My sewing student showed up this afternoon, delighted by her success with her top and raring to make a dress. She found a chartreuse knit in my stash, from a knit bundle from http://www.fabricmartfabrics.com/. (The actual color is less bright than the more stridently colored photo but brighter than the darker photo.) My student thought that it would look terrific made up into a dress with a woven bodice.
The rational part of me was thinking, this kid has had maybe eight sewing lessons. I have never done such a thing. And it isn't an easy thing to figure out. Maybe this isn't the best idea in the world. I warned my student that this will be hard and that if I were a normal sort of a sewing teacher I would say no to this idea which is probably past her current skills.
My student, though was undaunted. First I had to figure out how to engineer a woven bodice. Thankfully, my student was willing to have just the front of the bodice be woven. She was also ready for the weaving to be an overlay on the bodice. This way we could weave raw ( unfinished) strips of the knit rather than first having to make the strips of fabric up into tubes, to then be woven.
She cut strips across the width of the fabric ( a skill she had learned last time) and after getting her brain around the physics of the task at hand, wove the panel. And yes, it was hard. And yes, My student complained about how hard it was. I kept reminding her that it was her idea, and she would reply, "Yes, it is hard, but it will look so cool."
As a rule I detest using pins, but this was clearly a job that called for pinning. One of my dislikes of pins is sewing over them and the danger of flying bits of broken needles. I think I terrified my student into NOT sewing over the pins ( " I think your mother will be really pissed if I sent you home blind.", and I loved her reply " Never mind my mother, I will be really pissed!" )
She managed to not sew over any of the pins. Both of her eyes are thankfully, intact. But after the weaving and then the stress of being so careful, at that point, both of us had tired brains and decided to stop sewing for the day..
My student noticed a mis-weaving in the panel, but decided to leave it. I noticed as I was taking the photo of the panel, that the woven panel is not rectangular but is Vee shaped. Actually, that is probably more flattering than a rectangular panel. A case of "Let's pretend that we actually meant to do it that way to begin with."
This dress will have just one seam--in the center back. I have to figure out the mechanics of the rest of the dress. I suppose that it is possible to use a pattern, but you certainly do use more parts of your brain if you problem solve your way through dress making.