Remember this peacock feather print fabric? I’ve spent a lot of time staring at it over the last few days, trying to work out the best way to make a dress out of it. I swear I will be seeing peacock feather eyes in my sleep tonight.
I was originally attracted to the print by the very strong lines of mirror symmetry, which run along the crossgrain. The fabric selvedges are along the top and bottom of the picture below. I thought at first the print had repeats both vertically and horizonally. However if you look closely it turns out that the two rows of red medallion motifs in the picture are not identical, although you have to go a little way down from the motif to see the difference. Compare the six green eyes below each red circle. The ones from the top row are larger and spaced slightly differently to those in the middle row. So this is a frieze print rather than a wallpaper print.
(Image heavily manipulated in an attempt to get consistent contrast throughout)
The dress pattern I’m using is Burda 111-03-2010. I picked it because the front and back skirts and the bodice back are all cut on the fold, which interrupts the print as little as possible.
But how to place the pattern on the fabric? I wasn’t sure where to put the bold motifs. I tried sketching the dress on my croquis in the GIMP and laying that over my photos of the fabric. Here are two versions, one with a red medallion at the waist and one with the pink feather motif centred on the skirt front. I prefer the version on the right with the brighter colours are in the centre; it seems to highlight the symmetry of the design.
Of course cutting it out was a bit more complicated because I had to think about pattern placement on the sleeves as well as the skirt. Here’s what I ended up with (colours slightly enhanced).
I put the red medallions on the sleeves at the front. I’m hoping they’ll give an effect a bit like butterfly wings.
On the back I wanted the eye to be drawn to the top of the dress rather than my backside so I put the pink feathers on the bodice back and the red medallion just below the bodice seam; it should land on the small of the back.
The pattern won’t match up at all along the seams but it’s a busy enough print that it won’t matter, I hope.