New Ways

featured-imageIf you have read my last post you would recall me lamenting the loss of a number of items from my handmade wardrobe that I deemed too “young” to wear any longer because of their Peter Pan collars. I gave most of these garments away to some of my  younger friends who I knew would appreciate the time and love that I had invested in the making of them.

Some of them I could not bring myself to part with however, even though I doubted that I would ever wear them again. One such garment is this dress.


I have not worn it in a few years, and am not sure that I ever would comfortably be able to wear it again. It just somehow feels “wrong”, for reasons that I’m not fully able to comprehend nor articulate. Yet I still have a such a resilient fondness for it that I am not quite ready to let it go. I drafted the pattern for this dress myself. The bib shaped yoke inset and the sleeves are of woven cotton-mix lace, and the body of the dress and Peter Pan collar are of viscose. 

While tidying up my fabric and sewing space recently I found that I still had some of the lace used to make this dress remaining. It seems handling it must have planted a seed of thought in my mind, because the past few weeks I have been preoccupied with the need to find a new way to use this fabric to sew a replacement for my beloved lace dress.

Not too long ago nearly all the patterns that I used to sew my clothes were drafted from the evolutionary descendants of the basic pattern blocks that I had used at fashion school. Although they did survive our initial move to Cape Town to open our restaurant 6 years ago, I just couldn’t see the point in carting around these dogeared pieces of cardboard (that our heavingly busy restaurant had rendered redundant in any case) after our third apartment move a few years later.

Nowadays when I have an idea for a design that I want to make I generally don’t draft a pattern from scratch, but rather adapt a pattern that I have and like the fit of or purchase one similar to what I envision. I had the idea that I would like to make quite a loose, airy dropped waist dress. Something comfortable but still pretty and feminine. I found this Burda pattern and thought that it would serve as a good starting point on which to construct the dress that I had in mind.

I wanted my dress to have a yoke in which to implement the lace, so I drafted a back and front yoke onto the pattern and also added some fullness in the back so that it could be gently gathered into this yoke. I sliced the button stand off the original pattern and adapted it to make a separate one, and also bound the neckline instead of facing it as a facing would have been visible through the lace. Lastly I drafted  narrow cuffs for the sleeves and made a few minor adjustments to the fit and length of the pattern.





I am quite pleased with the result, and feel that the fit and cut of this dress are much better suited to my current lifestyle than that of its predecessor. It is something that I could wear casually during the day when out with my kids, but also would be suitable for an evening out, should such an event ever occur again in my life.

3 thoughts on “New Ways

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