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 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|
|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 back of shrug|
|Shrug/sleeve pattern piece|
|flat felt seam on collar|
Accessories: When I showed my husband the website picture of the dress, he said" I like those shoes"
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|