Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Emerald Dragon Dress

Between making a dress from a piece of fabric and a pattern and re-making a RTW one, what would you chose? My answer comes without any hesitation. No, I don't need to think about it! I absolutely hate re-making RTW clothes. Unless the garment you have was made for a whale and you can place your pattern pieces on large cuts of fabrics, re-styling just doesn't work for me. What is does is frustrate, annoy and disappoint me.

I love the comfort of following the pattern piece line, transferring the chalk line to the fabric, knowing it is likely to guide me to a beautiful result! And that is why I am really determined to create sets of made to measure sloper patterns to use for those I sew for. 

Chantelle went to a local Special K Charity Dress sale, here in Gorey last Saturday and picked and bought herself her first ever dress.  I wasn't even around to influence anything. (sigh…) She is almost 12 and she is becoming a woman, my little baby.
So back to the dress: classic chinese traditional cheongsam dress in a beautiful emerald brocade with golden dragons. Dragons are very special subjects for me and her: not only we both were born in the year of a Dragon, but also due to Chantelle's never ending obsessions with dragons, dinosaurs and all similar creatures.  She draws them, she writes short stories about them, she now wants to wear them.

A little hiccup- the dress was VERY big- XXXL, even for asian standards it is a large size. Both of us are size 8 (UK), so we had to re-make it to smaller size. It also had a little stain on the left of the chest, so if I wanted to keep that beautiful traditional fastening and a collar, I had to turn the top part of the dress into a yoke. So I ripped all the nessesary seams- sleeves, sides, darts- pressed everything and cut the dress over the bust line in a slighly curved shape in the front and straight accross under the shoulder blades at the back.

There is a beautiful piping along all hems, so I just measured the wanted length of the bottom pieces and cut them, leaving the back slightly longer than the front.

I added two darts in the front and two knife pleats are running about 30cm down from the yoke at the back, taking in some of the fullness of the fabric.
Personally I love more fitted look, but Chantelle insisted on the straight colomn-ish shape, as she thought it looks more traditional, so I just didn't argue.

As there was no pattern, I cut the armhole approximately where it should be. Note for the future- get your sloper patterns done for those kind of alterations- it would have saved me so much grief. I used the longest stitch on my machine to baste the sleeves in and then pinned them in place, where they seemed to belong, slightly pressing the edges. This served me as a guide to set the sleeves a little better. Yet I still would have taken a pattern to use- it could save me the frustration!

Chantele is very happy, although, using the words of the man of the house, "in this country, you can only wear it while serving food in a chinese restaurant" LOL He is kind of right, nobody wears things like that over here, general dress sence is not very versatile, unfortunately... Too bad though, because it really looks cute on her, maybe she should wear it for her birthday- she is 12 and it is the year of a DRAGON after all!

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  1. She does look cute!  Why not wear it just for fun?

  2. I guess this is the only excuse ))))))) and chinese new year!!!! LOL


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