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Self Drafted Dress

My name is Ruby and I have come back to my sewing roots more recently as part of my sustainable fashion journey. Making my own clothes is a way for me to combat the current climate of fast fashion.
When I was invited to become part of the Minerva Maker team my first thought was excitement followed closely by trepidation, I haven’t written anything since my degree, some 10 plus years ago…so lets see how this goes!
I like to self draft my own patterns or take patterns from clothes I already own and know fit me. In fact I don’t think I’ve ever bought a modern pattern. I had already drafted the pattern for this dress  the week before, so was ready to go as soon as the fabric arrived. When taking on a bigger project such as this I usually head to my mums, she has a whole sewing room, with a large workbench and industrial overlocker. It is also great to have someone to help pin, iron and bounce ideas off.
I’ve had this dress idea in my head for a while and as soon as I saw this gorgeous Atelier Brunette Viscose Challis Fabric I knew it was perfect. I like working with viscose as it is stable enough to be easy to work with like cotton but also has some weight to it so it hangs well on the body, it has the swish factor! I love the print on this viscose a mash up of 80s, paint splatter and pebbles, I can’t really tell what it is but I knew I had the perfect mother of pearl buttons that I wanted to use with it. Mine were vintage but Minerva has some really similar ones here.
When working with viscose I like to overlock all the pattern pieces as soon as they are cut out as they often have a tendency to fray as you work with them, it can also give you a neater, straighter edge if your cutting is a bit wobbly, which mine often is. Actually this tip works for any fabric, but especially the finer, lightweight ones.
The pattern was quite simple to put together, with just a few darts in the bodice and no fitting in the skirt, just free over the hips. At first I was going to add a button stand with a separate pattern piece, but in the end I went for a facing with top stitching. As the fabric had a nice dark base colour, and busy pattern and my stitching was navy you can’t see my wobbly top stitching which is handy. Another tip which I knew of but didn’t follow is to put a bit of masking tape as a guide on the sewing machine to run the fold against to get straight topstitching…next time!
I also had to tackle my nemesis, the button hole! I hate doing them, they stress me out. If I can do a zip, a hook and eye, a bow, anything else, I will do. But for the look I wanted, buttons was the only way to go. Luckily my trusty Bernina has a button hole setting, I started at the bottom, if I messed up those it wouldn’t matter so much, and by the time I got to the waist and neck I was a pro. Not really sure what I was so worried about. Some aren’t perfect, but the buttons cover them up.
Another very important feature that I wanted to include in all my creations is pockets! Women’s clothes are seriously lacking in pockets, so if I make my own clothes I can add big, functional pockets to all of them.
I couldn’t decide on a length for the dress, so I’ve gone for on the knee and I’m gonna see how I feel after wearing it for a while as I can always shorten it if needed. What does everyone else think?
Thanks to Minerva for the beautiful fabric and thanks everyone for reading
Ruby @raccoontail

Comments (5)

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Deepti K said:

Really lovely dress and I am in awe of your ability to draft your own patterns. For some time I am also planning to sew something similar but no shirt dress pattern seemed good. If you ever publish the patter I would love to lap it. Thanks · 27th Oct 2019 05:23pm

Ruby Rose said:

Thanks so much for your compliemnst, so lovely to hear. I think it would take more skill than I have and alot of time to produce at pattern for this. But if I ever do I'll let you know · 27th Oct 2019 09:57am

Valerie Corke said:

I am an experienced dress maker but have never drafted my own patterns so am in awe! · 27th Oct 2019 08:16am

Valerie Corke said:

Dress looks lovely and the length looks perfect. I am an experience · 27th Oct 2019 08:15am

jill dyson said:

love the pattern, would like to make this style. Why are there not more modern patterns around to encourage people to sew?? if it ever gets printed please let me know. · 24th Oct 2019 03:51pm