Sunday, May 19, 2013

Bias Dress

Hi everyone! (Sorry for hitting publish too early! I don't even know how it happened!)

Ok so I know I promised MeMadeMay pictures. but I'm having SO much trouble with my camera. I promise I'll have it by the end of this week!! REALLY!!

Anyway, I hope a sewn garment will be enough of a compensation!

This dress was copied inspired by a dress worn by Sarai in her discussion of the deterioration of garment making in the past decades.

Not only did the dress inspire me in itself, but Sarai opened my eyes when she pointed out that there is no such thing as mid range clothing anymore. Everything is made the quickest and the cheapest way possible. This is one of the reasons I love sewing, I actually know how well the garment is sewed (even though I can't say I'm always proud of my sewing, either. At least it's my fault though!) and I can make the extra effort of putting more details and better finishings to make my garment better than store bought.

Some of the garment I make are quick and easy project that are meant to fill a hole in my wardrobe or a sudden urge to do a quick project. Then there are the ones that I think about a little more, it can be a generic detail like inserting a lining or more advanced technique like applying bound buttonholes (which I have yet to master to my satisfaction) that add a little personal touch (that I have come to accept that only sewers can appreciate) that really make my garments special to me.

Bias garments are rarely found in stores these days because they use up much more fabric than sewing on the grain. (I don't even want to talk about stripe matching, which I have done i the skirt, that is rarely done in RTW clothing. It makes me want to puke). When I saw Sarai's dress I knew I HAD to recreate the bias effect on the top and contrast it with a "on the grain" skirt. I don't know if you can tell from the pictures, the plaid is much more prominent in real life.

Not only is the effect with the plaid cool, but cutting fabric on the bias changes it's properties completely. Even fabrics that have no stretch to them on both the cross grain and the straight grain will stretch on the bias (you can easily try this out yourself by trying to stretch any old cotton on the bias). This is why bias strips (strips that are cut on the bias hehe) are used to finish curves - they can stretch to accommodate the shape of the opening. For this reason, cutting fabric on the bias is considered more flattering (and is done not only with prints that show off the effect), the fabric takes the shape of the body and contours it, if you will.

Ha! Finally a clear picture!
I did a lot of research before drafting the top of the dress because I have never sewed with fabric on the bias before. All sites recommended to start with non flimsy fabrics (stay away from silk charmuese and all it's man made an non man made equivalents) and to cut the pattern on one layer of fabric. I opted to remove the darts (this was a gamble as I didn't see this actually written anywhere) because I thought the bias fabric will provide enough elasticity. I removed the darts in the most vulgar way possible and hacked off an inch of the waist in the back and two inched in front. (I can upload photos of the process if you like though I don't pretend to be an expert and my methods would probably be frowned upon by anyone who knows anything).

The bottom of the skirt is made out of a pencil skirt block I made for myself.

Can you believe the bias just molded itself to the contours of the bodice? I mean, it's doesn't even look like it doesn't have darts! I'm definitely inspired by this to explore the world of bias cut garments, it's like it's a whole different fabric! Are you guys as surprised as I am??

I love the color scheme of the plaid, it has all these deep browns that, frankly, kind of remind of old lady clothes but I LOVE it!  As you can see, I wore this dress with a gold necklace and blue shoes and I think it made it slightly younger (though I fully accept the fact that I dress like an old lady). At first I thought about applying light pink piping to the waist seam to give it a (although muted) pop of color. After consulting my mom (and displaying my dilemma on my new dress form!) it was decided that I leave the dress neutral. Here I took a different route the styling and opted to go all the way with the old lady vibe and wore a brooch with the dress:

The dress closes (and opens teehee) with an invisible side zipper. In full disclosure the zipper kind of distorts the bias cut fabric (I imagine the stiff zipper and the flowy stretchy fabric clash) but I really couldn't think of a way to avoid this. Maybe inserting the zipper in a back seam would have been better as it is a less curvy area... Does anyone know how to deal with this?

I finished the neckline and armhole seams with store bought bias tape (which I see I haven't pressed properly. MY IRON SUCKS) and hemmed the skirt by simply folding it twice over and top stitching the hem. I know a lot of people tend to do blind hems or whatever to conceal their stitching but to be honest I fund that it isn't worth the trouble for me, I don't mind the stitching at all!

In conclusion, I am fascinated by biased cut garments an certainly plan to make more of these in the future! If you guys are interested in seeing how I altered the pattern I'd be happy to show you!

Have you ever made a bias cut garment? Do you like plaid as much as I do? How do you feel about old ladies?

Have an excellent week!

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