Wednesday, August 14, 2013

confetti dress - drafting the pattern

I loved making this dress, and I really want everyone else to love it too, so I decided to write a tutorial to make your own Confetti Dress.  I will provide a free size 2T pattern tomorrow, but for those of you who might want another size, I will show you how to draft your own pattern :)

Edited to add - the FREE size 2T pattern is now available.  Just click on the picture below :)

This pattern is for a cute one piece dress that looks like a peplum top and a separate skirt.  It isn't as complicated as my first version, but I really like this one better for every day wear.  The dress pulls on over the head and fastens in back with a single button.  You almost can't see it under Mae's curls, but trust me, it's really there :)

The first step to drafting the pattern is to find a basic bodice pattern that fits well.  If you don't have a bodice pattern, I recommend this one or this one (free!), or you can follow this tutorial that shows you how to draft a basic bodice.  Update: You can now get my free bodice pattern here. My pattern is one that I drafted myself to accommodate Mae's shape.  She is a skinny little thing with small shoulders and a narrow back, and most bodice patterns have too deep armholes and too wide shoulders, so this pattern is more of a tank style with narrow shoulders, and the armholes are cut so they don't gape at all.  You also need to make sure that the bodice is made long enough to hit the true waist and not an empire style.  Both of the links above fall to the true waist and will work as a base for this pattern.  If you draft your own pattern, just measure your child from the nape of the neck to her waist and use that number + seam allowances as the measurement for the length of the bodice.  Just for reference, I use 3/8" seam allowances for this entire tutorial.  Here are my beginning pattern pieces:

1.  Start with the front bodice piece. Attach your original (or a copy of the original) pattern to a larger piece of paper.  Or you can just be like me and tape a couple pieces of computer paper together and call it good :)  Make sure to line up the center edge and the bottom of the armhole - where the red arrows are pointing.  I outlined the original pattern in blue for the rest of the pictures to make the edges easier to see.

2. Draw a line parallel to the original bodice from one end of the paper to the other - shown with red arrow.  For the size 2T, I drew the line 4" down.  This distance will be the width of the peplum portion of the dress in the final pattern.

3. Make a mark along the line you just drew about half the length of your child's waist measurement + seam allowances.  For example, if your child's waist is 22" mark the pattern 11 3/4" (22"/2 + 3/8" + 3/8") from the edge. I know this picture doesn't show it well, but I measured from the other end of the paper (where the bodice lines up with the end of the paper).  The mark for size 2T is 9 1/2" from the edge.

4.  Draw a straight line from the edge of the armhole to the mark you just made in step 3 as shown in the picture below.

4b.  This picture just shows the beginning of the aline pattern that is needed for this dress :)

5. Draw a straight line to the edge of the paper that lines up with the bottom edge of the bodice - the line the red arrow is pointing to.  Now you need to make two measurements.  Both of them are along the line drawn in step 4.  The first measurement is the distance from the bottom of the sleeve to the line you just drew - just for reference, it is the 5 3/8" notation in the picture below.  The second measurement is from the bottom of the bodice to the new line drawn in step 2, or 4 1/4" in the picture below.  If you are making a different size or have a bigger/smaller peplum, then your measurement will be different than mine.

6. Transfer the measurements from the last step over to the center edge of the bodice pattern.  Make two marks along the edge.  Use the picture below as a guide.  Arrow #1 matches the first measurement in the last step, and arrow #2 matches the second measurement.  I wrote all my measurements on the pattern just in case you need a reference.  This is not very easy to describe, so I'm hoping the picture help :)

7. I honestly don't even know how to describe where the curved lines need to be drawn in this step.  Please reference the picture and draw the curves shown with the red arrows.  This step is really important because the curved lines help the peplum and the hem hang evenly.

8.  In this step I just made notes on my pattern.  The top curved line is the cutting line for the bodice lining, and the bottom curve is for the main bodice fabric and includes the peplum.

9. Cut out the front bodice pattern.  Then repeat the steps for the back bodice.  On the back bodice be sure to take into account the center closure called for in your pattern when measuring the distance in step 3.

9b. I included a picture here of both of my bodice pieces for the size 2T just in case you want to see what they look like when finished.

10. I also added some notes to the back pattern piece. Although you don't need to make all of these notations, they are helpful.  I always need to remind myself where to cut and I often like to use pattern pieces for multiple projects.  For example, this pattern piece could be used with a back button placket, or I can fold the pattern along the solid line for a keyhole opening like the confetti dress calls for.  The marks on the left of the pattern will make more sense once you are following the sewing tutorial.  I promise :)

Tomorrow I will be back with the sewing tutorial and the free size 2T pattern :)

p.s. please forgive any typos or mistakes found in the directions above.  I spent the evening at the mall with my kids (all 6 of them!) trying to do some back-to-school clothes and shoe shopping and my brain is fried :)