Sunday, February 19, 2012

Copy Cat - Roland Mouret

Here is the designer dress I have been trying to copy for the past couple weeks between distractions and road trips.

When this dress caught my eye on www.mytheresa.com, I was really surprised to see it was from designer Roland Mouret. I associate Roland Mouret with very form fitting, architectural detailed, dresses like his famous 2006 Galaxy dress. Vogue pattern 8280 pattern was very similar to this dress and very popular among sewists.



More recently, Burda Nov 2011 #113 dress looks very similar to his Macha dress.

Burda Sept 2011 #131

My inspiration dress is from his Autumn Winter 2011 collection.
The description: Grey marled calf-length dress with a navy color-block at the hem. Graphic pattern detailing at the sleeves. Shrug effect around the back creates an abstract cap sleeve. Material detailing at the back comes to a V at the waist. Cowl neck with black trim. Slim fit. Slit at the back.



I really like this dress, the work appropriate colors, the linear silhouette, the sleeve and back details. I decided to duplicate it.  I enjoy  the process of duplicating  designer  garments  - sourcing the fabrics, finding appropriate patterns or drafting my own,   and working through the design and construction steps. It isn’t always easy and I make mistakes as you will see below. It is a lot like solving a puzzle.

I chose a basic sleeveless, scoop neck dress pattern to duplicate the dress. The pattern is an OOP New Look pattern designed for woven fabrics. 
The original dress has no dart shaping in the waist hip area. The model doesn’t appear to have much shape in that area either. But I do and belting excess fabric in the waist area never looks good on me. My bust is very close to my hips; visualize the area between sausage links. So I chose a pattern with darts in that area do get a sleeker look.

The fabric of the inspiration dress was gray and navy wool knit, with a wool, poly, lycra knit for the upper back/ sleeve area. My fabrics, all from Hancock fabrics, were gray and navy ponte knit blends , and a striped poly novelty knit. Ponte knits, especially those with very little lycra, can be treated as a wovens. My plan was to make the basic sleeveless dress, and then figure out how to make the back/sleeve piece and attach it to the dress.

Band Length – I wanted to duplicate the proportions of the navy band to total dress length of the inspiration dress. To determine what that was, I held a ruler up to the photograph and measured the length of the band and the total length of the dress. It  band was about 1/5th of the total dress length. I also looked at where the top and bottom of the band hit the model. It looked like a couple of inches above her knees and a couple inches below.  My dress length from shoulder point to about 4 inches below my knee is 47”. 1/5 of 47 is 9.4 inches. I rounded up to 10 inches for the navy band length.  

On this project, there were a number of issues to work through. They include the following:

Terrible Taper - Being a bit lazy, I made my original navy band without side seams. In other words, one piece seamed at center back. But the dress  was supposed to tapered from hip to hem.  Not a good look to have the taper end at the top of the contrast band.  I removed the one piece band and created one with side seams so the taper extended from hip to hem.

Neckline Nemesis - The pattern back neckline was scooped. Despite looking at the inspiration dress photograph back view countless times, it didn’t occur to me that the back neckline of the dress was much higher than the pattern neckline. Until I started drafting the collar pattern! To fill in the back neckline so that it ended higher on my neck, I drafted and sewed in an insert. It is covered by the yoke fabric.

Collar Collapse - My first collar draft was for a tube shape to be folded over in the middle. Because this collar was on a deep front scooped neckline, gravity pulled it down in center front, and the bottom edge of the collar did not cover the neckline seam in the shoulder area.

First Collar Pattern

Collar does not cover seam
The second draft was longer at outer most edge so when it was folded and draped, the bottom edge covered the seam.

Second Collar Pattern

Collar covers seam

Shrugging Shoulders - The back yoke of this dress extends into shrug like sleeves. Looks simple doesn’t it?  Argg!   I tried drafting it, and draping it several times with no success. We are talking several wasted days. Back to the inspiration photo I went, but this time I enlarged the photograph in the shoulder area and noticed a big tuck/unsewn dart that started at the raglan seam and released at the shoulder point. This was a big ”A Ha” moment for me. I draped the yoke/sleeves using the tuck and had instant success.
Draping the Shrug Sleeves

Draping shrug

Draping back of shrug
It almost like taking a raglan sleeve pattern and moving the shoulder dart from the neckline to the front. This is the resulting pattern piece.
Shrug/sleeve pattern piece

armhole facing
Unique features – the collar is a single layer and folds over so both sides of center back seam are seen – To make it attractive from both the front and back side I used a flat felled seam.
flat felt seam on collar



Front

dress back



Accessories: When I showed my husband the website  picture of the dress, he said" I like those shoes"
Louboutin's

So I explained about Louboutin shoes, red soles and prices.  He just grinned and repeated "I like those shoes"  Silly boy! I do too, but they are now longer available and I wouldn't spend that much for shoes anyway.
Louboutin's would have looked great

Miss Ashley jumped into the picture taking session, but only because it had started to sleet and she wanted to go into the nice warm house.  It started snowing shortly afterwards and has continued to come down all afternoon.  Since it was 68 degrees F yesterday, it melts as soon as it lands. Crazy weather!
Me and Miss Ashley

51 comments:

Carolyn (cmarie12) said...

What a beautiful reproduction! This looks amazing on you and I understand why you were attracted to the pattern. Thanks for sharing your process and the construction pics.

prttynpnk said...

So nicely done, you deserve the shoes!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing! What a challenge, but you nailed it.

Jenny said...

Very pretty. You nailed it!

Amanda S. said...

Love it! Great detailing for a one-of-a-kind dress!

Faye Lewis said...

Lov-a-ly!!!

velosewer said...

Wow. You really did nail this one. Nice work.

sandysewin said...

