Powerpuff sleeve experiments

I’m really happy with this dress as I worked slowly and carefully on drafting the pattern over several weeks. I had an idea in my mind of what I wanted and I used up plenty fabric scraps and muslin to test out different modifications. I knew I wanted to embrace the square neckline and puff sleeves trend in a dress that has a nice balance of looking fitted but feeling casual to wear.

The front bodice is built around princess seams but the upper bodice side panels are separate pattern pieces (which you can’t really see in this fabric). The skirt is a gored slight tulip shaped skirt that continues down from the princess seam lines on the front bodice and the darts on the back bodice.

There are (cute pink) buttons all down the centre front. I spent a long time calculating the seam allowances and extra width to add to account for the button panels! I find one of the trickiest things about drafting your own patterns is that you obviously have to work out the pattern pieces and construction method for fastenings too. But that is also really exciting as you can think about what methods you like from previous patterns you have made and emulate those.

Once I was happy with the pattern I decided to make it up in this vintage bedding fabric (i.e. someone else’s old sheets) that I got in an Oxfam shop ages ago. It’s quite hard to photograph but I think it looks good with the pink buttons.

My plan now is to keep tweaking the pattern it and use it as the basis for future dresses. I think it would be interesting to play with contrasting fabrics for the different bodice pieces.

I made this mostly at Green Fabric in Forest where I have been going once a week to sew since September. This amazing place is a textile fablab, a coworking space for different types of creative and crafty pursuits, and it holds participatory workshops (e.g. upcycling, ceramics, making your own cosmetics). All with the aim of promoting the ecological transition at the local level! Having a place to sew that is not in my apartment has been great (who knew, doing everything in one place is not very stimulating!). I love the feeling of going there with a sewing plan and not being distracted by things at home, and it’s great to meet other people doing amazing creative things and to be surrounded by intriguing machines and materials!

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