16.5.16

Cowl dress

Symmetrical prints are always fun.  Risky, but fun.  I mean, there is always the possibility that you might end up with a big white white dot over the top of your pubis. 

Sometimes, I like to keep the symmetrical prints centred, other times, off-centre seems the best approach.  This time I went with centred, as I have enjoyed the symmetrical, digitally printed skirts that have popped up in recent years.  The symmetry gives them a powerful look, with a kind of totemic vibe.  So in my mind, this a fertility goddess sort of dress.



I drafted this dress for my craftsy lesson on cowl necklines.  Even though the dress is a knit fabric, I started with my woven sloper (as directed in the class), and rotated the bust darts to create the cowl neckline.  I have loved cowl necklines in the past, and sewn quite a few of them, but do not feel the love for them so much at the moment.  For this reason, I only wanted a bit of a cowl, not an exaggerated drape.  I did not rotate the waist dart into the cowl, just left it where it was, and ignored it when it came to sewing the dress (my waist darts are pretty small anyway).



The fabric is an Italian ponti from Tessuti.  It is so lovely to wear (which make a vastly different experience from my Spotlight ponti).

The fabric is quite amazing.  It has lots of different colours throughout.  Changing the background in my photographs changes the colours that are emphasised.  As well as the obvious reds and oranges, there are sublte greens, greys and mauves on a black background.


I wanted to play down the reds and oranges, and put the greens up near my face, which is how I ended up with a big white dot amid a pulsing red circle right in the middle of the skirt.  Now that I have pointed it out, you probably can't stop noticing it, but I wore this out and about the other day and did not feel self conscious about it.  I didn't notice any snickers as I was walking the grocery aisle.


The other interesting thing about the fabric was that it had mirror images both horizontally and vertically.  The pattern repeat must be quite large however, as I could not see a mirror image for the whole print.  Either that, or just sections of the print were mirrored.  It was hard to work out after I started cutting, and it appears to be sold out, so I can't find the original pictures on the Tessuti shop site.  

I cut the front of the dress down the length of the fabric, and then cut the back skirt horizontally to get it to appear symmetrical as well.  The fabric stretches pretty evenly in both directions, so this did not matter.  The upper back is cut separately from the back skirt, and has a centre back seam, so I just found two matching section of print to use.  I was a bit cheeky, and extended the centre back seam down into the top section of the skirt, without actually cutting a CB skirt seam...sort of a seam ending in a dart?

Overall, I really like this dress, even though I was hesitant to draft a cowl design.  I am considering this one a win!

12 comments:

  1. Absolutely beautiful! This reminds me of one of Kate's dresses; Prabal Gurung? Anyway, very pretty. :-)

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    1. I had to google that dress...I love it, especially the back. That purple is so vibrant.

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  2. This looks really gorgeous! I particularly love the back and love that it looks like two different dresses. That's a fancy shopping dress and I'm sure you'll never hear any sniggers. I googled that dress too.

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    1. Yes, it is a fancy dress for grocery shopping...I don't have anywhere to wear all these dresses that I am making, and when I put it on for photos, it was so comfortable that I left it on all day. My family did all ask me where I was going when they came home and saw me in the dress.

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  3. What a lovely dress in stunning fabric. I made a top last year using Suzy Furrer's method and one of the learning points for me was that rotating both the bust and waist dart to the cowl was too much. Good judgement call on your side to not do that in the first place.

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    1. There are so many little decisions to be made in each design, aren't there...I guess with more experience we'll be happier with each decision.

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  4. I'm made about cowl dresses. I love this dress, but am very curious as to how you created a cowl without a bias cut. Tell us more please!

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    1. Hi Gail,

      I think if this was made in a woven, it would drape best on the bias, but being a knit fabric, it did not matter so much. To create the cowl, the bust darts were rotated to a horizontal centre front position, which tilts the armhole and neck out. A horizontal line is then drawn between the neck points on each side of the front. The excess fabric then drops into the cowl. Hope this helps??

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  5. This is a gorgeous dress. The fit is spot on and the fabric is beautiful. I did laugh about the white dot, but it's really not that obvious!

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  6. I love these kind of prints on pencil skirts and sheath dresses, very Alexander McQueen from I don't know when. I know what you mean about having some part of the pattern right where you don't want it, but I think it's kind of unavoidable and honestly not really noticeable.

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  7. Totally a win! This kind of design does need centering. Love it!

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  8. It's definitely one of the best things about sewing - the creativity in what fabric to use when, and how any patterns are placed on the final garment. I love this dress! I love how the pattern does indeed look different with different backgrounds, and I love the symmetry of the dress.

    I didn't notice the white dot till you pointed it out, if that's any consolation :-) Looks just fine really (Thought I totally get the whole concern about it. I've got one dress all I can see is two big yellow roses asymmetrically placed across my boobage, but I've been assured by people on the ground here, that it's not noticeable.)

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