I promised I’d post about how I modified my latest version of the Truffle dress. I made several changes, including: (1) raising the neckline, (2) changing the the shape of the skirt, (3) adding a waistband, and (4) changing the darts on the skirt front.
Modified Original Pattern (but without front drape)
I also drafted facings and installed a full lining, but I think that deserves it’s own post, and I didn’t take any pictures of the construction process. 😦 So more on that another day. For now, I’ll outline how I went about each of the four changes below. But with the caveat that I don’t really know what I’m doing here, and this may not be the “right” way to do things. 🙂 I follow the “if it works, it’s right” school of thought. So this is what worked for me.
Raising the Neckline
This was simple. I decided I wanted the neckline to be higher than the original pattern. I simply took my pattern, marked a point above the center front, and used a curved ruler to draw the new line. I made sure the first 1/2″ of the new line was at a 90 degree angle to the center front. I did this to prevent my neckline from getting a v-shape. Here’s what my pattern looked like. The red line was the original neckline.
*Note – I retrace my pattern pieces when I make design changes. That way I can always go back to my earlier versions if I want to. I get my tracing paper at the art supply store. It comes in a big wide roll, is inexpensive, and lasts me a long time.
Straightening the skirt
I wanted a straighter skirt, so I measured down to the fullest part of my hips, and then drew in new side seams. Here’s a (not to scale) illustration of what I did. The red line became the new cutting line. (I did this to both front and back skirt pieces.)
I also lengthened the skirt by about 2 inches. Since the skirt didn’t have as much walking ease, I added a back vent by following Sunni’s tutorials.
Adding a Waistband
I didn’t want to belt my holiday dress, but still wanted a defined waist. A built-in waistband seemed to be the answer. I thought a 1 inch waistband would be about right.
First, I drew a cutting line 1 5/8″ from the bottom edge of my pattern. You could make a wider waistband, just make sure to include the 5/8 seam allowance in your measurement.
I cut along the red line.
Then on the waistband piece, I closed the dart legs. I cut on the green line on the left and lined it up with the blue line on the right, and taped it together.
Then I smoothed out the top, and I added a 5/8″ seam allowance to the top of the waistband piece AND the bottom of the bodice piece. (Hint: Mark which side of your waistband piece is the top, to avoid confusion later.)
This is what my actual pattern pieces look like:
I did the same thing for the back bodice pieces. When I constructed the dress, I sewed the bodice darts, then sewed the waistband to the bodice pieces. Then I constructed the rest of the dress according to the pattern instructions.
Adding Two Darts to Skirt Front
I got this idea from the pencil skirt pattern in Gertie’s book. I love how those double darts look. Also when I was searching for inspiration for my holiday dress, I saw a lot of vintage dresses with double darts or pleats.
I knew I didn’t want to just add a second dart because the skirt might get too tight. I thought of dividing the original dart in two, but I was worried the darts would be too small. (Although it probably would have worked fine.) So I decided to add a little ease into the skirt front, so I could then pinch it back out in the new dart.
First I marked the seam allowance on my front skirt piece. Then I drew a vertical line to the right of the original dart, where I wanted my second dart to be.
I slashed through the purple line, all the way to the bottom, but left a little hinge.
Then I spread the pattern open just a little bit and taped it. I added 1/4 inch (measuring at the seam line.)
Next I drew in my new dart legs. I wanted the new dart to be longer than the original, so I marked the dart point 1/2 inch below where the original one was marked. I made the dart 5/8 inch wide, measuring at the seam line.
Then I re-drew the dart legs on the original dart, so that the dart was also 5/8″ wide (at the seam line).
My math skills aren’t great, but this is what i figured out: the original dart width was 1 inch (measured at the seam line). I added 1/4 inch by slashing and spreading. Then I divided the total dart amount in half, and made two 5/8 inch wide darts.
Here’s my actual pattern piece:
I really love the result!
So, there you have it. I have really enjoyed customizing this pattern, and I’m sure it won’t be the last time. I’m already plotting a version with princess seams!