Wednesday, February 27, 2013

PPM #2: Bamboo Shoot Dress



The idea
Most of the patterns and their instructions in the first Pattern Magic book are only designed to show what can be done with fabric manipulation. As Carolyn states, they're not so much finished garments as design concepts. It's up to the maker how to apply these concepts. This requires some creativity on the part of the maker, but also some experience with basic sewing and drafting techniques. For this month I chose the bamboo shoot bodice. It didn't seem very hard (I can be overconfident like that! Sometimes it helps, sometimes it comes around to bite me in the butt) and I thought I might be able to make it wearable. This design is feminine and delicate, so my thoughts turned towards a simple dress.





Fabric
I had to go to IKEA anyway (yes had to, I swear, it was work-related!) so I checked out their fabrics (no luck) which are next to the bedsheets. And that's where I found my fabric! It's 100% lyocell, which is similar to rayon but the production process is more environmental friendly. It's really soft and almost silky in drape and touch, but heavier. I mean, who wouldn't want to wear soft bedsheets like that all day? The only disadvantage is that is wrinkles like crazy. Which is good if you want folds that stay put on themselves, but not if you want to move and sit down in it.



It's entirely possible that I love the back even more than the front! I'm so happy this pattern placement turned out well. I used my own bodice blocks to draft the pattern. If the pattern was going to be fitted, I'd rather have them drawn on my measurements. Literally every seam is different from the sloper that comes with the book. Only when you start drawing your patterns based on your actual measurements you realize that not only the bust or waist can be different, but also waist length, armscye depth, bust height and what not. The skirt is a half circle skirt.



Cutting and sewing
But let's take a look at the bamboo shoot. The book says to draw the bamboo shoot pattern, but does not share details on measurements. So I eyeballed it and decided to go with shoots 6 cm wide. The angle is a bit off, the top V should be at the center but it's half a cm to the left. If you want to know more about the process of making the shoot, Marianna from Sew2Pro has a better post on how to draw this. I should have read that first :). I muslined the bodice to practice the folding. I just drew the outlines on the fabric with a pencil, which made it easier to get neat folds. On the final piece I hand sewed the folds just inside the seam so it wouln't show. The book says just to sew the intersections, but that won't hold if you'll actually wear it. I also trimmed the seam allowances to reduce bulk. The whole dress is lined with the same fabric, the underside of the sheet.



Cutting this out was even harder than making the bamboo shoot. I tried to line things up but had limited space because I bought the one-person sheet. And I made the mistake of not checking the skirt pattern: it turned out I used one drafted for a friend with completely different measurements. Oops... It was shorter than I had intended, and too narrow at the waist. I had to add an extra strip of fabric at the sideseam. Not so nice. The dress closes with a blind zip at the side seam. Confession: It's not finished yet. I have to re-do a seam because it puckers, hand stitch the lining to the zip, and hem it. I'm scared to though, I'm not sure I could hem it without stretching the seams. Any suggestions for hemming rayon?

Wearability
It was very nice to sew some frosting again! I'm checking out that bedsheet section more often, that's for sure. The bamboo shoot was interesting to make, but I think the dress would have been pretty without it too. I'm planning on wearing this dress to a wedding next week, so it will get worn at least once :). No clue what to wear with it though, in terms of colour and style. How would you style it?

Marianna's february project demonstrates another way of how to incorporate some magic into your designs by altering the just the facing of the bodice. And like she says, if you'd like to join us, remember no project is too small (nor big!) and you have months to prepare. Just blog about it on the last Wednesday of any month or, if you’re blogless, send either of us an email with your pics and we’ll host a post for you. The date for next month is March 27th!

29 comments:

  1. This is really gorgeous. I'd love to pick up a copy of that book and play with some fabric. There are so many creative things going on between those pages.

    As for accessorizing it, I'd stick with the colors in the dress, because you've got two neutrals and a nice color. I think you could also add dark blue or navy and it would look nice too, but you'd have to add two things in that color, like shoes and a necklace or a handbag and earrings. That's me, though. I love matching. :)

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    1. Thanks for the advice! I was also thinking navy. Don't have much in that color, maybe I'll have to make something!

