making a sheath dress out of about a yard of fabric
A couple of years ago, one of the clothing lofts in the Garment District was selling what seeemed to me to be the cutest skirt on the planet. It was a stretch cotton poplin a-lined skirt with a huge graphic print of a martini. It was adorable, but didn't come in my size.
A few months later I found a similar, but smaller print also in a stretch cotton poplin. I bought two yards, and last summer, made myself an a-lined knee length skirt out of one yard of it. The other yard was just waiting for inspiration to hit. I had assumed that inspiration would come in the way of a matching top. Instead inspiration came in a new ( for me) way of thinking about cutting a sheath dress.
My normal method of cutting a sheath dress, is to cut the front and the back as seperate pieces. Sometimes only the back or the front is seamed, and sometimes, both for additional shaping possibilities. As I lay my fabric out on my kitchen floor to cut, with another dress over the fabric as my cutting guide, I decided to cut the front and the back in one piece, the way vests are sometimes cut out, so there are no side seams but only shoulder seams.
I cut the back seam with curves that match mine. I have cut out enough dresses to guesstimate the right curve. I then folded both layers of fabric in half lengthwise at the underarm and cut a fish eye dart for the sides of my waist. I unfolded the fabric, and then refolded it with the fold running about 1/4 of the way in on the front. I cut two more eye shaped vertical darts for my front waist.
I sewed up the shoulder seams, the side seams and the darts, and then tried the dress on.The darts needed refining. They all poked out a little funny. But the fit of the dress was awfully close without very much fussing. A yard or so resulted in a dress for my not skinny body.
The dress was actually a bit short for my taste. I added a circular ruffle out of a rayon cotton blend red/pink wavy strip. I guess the stripe can serve as cautionary warning on what happens when you imbibe too many of the cocktails depicted on the rest of the dress. I still need to play with the neckline a bit.
I don't usually think of myself as particularly good at engineering garments. This feels like a huge leap forward for me.