Project Run and Play Week 3 is “Mad for Plaid” themed. This is definitely my favorite outfit of my three sew-along entries so far. My opinion is a tad biased because I spent the most time on this one and I love the final photos! I spent a day and a half drafting the pattern and another day and a half making the dress. (Give or take a few hours making dinners, playing with the kids, sleeping, eating, cleaning the house…) Here it is:

The design of the dress comes from a photo that my daughter drew up a few months ago. I think she is pleased with the plaid outcome, but doesn’t think it matches her design because the dress was “supposed to be pink”. Ack, I guess I’ll have to make another one now that I have the pattern! When I said I was going to copy her drawing she also told me that the dress most definitely needed to have puffed sleeves instead of straps. To do that I changed the ruffles to come from a curved bodice so I could have somewhere to attach the sleeves. I also shortened the zipper in the back to go about 3/4 of the way down the back instead of separating at the bottom – since it didn’t really need to be that long.

You can also see her version of my logo on Facebook today!

The drafting process was trickier than I had counted on, mostly due to the fact that I didn’t get a solid amount of time to work on it. Coming back and forth caused all sorts of problems when I didn’t remember if I added seam allowance to certain areas or not! Going forward, I’m labeling all pieces with seam allowance amounts on the edges so it’s easier to follow. My original idea was to curve both the front and back bodice pieces down – but when I made a muslin it did not lie well or look flattering on the front – so I upwardly curved both bodice pieces, only to have the idea to curve the back down and the front up. Now I was reversing my work and digging for cut off pieces of drafts from the day before. Argh! Another lesson learned – re-trace all pieces and label them with dates or version numbers so I can go back and forth more easily.

I didn’t draft this completely from scratch. I started with McCall’s M5793 pattern and used the sleeve and front and back bodice pieces as a start. The sleeves now have a cuff instead of an elastic casing and the bodices have been altered to curve on the bottom edges. I used freezer paper for the pattern pieces and it is quickly becoming my favorite. It is thin enough to see through easily for tracing, and is very strong and more durable than the cheap paper rolls I was using. It is also really nice to be able to iron the paper to the fabric and then cut it out before removing the pattern piece. Β It holds everything in place, which is really important when matching plaids!

On the subject of matching, I was pretty pleased with how everything lines up on the back of the dress. That said, I think it would be fun to have the back bodice cut on the bias, like the front is. If you take a look at the inside of the dress (I’m feeling brave today, so I’ll show it to you!) you can better see the shape of the bodice – which would have shown up more on the outside if I had bias cut the back outer bodice. You can also see the 2/3 of a circle skirt that I added to the dress – super twirly! This one was tricky, because I have tried to add circles before, but did not do it correctly so the hem was longer on the sides than the middle. I figured out that you need an invisible point to measure to so that all points along the circle are the same length – whew! I was super-happy when the muslin hem hung straight! I did line the back, but not the front because I was worried that it would be too heavy. I’m really glad I didn’t, the brushed cotton is not light – but I suppose it is not really a true lining.

The front bodice is cut into two pieces, the curved upper and the lower piece that ends in a straight line and attaches to the circle skirt. It doesn’t show that well from the outside because of the ruffles, so you can check out the inside pics to see it. Β This was the easiest way I could figure out to make it lay properly once my daughter was wearing it. Otherwise I was going to have to add some kind of dart to the front to curve it in enough to meet up with the upper curved portion – and I didn’t want to have to draft that! Especially if it wasn’t going to show under all of those ruffles. Do you have any drafting tips? I’d love to get better at this.

Speaking of ruffles, which are apparently on trend according to Sew Mama Sew’s contributing writer Rachael from imagine gnats – I love these! I was not sure how a dress would look with the plain back and ruffled front, but that was what my daughter drew – so that is what I drafted! Each ruffle is double the width of the skirt panel it is attached to. The top ruffle was an inigma fun to draft too – I had to curve the ruffle piece so the bottom would hang straight even though the top was curved. I felt like I was a kid again with one of those graph-squared pictures you are supposed to copy one square at a time (like this)!

I hope I didn’t bore you with details this time around – I needed lots of space to include my photos, it was so hard narrowing this shoot down! Next week’s Project Run & Play is to make something that shows your own signature style. I’ve been stumped by this one for the three weeks it has taken me to get here – I am not entirely sure what that means, or what my signature style is! I do think that I most often take a pattern and alter it – similar to what I did here. If I was to make something for next week it might be the same dress (in pink of course!). We’ll see – it is possible I will skip it all together unless I get some kind of genius idea! Β If you are interested, here is a link to the other plaid sew-along entriesWhich is your favorite?