Wow, I am impressed. What a lot of hard work, but it was surely worth it. The look is great!

katherine h said...

You are amazing! Tackling the draft for the collar and sleeves was very adventurous, but you have really pulled it off. Thanks for sharing your process. The resulting dress is most elegant.

Perhaps you need to take your husband shoe shopping with you!

meli88a said...

Very nicely done! What a reward (fabulous dress) for all your hard work.

MaryMM said...

What a challenge! And you conquered. And you shared the process and result. Even better. Thank you.

Vicki said...

Nice work! And your shoes may not be Louboutin but are still pretty cute!

Summer Flies said...

Audrey you are amazing. This looks great on you and I love your construction and drafting information. Thanks

Kyle said...

Such phenomenial work as always!
Love your cat too.

Sheila said...

Awesome... You hammered that nail right and the dress looks great on you.

Catherine Daze said...

That's some dedication! The end result is spot on and it really suits you.

Gail said...

You take the notice of 'see it and sew' to a whole new level. I'm interested in the back insert. Did you add over the top of the back or cut out and insert as a block?

kbenco said...

I am in awe of your skills. I adore your finished dress, and really inspired by your process.
Thank you for such a detailed post.

Karin said...

Wow! It looks great on you, and I am so impressed with your skills to recreate it. Fantastic sewing, pattern drafting, fit, construction, and style! Phew! It's an amazing achievement, and a great, practical, flattering, versatile dress to have in your wardrobe.

Carol said...

What incredible persistence you have! I certainly don't have your patience. I love this dress and you look great wearing it. My feeling about good shoes is that I save so much on my clothing, I can spend more money on my shoes.

Sewingelle said...

Wow! Fabulous. Thanks for sharing.

Lydia La La said...

Well, aren't you a very talented sewist? Lovely dress and you look great in it... love your shoes also.

cidell said...

This is amazing. I love everything about it.

Irene said...

This dress is just wonderful!

Anonymous said...

Wow, what a fantastic dress! The original would never have caught my eye, but now I'm interested. Claudine (couturearts.wordpress.com)

Zeila said...

Great work!

Darci said...

Your dress is so amazing and flattering! Thank you for walking us through your process. Gorgeous, gorgeous dress!

Lisa said...

You are an absolute genius , it's so beautiful. Very inspiring how you achieved these great results.

Lynneb said...

Oh, Audrey! You always amaze me with your ability to think through and recreate such challenging projects...just beautiful. A beautiful dress! I wish you could be my mentor!!!!

Maria (viola33) said...

Beautiful dress, I love the combination of the colours you've chosen for this dress. I love your shoes, they make a perfect math to this dress. And your Miss Ashley is such a sweet little thing.

Robyn said...

Louboutin's would have been nice! It's a fantastic interpretation of the original, your patience with the drafting really paid off because the final dress is fabulous.

Janine said...

absolutely amazing dress. congratulations . It looks both chic and comfortable .

gwensews said...

You have a very successful knock-off. What a lovely dress. I like the shoes, too!

melissa said...

Fantastic dress!! You've done such a great job. Considering I've made BOTH of the copycat patterns you've shown here, I think I might as well give in an resign myself to making this one, too! ;)

Beth (SunnyGal Studio) said...

fantastic and interesting to see how you did the pattern.

Uta said...

What a fantastic piece of work! I admire your persistence; it really paid of here. It's also one of the chic-est work appropriate dresses I've seen!

Linda said...

You did a great job with this dress. Patience to redo and redraft paid off. Looks fantastic on you!

Mary Nanna said...

You are SO clever and SO stylish. What a role model for us - you inspire me by showing what's possible with persistence and a vision.

The Slapdash Sewist said...

So fabulous, as per usual. I admire your persistence with the sleeve--the end result is just phenomenal. Sounds like you need to go shoe shopping...

senaSews said...

What a fantastic knock off. I'm totally in love with your dress - even more then with the original one. Love the fabric and color mixture. Great job!

Carole said...

Audrey, what an amazing journey and such a wonderful result. Your patience is an inspiration. Wear that beautiful dress in good health.

bpatricia74 said...

You look beautiful! I have been following your blog for a couple of months now. I love the reproduction. Your dress actually looks like the original!

Arlene said...

I'm a new follower, and so glad I found you. Thank you so much for sharing the process! The dress looks absolutely amazing.

Diana said...

Hi Audrey. I love your blog and your approach to each item you create. You know just how to dress and what looks good on you. This dress is really great!
I've chosen you to receive the Versatile Blogger Award. I hope you don't mind. If you'd like to have it, just visit my blog to grab it!

Jacquie said...

What a beautiful dress! I am in awe of the amount of thought and working out you put into recreating the inspiration dress. It was definitely worth it for the gorgeous end result.

Gabrielle said...

Ooh what an unusual and YET work appropriate dress! I particularly love that navy band... How skilful you are to be able to recreate something like this - and btw I think your sleeve / back fits and looks better than your inspiration dress on the model!

SewBarbie said...

I like yours better than the original.

Stephanie said...

Love your dress! And thanks so much for your invaluable comment on pattern drafting on my blog. I've since looked into the Japanese way of drafting patterns and into Mrs. Stylebook, etc. and am infinitely intrigued!!! Thank you so much for all the info!

MushyWear said...

Wow! I just love this dress! I love how you used the different fabrics to achieve such a harmonious look. Very cool!

Emily said...

What a very cool dress and it looks perfect. Lovely. Good shoes too, even if they aren't Louboutin's!!

Thanks for showing us your methods too - very interesting.

poppykettle said...

This dress is amazing! I really like the original that you based it off (great colours and shapes) so am blown away at how close you got your copy-cat to be. You look gorgeous in it too!