Sampling the Flare and Gather Dress

Sampling the Flare and Gather Dress

Every now and then I get an opportunity to sample up one of my Pattern Puzzle posts. This sample is from the Flare & Gather Dress, posted way back in June 2014.  With all new design ideas for woven’s I always make the first sample in calico.

To make this pattern I started with my fitted dress block traced onto fresh paper as a full front and full back block.  Because this design has asymmetric features on the front and back a full block is needed to draft the pattern.  The pattern plan from the original post lays out all the detail needed to make this pattern (see below).
There are a couple of reasons why we use calico for first samples when making new designs:
  1. Firstly calico is a very affordable cloth to sample new designs.
  2. There is no print to distract from the assessment of all design and fit features.
  3. It is a revealing and uncompromising fabric that shows all defects clearly.
  4. And finally it is very easy to write and sketch on during the fitting process to inform the pattern maker of any changes before making the next sample.
For me,the first order of business when sewing, is to stay-stitch the vulnerable areas of the garment.  In this case I stay-stitched the neckline and armholes, front and back.  Then I stitched the large front left shoulder tucks in place.
For the back view you can see the stay-stitching of the neckline and armholes.  I’ve also prepared the casing for the centre back waist elastic fitting.
An important feature of this dress design is the gathered drape in the front right panel seam and left side skirt section.  When setting gathering in place always use a double row of large gathering stitches to produce the most evenly distributed gathers.  Leave the tails on the stitching thread and do not back-tack at the end of the rows.
When you’re ready to draw up the gathers, tie up one end of the gathering stitches to keep it secured.  Then use the other end of the gathering thread to pull up the fabric until it fits into the seam of the other pattern piece.
Join the front dress panel seam to the gathered section.  Then join the left side seam.  Join the gathered skirt section onto the main dress.  Finally join the shoulder seams and the centre back seam and insert a zip into the right side seam.
Below you can see the front and back of the new dress sample with some fitting alterations already marked.  In the next post I’ll share the first set of pattern alterations I make before cutting the second toile.
Use the comments section below if you have any questions about making this dress pattern and the first calico toile.  If you’d like to buy a copy of these pattern making notes for your own personal use at home you’ll find them here:  Flare and Gather Dress – Pattern Making Instructions.   Enjoy! 🙂

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Anita McAdam
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