So once upon a time during my junior year of college I was walking home from an afternoon class, you know just minding my own business and such. I decided to mildly dress up that day because it was nice out and because why not. I had on a high-waisted skirt that I had belted, and some top of which I don't quite remember. But anyway, I had almost gotten back to my apartment when I crossed the path of some younger children (by children, I mean like.... freshmen who were only a year or two younger than me) who were sitting on a roof yelling things at people. When I walked by, one girl looked at me and kind of scrambled to say "You look like a librarian." And all I could think to say back was, "Yes. Thanks. That's what I was going for."(because to be honest, I probably really was going for that) Then I smiled and continued on my way while she gave me the most condescending, bewildered look.
The reason why this throws me off is because I genuinely don't know... was that supposed to be an insult? A compliment? An observation? I take it as a compliment, but I think she was trying to offend me. Considering the fact that I lived at the library (No joke. Slept there, brushed my teeth there, you know, normal stuff) I take that to be a certain degree of praise.
Where was I even going with this story? We just don't know.
Oh, it has something to do with this dress I made:
That's right kids, I have finally made my first completely self-drafted dress. It was kind of an adventure since I've never gone fully pattern-less on a dress before, but I'm so stoked about the final outcome. It's like... If I was genuinely a stereotypical librarian like that girl had said, this would be my prefect dress. Hands down. Care to see how I made it? Then read on: (Prepare for an image heavy post, yo.)
After poking around the internet for a while and looking at some other patterns that I had, I found out that I needed a few different measurements to make the bodice. (Do you like my jank drawn on measurements here? Can you tell I went to art school yet?) They were:
1. How far I wanted the neck to come down
2. Width of the strap
3. Armpit hole length. I'm sure that there is a more technical term for this.
4. Bust divided by 4
5. Waist divided by 4 (which actually, I ended up just keeping the same length as my bust and fit it with darts later)
6. How far I wanted the bodice to come down
To all of these measurements, I added on seam allowance too, just because I was super paranoid about everything being too small.
For the skirt, I just used a circle skirt pattern that I had made for a previous project. If you've never made a circle skirt before, I've posted about it here.
Once I had my patterns made, I began cutting them out of my fabric. The fabric I got for a totally awesome deal-- I found about three yards of it at the thrift store for some ludicrous amount like... four bucks or something. It just looks so 70's to me and I love it. But since I had so much fabric, I had enough to line the bodice as well. So, I cut two of these on the fold of the fabric, and four that were not on the fold of the fabric.
Since the fabric wasn't quite big enough to cut my entire circle skirt out as one piece, I traced the pattern twice on the fold to make my skirt.
To attach the skirt to the bodice, I also cut out a waistband which was about... idk... 5 inches by my waist measurement (plus and inch for seams).
Once I had everything cut out, I started the whole assembly process. I first pinned the front of my bodice pieces to their corresponding back panels just at the shoulders and sewed that down. I then used darts in both the front and the back to taper the bodice so that it fit my waist better. This involved a little math and pinning and unpinning the sides and trying it on to make sure I wasn't taking it in too much. Basically, I just wanted that bottom edge to be the same width as the waistband I cut out.
Next, I laid my pieces on top of one another right-sides together and made sure that everything lined up.
Once I was sure that everything lined up, I pinned down the armpit holes and neckline and sewed these together.
To turn the bodice right-side out again, I had to shove those back panels through that tiny opening that is the straps. I don't really know how to explain that, but does the picture kind of make sense? Basically, it was like the bodice had to give birth to itself.
But once I managed to deliver the top, it looked like this. So I lined up the sides and made sure that it looked fine in that regard.
To finish off the bodice, I had to do another thing that is kind of hard to explain. Instead of having raw, fuzzy edges on the inside, what I did was first pin just the two innermost layers together. This allowed me to open up the whole top, pin the outermost layers together, and sew the whole side seam as one straight line. I know that doesn't really make sense, but it's super hard to explain so hopefully the picture makes a bit of sense? Once that was done, all I did was topstitch the neckline and arm holes.
Once I tried on the bodice and made sure it fit, I attached the top to the bottom using my waistband piece, which I made nice looking by doing all my attaching on the inside of the dress.
The final step was just to pin in a zipper, make any last size adjustments with those pins, and then just sew the zipper in. I mean, there are still a few fit issues with this, but I'm still super stoked with the outcome. I didn't think that I'd ever trying making a dress completely from scratch, but here we are. What a time to be alive.
Dang roof girl, if only you could see me now...
So what do y'all think? Any advice on how I could do better for next time? Any advice on pattern-making is MORE than welcome because I am still such a novice.