-Mass.  But will it be too X-Massy for other events?
Probably.  Maybe I should go with the champagne or a lighter red colour.  It will be more wearable.  I will see what shades of champagne they have at the fabric shop.  I might even buy white colour, and have it dyed to the champagne colour that i have in my mind.

Hmmmm . . come to think of it, with so much contrast and a wide sash, the drees might end up looking like a prom dress.  I better keep the whole dress all red colour.  Instead, I can just play with the shades of red.
I could keep everything Red red, and the underneath skirt layer in a lighter shade of red.  That should look nice.  Again, I probably would have been better able to see if I had coloured the illustration in all those options, but I am going to go with my gut instinct, and just go with my last choice explained above :)

– The bust area will need princess seams to get a nicer shape.  The bust area will also need 2 layers of fabric.  The outer layer will be fused, and inner (not fused) layer will act as lining (just like the waist panels).  I will then add 3rd layer on the top of those two layers, which will be draped by gathering it at the top.  Design detail :)

– Straps will be gathered at the front, where they are attached to the bust panels.  This way when the knot is added on top of the stitch line that connects the bust panel and the strap, it will look natural.  Meaning the gathers will look natural.  Watch the upcoming pattern and draping posts, to see how this is done.

– Straps will be flat at the back and be inserted into the back panel

– This will have 2 or 3 layers.  If I go with 2 layers, then the layer on the outside will be fused on the underneath.  And the underneath layer will not have the fusing.
If the white fusing shows through upper red organza, a 3rd layer might need to be added to keep the red Red.  This is because the fusing normally doesn’t come in red colour.  I will then choose the fusing colour which will least show under the layers, so I will choose white rather than the black.


– Invisible zipper at the center back
YAY!  Exciting!  Ready to start on the pattern next.  Woohoo!

Keep checking back for my further progress :)


28 Nov, 2015

Hello and welcome to Follow my Progress page.

Follow my Progress is a progressive event in which you can follow how I go about creating a fancy and well constructed cocktail dress, simply from an idea created in my mind.

I will be updating this page as I progress on the project, with older posts being pushed further down.

Please feel free to ask questions if there was something that you wanted me to explain more in detail.  I would be more than happy to do so! :)

You can comment, ask questions, make a joke, and just simply interact with others around you here.  Perhaps you are working on a project yourself and can meet someone here that you will be able to collaborate with, so feel  free and share your thoughts here.

In addition, I would love to hear your suggestions and advice, so PLEASE feel free to express yourself :)

. . . . . . . . . . .
We begin the project here! :)

With X-Mass approaching, I wanted to wear something special for the X-Mass dinner.
Something that would go with the theme, in terms of colours, but that I could wear again.
So instead of buying a Miss Clause outfit, I have decided to make a beautiful cocktail dress myself.  Something that will fit Me correctly, as per My body shape and not the Ready-to-Wear which is an “average” body shape if I can call it that.

So here it goes.

X-Mass dinner is on the 24th December, which means that I have 26 days to make my dress.  That is exactly 3 weeks and 5 days.
The countdown begins!  Exciting! :)

Considering that I run a business . . . between that, my somewhat “interesting” personal life and my much needed beauty sleep, I will need to develop a schedule to follow so that I can finish my dress in time.

Preferably, I’d like to complete the dress 5 days before the event, so that I can feel comfortable that the dress is ready and I can focus on other “priorities” in life, such as . . finding a husband :) . . . so if you know anyone that knows anyone that is a decent gentleman, please post his photo below :)   (kidding)  :)

The dress should do that ;)

These are the tasks, in order, that I will need to do to complete my cocktail dress.
In the next post, I will decide on the dates for each of the points below.

1. Sort through illustrations from the past.  There are beautiful parts of my collection from 10 years ago that have never been actualized in my boutique, due to specific reasons at that time.  I will choose one illustration which I feel will best suit me for this event, and make me the star of the show . . . slash dinner :)

2. Update the illustration in terms of details, as my taste from a decade ago has possibly changed  :o

3.  Decide on colours of the dress and also the fabrics, then colour the illustration to get the visual, and finalize.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
That was the fun/easy part!  Now, let’s get more technical :)

4.  Think of technicalities for production purpose.  Where will the zipper go;  how will the garment base be constructed;  where will the seams go, etc.

5.  Note down all the necessary materials needed for the dress.

6.  Start by making the full dress in sample fabric.
Because I want it to be absolutely perfect and no alterations needed on the actual fabric.
Therefore, draft the block base, sew up the block base in sample fabric, try it on and pin or mark with pen the adjustments, translate those corrections on the drafted block base, recut the corrected pattern (if there were major alterations) and sew up again, and then finalize the base.

7.  Drape parts that need draping, sew up the rest of the dress as if it were made of real fabric, make necessary adjustments for the draped part and correct the pattern draft (if needed).  If necessary, recut the corrected pattern (that was draped) and finalize the garment.  Otherwise, if I feel comfortable, I will move on to step 8 below.

8.  Purchase necessary materials.

9.  Cut the final pattern and start putting it together.

10.  Add any final details that might be needed, since visualizing a garment and having it actually in front of you stitched, may slightly differ.

11.  Give the dress a final press, place it on a hanger and in a garment bag, and in the closet to wait for the special day :)


. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
For my next step, in the next post, I will choose the dates of how to progress with the above.

Join me tomorrow and help me choose my Dress-in-progress dates :)
Feel free to make any suggestions below in the comments :)

Good night for now and speak tomorrow :)

Follow my Progress (1)


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