The dress pattern I’m using, Vogue 1305 (photo 1) is quite interesting; one side is draped, the other side is not, and there is a loosely-cut dolman sleeve on the draped side (the non-draped side is sleeveless). Slits on the sleeve, center back, and on the non-draped leg are featured. This dress is also fully lined (interesting for a stretch-fabric garment), which means that the color of the lining fabric will show to some extent. (See more about my choice of lining fabric, plus details of initial issues with this project, in my 7/25/12 post.)
Looking at the pattern pieces (photo 2), you can see that the pieces for the draped sides have a shape that’s dramatically different than the non-draping sides; this presented a bit of a challenge, since I planned on making a shorter version of this dress. Here’s how to do it (and note that this is specific to this pattern):
1: Determine finished length of garment (measuring from shoulder to hemline); fold both straight (non-draping) pattern pieces up to the new length PLUS seam allowance (not hem allowance, since the dress is lined), and tape in place.
2. Measure the length of these pieces, down the seamlines from center neck down to the newly-folded edges; the back piece should be slightly longer than the front.
3. Using the measurement of the center front seamline, measure the other front piece (draping piece) along the center front seamline (the inside of the curvy part of the piece), and mark the center front measurement on this edge. Repeat this process for the back pieces.
4. Using a straightedge or ruler, line up the short end on the cutting line, next to your measurement mark; draw a line across the piece to the outside edge; this is your new cutting line.
These steps enabled me to not only shorten this somewhat complicated dress to the length I want, it also made the pattern pieces fit on 2.25 yards of fabric! (Photo 3.)
Oh, that reminds me: since these pieces are cut on a single layer of fabric, and the same pieces are used for the lining, I cut everything at once, by stacking the outside fabric and the lining (photo 4).
Photo 5: Vanessa van Gogh “helping” me.
Next in our action-packed saga: changing design details!