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  2. Gorgeous is exactly the word I was about to use! I wish I could find something like this in retail!! I suppose I will have to bite the bullet and begin to learn how to do for myself.

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  3. Bravo! Bellissima! I love what you've done.... it's always tricky to work out how to pair this up with a skirt and your choice really suits you.

    The colours suit you very well too! Would love to hear what kind of reaction you get when you wear it to the wedding.

    My own project for this month is a relatively quick one but I'm fairly pleased with it.

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    1. Thanks! I like your project too, I've been thinking of using that technique when I get to the second book. A great way to add some magic in a relatively simple but innovative way!

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  4. Waaaauuuw Lisa.... Wat een prachtige jurk! Mooie stof, mooie techniek. Goed gedaan!

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  5. I love the colors, the dress looks amazing!

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  6. Very pretty, I love the colors!

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  7. This is so gorgeous. I love the pattern and colours of the fabric and they fit perfectly with the dress design - your sheet shoot! I'm wondering if you could add the length you want and finish the hem with two seimicircle bands of fabric (matching the lower edge of the skirt) sewn right sides together, turned and pressed to create the new hem and then sewn to the existing hem as a double layer. Fiddly but possible!

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    1. Thanks Meg, that's a great idea! I hope the double hem won't make it too heavy, but otherwise it would give it a really neat finish.

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  8. WOW...it´s incredible! I had sewn dresses with Ikea fabric but not with bedsheets. I love the colours and the front shapes, so cute!

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  9. So lovely! Great colours and the bamboo shoot effect looks amazing.

    Right, I need to go to Ikea.

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    1. Thanks Tracy! They have more lyocell sheets, also blends with 50% cotton.

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  10. beautiful dress.. i plan on making my own bamboo shoot dress for months, but still have to get there hehe.. so, thanks for the inspiration..

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  11. Just found your blog, and the dress is gorgeous! I love the front, but you're right, the back is stunning too. I'm amazed! I've also had a look around and I love the idea of drafting your own patterns. I've only just really started sewing (and I'm hooked) but I really want to draft my own patterns, I've already made a few things, but I'm planning so much more. It's so inspiring to see how amazingly you're doing!! I'm also blogging it all as I go: www.sleeksilhouette.com if you're interested.

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  12. Great work. I love the way you've made this style work for you. The fabric is so well used too.

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  13. Um... are you kidding me? this is AWESOME! And it would be even without the coolness of the bamboo front. The fabrics... the swirling shapes... the colours... I hope you don't mind, but I'm planning to copy this. I WANT one.

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  14. This dress is so amazing I love it. How cool is it that you made it out of bed sheets! I never would have thought about that! So creative and clever!!

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    1. Thanks! It's a great resource for some cool printed fabric!

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  15. Beautiful Lisa! It looks really sophisticated yet simple, which is a good thing!

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  16. What a great version of a bamboo shoot! And I can't believe you made it from the bedsheets! How clever of you! I would've never thought about it..

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  17. Your dress is great! I like this bodice also - thanks for the tips on making it. It looks great with your circle skirt and the fabric too. Enjoy the wedding!

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  18. Not so beautiful as yours, but here's my try: http://www.elenaperletti.it/take-4-and-finish-diy-e-couture-pattern-magic-bamboo-shoot-takemoto-design/

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    1. Cool! I like the design you chose to incorporate it in!

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  19. Hello Lisa,

    I am an amateur seamstress and I also have the hope of making my own wardrobe someday (if only I could convince myself of making normal pieces like simple tops and trousers instead of fabulous cocktail dresses...)

    I am equally trying my hand in the fascinating Pattern Magic Series and your posts have inspired me a lot. My first try was the bamboo shot, from which I made a muslim this weekend: http://titesmains.wordpress.com/2013/10/15/la-magie-du-patronnage/ (in French) (I put a link to your post in the end of mine, please tell me if it's not OK).

    Thanks for the inspiration! I'll continue to follow your progress and I hope to make beautiful things like you soon.

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    1. Thanks for your nice comment! The muslin looks promising, Let me know what you'll make with it!

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