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sewing a prom dress
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I made a prom dress recently, and decided to film some of it. While this isn't really a full on tutorial, it will give budding designers and fashionistas alike an idea of what goes into making a dress.
1. Draft a sloper. I take a piece of fabric and I drape it over the person. I cut away any fabric that is obviously in the way (armholes, neck hole, etc.). And then I pin it in a few key places to anchor (the apex of the bust and the center seam). Then I smooth the fabric with my hand to move any wrinkles into darts. There are basically 3 places you should make darts:
-waist to bust
-side to bust
These can be adjusted, moved, or rotated later, if you so wish.
Once I am satisfied with the sloper, I will sketch the outline of the dress that I want. For example, for this dress I would have sketched in a v-neckline, ad then also sketched in a curved, scooped back.
2. I cut the pattern up. First along the outline/shape that was sketched in, and then along the darts or side seams.
I then lay this piece of fabric on a some graph paper and sketch it's outline.
The paper I use is genius. It's that big graph paper that, like, math teachers use. I was looking for big graph paper to draft patterns with, and I went to several art stores looking for what I had in mind. And while I could find a lot of graph paper pads that were big enough, the graph itself was too small, Like 1mm grid. And while technically this would work, the tiny grid was just to small to be helpful, since when I sew I think in inches. So at one art store I went to but didn't find what I needed, I ended up explaining what I needed and why to the sales guy. And he was like "just go to staples and buy one of those big pads of paper that teachers use." So I did. It was only like $10ish, but it has been the best investment to my pattern drafting, other than maybe French curves.
Anyway, After I've sketched out the sloper, I will then start moving things around, and adding things, until what I have looks like the final paten.
Depending on how much effort I feel like putting in, I'll probably at this point sew together a muslin from the pattern pieces I've made. A muslin is basically where you sew together your pattern to be something that is shaped like the final dress would be, however it uses cheaper fabric so you can still fit and make changes without wasting expensive fabric.
I'll fit again with the muslin, then cut it up to become the final pattern.
For this particular dress I took the following steps:
1. Draft pattern, cut it out.
2. Iron in interfacing where it is needed.
3. Sew in darts.
4. Sew side seams together.
5. Cut out chiffon overlay.
6. Baste along the edge of the chiffon, then pull the threads to make gathers.
7. Sew the chiffon to the other fabric.
8. Sew together the front seam.
9. Sew Together the back seam, add a zipper.
10. Sew in the lining.
12. Hand stitch on the trim. The trim will also become the straps.
13. Sew in a bra form by hand. Unless it's clear that the garment can be worn with a regular bra, I always like to add a sewn in bra of some sort. Instead of going out and buying some specialty bra which will probably be expensive and uncomfortable, a sew-in bra is cheap (I think they cost about $8) and will provide much better support. And in the case of a strapless, backless, dress, there is no chance of it accidentally peeking out.
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