Tag Archives: Sew in Brighton

The mysterious art of pattern-cutting

Dress design ideas. Comments welcome!

Dress design ideas. Comments welcome!

I’m looking forward to the City and Guilds Lion Awards Ceremony, which is held for all the Medals for Excellence winners at the Roundhouse in London in June.

There’s just one teeny weeny problem. The invitation states that the dress code is ‘glamorous and stylish’. Most women would see that as a wonderful excuse to go shopping. But let’s be brutally frank here; I’m definitely not a ‘glamorous and stylish’ shape! I tend to treat clothes shopping as a commando-raid. (Pause outside for last-minute pep-talk: balaclavas on: synchronise watches: then On the Command: In, grab, out!). What clothes designers just don’t seem to understand is that it is no good at all just scaling a design up from small to – er – not so small. How can I put this politely? Larger women will know just what I mean when I say that our proportions just aren’t the same as for as slim women! I start to send out distress signals from the changing rooms: ‘Emergency! Emergency! Please rescue me’. Just when I finally manage to squeeze into something that seems to have no method of getting back out of it, someone turns the changing-room thermostat to turkey-roasting, and I have to get OUT. RIGHT. NOW.

Instead, I’ve decided to design, make and embroider something myself, replacing ‘glamorous and stylish’ with ‘colourful and fun’. The idea is that that way it should fit, there’s no shopping-trauma involved, and it would be fun to wear some textile art. The designs above are a vague general idea, kind of Indian-inspired. I couldn’t find a paper pattern that I like and I have no idea how to make a customised pattern, so I’ve been for two pattern-cutting sessions with Kat at ‘Sew in Brighton’. In two sessions we had made a ‘pattern-block’ and customised it with a sweetheart neckline, princess seams and flared skirt panels. I was quite dumbfounded by the clever tweaking and manipulating. Cool! Problem solved! Except that having made up a rough trial version yesterday in an old dust-sheet, it looked suspiciously like a hospital gown. DH commented that the issue may be that I’m just not the same shape as the drawings of the fantasy dress. He’s living dangerously! Yes, yes, I know I’ve drawn the designs as a size 10. Go on, be my friend, indulge me!

I haven’t abandoned the idea of making a dress, but it’s in the balance. I thought that if I put it here in a post, that would be a way to call my own bluff because then I’d have to get on with it. (I reserve the right to completely back-track on this premature and rash post, and to shuffle off to the shops instead). Any comments or observations on the designs gratefully received!