Dressmaking: A Lotus inspired Dress

This is the first dress I ever designed from scratch, without a ready-made pattern and without copying a famous designer.

2012-11-02 22.15.50

I designed it to go with my lotus tattoo. Random, right? But maybe you can kind of see what I mean.

I used the basic sloper pattern included in the Pattern Magic book. You need to take it to a copy shop to enlarge it to real size.

Rather than including a detailed step-by-step guide, I will use this as an example to explain what I consider the basics of pattern drafting. Obviously I am no expert, but this is how I like to do it.

Basically you cut open all the darts and closed them. This will make more sense to you if you have been reading the book. It is what they do all the time, and in my opinion the one secret to pattern drafting.

The logic is simple: If you want a fitted garment, you need darts. They help shape a flat fabric to a curved body. When you take a standart pattern, the darts will be included like V-shapes. You sew them together and the flat fabric become fitted.


However, when drafting a pattern you can close the darts in advance. To do this you cut along one side of the V and push the paper pattern together so the dart is closed. Cellotape along the dart. It will look like your garment would if you were sewing the dart together.

Now you will have a paper pattern that should be fitted to your body.

But the problem is, fabric is flat. So you cannot use the “curved pattern”. In order to make it flat again, you need to open it somewhere. An easy way to do this is to introduce a new seam line. For my dress, I introduced seams between each “petal”. In other words, I cut the bodice pattern with all its darts closed into four pieces and added the round tops of the petals to each piece.

2012-10-26 22.27.55

When cut apart like this, each piece will lie flat again, ready to be cut out in fabric. That is the magic of the “open and close” technique!

As this was to be a strapless dress, the body needed to have some weight. You don’t want a flimsy strapless top! So I cut out each petal twice in the blue fabric, and put a thick cotton fabric in the middle as lining. I used some Cath Kidston fabric I bought on sale, it is thick like denim. You can see my homemade dressform in the picture – look for “duct tape dressform” tutorials on Youtube!

I am very sorry I don’t have more step by step photos of the process of constructing the dress, but I made it long before I started this blog!

But leave me a comment if you want more details or have any questions.


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