21 July 2014

Pattern Puzzle - The Apron Dress

The going was tough early Saturday morning with very few attempts at guessing the detail in the #PatternPuzzle.  Julie Eilber came the closest when she suggested it may be pregnant manatee.   Later in the day Em Pea Horgosi came to the rescue and provided all the answers.

We would quickly like to apologise for the blatant use of the watermark in this week's posts.  We have been experiencing an unusually high level of IP theft lately and hope to discourage more by making it difficult to remove all the watermarking.  We are hoping it will not ruin the viewing experience for all our fans.  Frankly we hate it and are searching for a better solution to protecting our stuff while still being accessible to our fans.  :-/  Ideas on a postcard please!

This design best suits a stable woven fabric that cuts and drapes well on the bias.  Below we have used our fitted dress block to build the Pattern Plan.  The first thing to focus on in this style is the fit of the bodice along the top edge of the dress and the corset that supports it.

Most important is to reduce the outside edge of the dress so it fits close to the body.  By this I mean to: 
  1. increase the bust dart as for gape darting. 
  2. reduce side seam 1cm (3/8) at underarm for sleeveless style.
  3. take 2cm (3/4) out of the back bodice at the top of the waist dart.
  4. mark in the position of the halter strap.
For the ruched drape in the side seams, mark dashed lines across the front and back block to indicate the direction of the drape and where you will open the pattern to introduce extra fabric.  Also mark the length of the waterfall drape on the front right side seam to help make this pattern piece.  Please note that I have also shaped the skirt side seam - slightly tighter around the thigh with a little flare at the hem.

When I first started to adapt this pattern I had included waist seams in the original design.  However part way through the process I realised that the bodice and skirt patterns could be easily joined as one pattern, even  if it does make a slightly weird fabric-hungry shape.  The other advantage of working through the pattern in sections is that it does help with a gradual understanding of how the pattern is built.

Either version of this pattern (waistline or not) would work well as long as you consider where you can place the grain to maximise the benefit of bias drape in this style.  Please note that the waterfall drape in the side seam stands away from the main garment to allow you to include the gather and drape together in the side seam.  

It's also at this stage that I realised I have built a difficult seam into this pattern.  The joining of the waterfall drape to the front dress will make the seaming difficult but not impossible.  If I get an opportunity to make this one I'll let you know how it sews up.   If you plan on making this now I suggest the waterfall drape be cut separately. 

Lift the corset pattern pieces from the Pattern Plan to make the internal support for this dress.  These are cut on the straight grain.  The grain on the main dress patterns has been placed to maximise the bias through the ruched area. 

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Enjoy :)


  1. Anita, I'm glad someone figured it out, because that dress would look terrible on a pregnant manatee! It's a very cute design for a human, though!

    1. Hi Julie. I look forward to your contributions. Answers and imagination. :) I never can tell how the puzzles will go. When I think it's tough it is often solved very quickly. Always fun. :)