Wednesday, August 28, 2013

colorblock dress - drafting the pattern

I hope you all had fun coloring yesterday and today!  If you have no idea what I'm talking about take a look at this post and then grab your own coloring sheet by clicking on the picture below :)

Now on to the pattern drafting!  The first step is to have a basic bodice pattern handy.  You can get my version (sizes 18 months - 5T) here or you can use any bodice pattern that hits at the natural waist.  Just like I did with the Confetti Dress, I started by printing and assembling the front and back pattern pieces in the correct size.  Then I drew a line (shown in red on the pattern) where I wanted the color blocking to be, making sure that the lines are the same distance from the bottom of the pattern pieces (not the top!)  For placement, I knew I wanted it to fall somewhere slightly above  the bottom of the armscye.  I totally had to Google that word because all that would come to mind is arm scythe and that is a whole different world of search results :)

Then I cut the both pattern pieces on the lines.  I also made notations about where to add seam allowances and which of the new pieces was the back and which was the front.  I would hate to mix that up later, and knowing me, that is exactly what I would do :)  The one thing I did forget to add here, but you might want to, is that you need to cut two back pieces instead of cutting one on the fold.

Now you need to draft the cap sleeve pattern.  I took several pictures to try and make this easier, since I'm not sure I will be able to describe it very well with words.  First, take your new upper back and front bodice pieces and fold them down 3/8" along the shoulders.

Now join the two bodice pieces at the shoulder (a piece of tape works fine) and trace the armscye and bodice edges (as shown in the picture) on a new sheet of paper or whatever you use to trace patterns.

Next you need to add three lines to the pattern piece.  The first two lines need to be drawn 3/8" away from the two straight lines in the last step.  The third line just extends out from the shoulder seam on your bodice pattern and marks to center point of the sleeve.  Also label the back and front of the sleeve so the sleeve fits properly when you make the dress.

Extend the armscye curve on either side to meet to new lines you drew in the last step and make a mark at those points.  Also make a mark where the armscye meets the center line.  Now you need to measure 3/4" from the first two marks you made and make two more marks.  For the final mark you need to determine how wide you would like your finished cap sleeve to be (I wanted mine to be 1 1/2") and take that number and add 3/4" (seam allowances for the sleeve) and make one final mark along the center line.  My mark was 2 1/4" away from the armscye.

Draw a smooth curve from the top and bottom marks you made in the last step, making sure to go through the center mark as well.  I stopped at this point, but after constructing the dress, I realized that the areas shaded in yellow need to be added to the sleeve pattern piece.  Those little triangles (although they don't look like much) will make the dress much easier to sew.  Trust me, I found out the hard way :)

Now all you need to do is cut the cap sleeve pattern piece along dashed line and you are finished making the pattern pieces, except for the skirt which is not an actual pattern piece and will be explained in the nest step.

To determine the length of the skirt, I first figured out how wide I wanted the band along the bottom.  I wanted my band to be 3" for no other reason than it just felt like a good width :)  Then I did some math (those of you who who are groaning can stop now, it's rather easy math!)  I started with the skirt length given in the chart included with the basic bodice pattern (you may have to adjust this if you are using a different pattern) and I subtracted the included hem allowance of 2" (which I now realize is not written anywhere on the pattern ... I will need to fix that!)  Then I subtracted the width of the band and added the seam allowance needed to attach the band.  My final length for the skirt was 9 3/8" for the size 2T.  I also included notes reminding myself that I need one skirt piece 25" wide for the front and two skirt pieces 12.5" wide each for the back.

Tomorrow I will go over cutting the fabric and constructing/finishing the dress.  I hope to "see" you all then!

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