Playing with ideas

This past High Holiday season  a woman I know slightly was wearing a really chic sleeveless glen plaid dress. I loved the mix of the girly yet tailored cut, with the men’s wear fabric. A length of glen plaid came into my life recently.  It may have arrived as part of a mystery bundle. I don’t know the fiber content. I haven’t done a burn test. It has a nice feel and a nice drape. This book mentioned here, A New Addition to My Sewing Library, had such terrific directions for piecing bias yardage that I have been getting into creating bias yardage whenever I can. I love bias cut clothing because of the natural stretch they have. Also a plaid on the bias is always cooler than going the regular way.

I thought that I would make a sleeveless cowl necked dress. I used this dress The Most Boring Dress in the World as my starting point. If you are obsessed with pattern drafting you would know that the cowl needs to be wider than the actual neckline so there will be enough extra fabric to create a cool drape effect.  If you obsessively study  pattern drafts you would know that  a cowl necked top usually show the upper part of the bodice curving away from the center line to create the additional fabric you need to create the bias. I decided to do a cheat and just bend my boring dress to what I thought might be the right shape and then cut that outer curve, keeping the center line the same. My dress front was then cut out.
I then realized that I had to piece the fabric that was left if I wanted my dress to have both a back and a front. The glen plaid is delightfully forgiving. I was even able to match the plaid without much effort.  I cut the back the same as the front, using the  dress front as the pattern for the back. No, my back and front are not the same, but I planned to add fish-eye darts at the front waist.

I sewed up the side seams, finished the raw edge of the cowl and then used a trick I had learned from a Japanese sewing magazine, and turned the cowl to the inside of the dress, twist it a bit and then stitch it to the arm holes. It is much harder to describe than to do. I edged the armholes with black grosgrain. Then I added two waist darts. I let the dress hand overnight and then hemmed it today. I had to take in the side seams a bit. I love the dramatic neckline.

Despite being inspired by the dress I saw on the High Holidays, it really doesn’t look all that much like the dress I had admired. i t will be nice to wear to synagogue with a black or grey cardi.


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