Pattern mutation

12Jan11

This is the story of how I started off with a pattern for an elegant evening dress and ended up with something out of Star Trek.

Below is the line art for Burda 114-11-2010, which was the starting point for my second attempt to reduce my fabric stash over the Christmas holidays. The original is made in cream silk satin with one shiny and one matt side. The main body of the dress uses the shiny side as the right side, and the little inserts at the shoulders use the matt side.

I really like the idea but silk satin isn’t exactly a practical fabric, and I certainly don’t have any hanging around in my stash. About the only double-sided fabric I have is two metres of doubleknit which is blue on one side and orange on the other. So I figured it would just become a somewhat more casual dress.

Rather than using the Burda pattern, which is drafted for wovens, I got out McCalls 2401. I have previously made this one up in a similar weight doubleknit. It’s a basic sheath dress with sleeve and neckline variations. The darts are a bit different to the Burda pattern but not in a way that makes any difference to the shoulders. It also doesn’t have a slit in the centre back seam, but I don’t think that would work in doubleknit anyway.

I traced a copy with a round neck and long sleeves, and then drafted the insets by drawing what looked like roughly the right line on my pattern pieces, cutting the inset piece off, and adding seam allowances to both sides. I eliminated the shoulder seam on the inset piece.

I started off aiming for this combination of colours:

so the dress was already looking nothing like the original, but when I got to the point of trying on it looked a bit boring and much too long. I pinned the hem up and tried pinning on bits of orange trim in various places.

The orange round the neck is a bit too much in real life, so I’m going for the one with the hem band and cuffs. I have a nagging feeling I’ve reinvented a costume from some 1970s science fiction tv show though. It couldn’t be a lot further from the original! Tune in on Sunday for pictures, UK weather permitting.




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