As you will come to learn, I did not have time to create a toile (fit sample), I drafted and cut straight into my good fabric! Keep reading to learn about some of my process and the things I learned!
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Other essential elements include french darts on the front bodice, CB (center back) invisible zipper, in-seam pocket on the left pant only, fully lined bodice, over-locked seam finishes and hand stitched hem finishes. Looking back, this is quite the complex garment.
Before I started drafting the pleats for the side panel, I tested a series of 4 small pleats on a sample fabric. This gave me an idea of the proportions and if the fabric I had in mind could even be pressed into my ideal pleat formation. I would recommend testing out your intended pleats on your correct fabric prior to drafting and cutting your pattern pieces.
A total of 10 pleats were involved in the side panel. It took approximately 5 hours to mark, press and thread baste each pleat into place. The pleats needed to be basted into place because they where travelling across the world.
What We Learned!
- Hem the fabric of the pleated panel prior to pressing in pleats.
- Shift french dart into a side dart instead. Sewing on the 45 (bias of fabric) really stretched out the dart seam and made the dart point not land in an ideal position. OR Stabilize the seam allowance along the dart seam prior to sewing to ensure to stretching of the fabric.
- The armhole was dropped by 1/4" to allow for movement in the armhole. An additional 1/8" would need to be drafted in the next version to better ease of movement.
- High neckline is nice, but slightly too tight. Open up neckline by approx 1/2" front and back. Or play around with the idea of a much larger neckline.
- Bodice was flat pattern drafted from a size 6 block. I have a shorter upper torso, so I did not remove enough excess vertically. Going forward, I will need to remove approximately 1 1/8" excess from the front and 1 5/8" excess from the back.
Designed, photographed and written by Sheila Wong Studios