Sunday, June 9, 2013

Princess Diaries

When the weather is nice in Paris, the city positively sparkles. The best way to celebrate hazy days of summer is by wearing this year's must have wardrobe item: the dress. Trends now favor looser styles that float and shimmy along with warm summer breezes. With that in mind, we'd like to introduce you to a regal look: the princess-line dress.

A favorite look of the 1960's, this is a graceful silhouette that traces the curves of the body with seams instead of darts. We can also introduce as much or as little fullness down from the hips to create a flirty, bouncy or even slinky effect, depending on the design, the time of day or the fabric.

We begin with the basic bodice. Trace onto graph paper. Make a line from the tip of the dart to the mid-point of the shoulder line (a). In reality, we could make this line to the mid-armhole or the midpoint along the side seam. But today I have chosen to make my princess line extend from the shoulder. Cut along this line just shy of the bust point. Tape the CF along a vertical line on the graph paper. Cut half the waist dart away, then swing the left side of the front bodice to close. This will create an opening at the shoulder where you slashed the pattern (b). Draw arrows indicating the straight of the grain (very important) on both the bodice part which is closest to the CF line (now the "Front Bodice") and draw another arrow that runs along the vertical lines of the graph paper on the piece closest to the side (now the Side Front). Cut away what's left of the waist dart. The front bodice is now in two parts.

Tape down CB of the back bodice along a vertical line of the graph paper. Make a line from the tip of the back waist dart to the mid-point of the shoulder. Be sure you draw a straight of the grain arrow next to the CB. as well as on the other side of the dart near the side seam line. Cut along the slash line. Cut away your dart completely, close and tape shut. You now have two pieces to your back bodice: the Back Bodice and the Side Back Bodice. You can add seam allowance to these pieces if you intend to use this draft as a separate top or as a bodice for a dress that has a skirt detail.

Today, however, we want to create a princess line dress. For that we will need to prepare the basic skirt bodice. Trace off onto graph paper. From the tip of the waist dart, draw a vertical line down to the hem. Cut away your dart. Label each part and be sure to indicate the straight of the grain arrows. Repeat for the back pattern.

I want a flare skirt so, at the points where the dart tip was on each point, I swing the side of the skirt in identical amounts. In the case of the purple dress, this is 1/2 inch at each point. (The blue dress is only 1/4 inch). The front and the back skirt panels only swing out on one side. The side front and the side back swing out on both sides.

We will now take the draft of the bodice and, one by one, tape each piece to the individual skirt draft. Tape bodice front to skirt front, bodice side front to skirt side front, etc. Line up the CF of the front skirt and bodice along the vertical of your graph paper. Same thing for the CB. For the other pieces, try to center the pieces while respecting the straight grain of both the bodice and the skirt. In some cases they might not line up well at the waist. You will draw a smooth curve that blends the top to the bottom. With this draft, you are working with quite a few pieces so you should indicate the side seams on your patterns so as not to be confused later.

You can alter the look of this pattern by introducing as much fullness or as much length as you'd like. Try a strapless version by cutting the top of the pattern away from armhole to armhole.

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  1. good job and God bless u, can I use this patterns to make clothes for my self? Pls

    1. Thank you again. All of the doll patterns are based on traditional pattern drafting methods so yes, you could make this pattern for yourself provided you first create slopers (basic blocks) using your own measurements. For instructions as to how and where to measure yourself, see "Block Club: Upper East Side" (02/14/2013) and "Block Club: Downtown" (02/16/2013) posted here on this blogsite.


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