This is a dress inspired entirely by a piece of fabric; it’s a silver and black striped jersey that Amy from Almond Rock kindly gave me at a swap. As soon as I saw it I knew it was destined for a copy of a Vivienne Westwood style I’ve been admiring for years. The original is a boat-necked kimono-sleeved t-shirt dress that plays with the grain of the fabric. There’s a gathered section at the waist and that’s about the only place the stripes are horizontal. The reason it’s taken a while to sew this up is having to make the pattern. Here it is.
Making the pattern didn’t go entirely smoothly. I started with the close-fitting jersey block from Metric Pattern Cutting for Women’s Wear by Winifred Aldrich and turned that into a kimono-sleeved t-shirt dress. Adding the gathers was just a case of slicing and spreading, but when I sewed the final pattern up it was quite a bit too large. I had to cut the side and shoulder seams down a lot. Easily done with the overlocker!
The back’s practically the same pattern piece as the front, just with a higher neckline. I should have spread the pattern a bit more and done more gathers; the grain changing effect is more subtle than I’d intended. There is a separate piece for the right front and left back sleeve which is cut on the regular grain. This adds some interest and also saves quite a lot of fabric! I had 2m of 150cm wide fabric, but there’s a piece left over.
I finished the neck and sleeves with bands. I’m coming to prefer that to twin needle hems; it’s easier to sew and produces a better effect with my machine. Twin needle hems always seem to tunnel. I should have made the neck band shorter than I did because it stands up a little at the back.
So this hasn’t turned out exactly as I intended but it’s certainly a wearable dress. And in some of my favourite colours too – thanks, Amy!