Lucie had an interesting request for me. She wanted a John Deere Flapper dress for a 1920's Gangster Theme Christmas party in January. She works at the local John Deere dealer. Ah. Makes sense now, hey? She thought it would be fun to have a flapper dress in John Deere colours. I thought that sounded like a fabulous idea!
I found green cotton broadcloth, green organza, yellow satin, green fringe, green sequin trim, a yellow beaded necklace, and yellow feathers.I dug through my pattern stash until I found a simple, fairly shapeless dress with bust darts.
Fits the bill perfectly. The bodice would be green and the skirt would be yellow.
I wanted to sew a pleated skirt. My mom found this absolutely fabulous 80's pattern in her stash, so I decided to use the skirt pattern.
I sewed the lining in the full length of the dress, and checked for fit. This was a last-minute job, and I wouldn't be able to meet Lucie for fittings, so I got her to send me her measurements. As it turns out, we are exactly the same size, except that Lucie is 5'4", and I'm 5'10". I got to check the fit on myself, and if all goes well, it should fit her perfectly, too.
I made up a muslin for this dress many many years ago, when I was the same size (I haven't been this slim for 8 years!). I had already made a few tweaks to the fit. I took a pinch out of the neckline, a pinch out of the armscye, and let out the bust dart. Well I'll be darned, I guess I knew what I was doing! It's practically perfect! I think the only thing I'll need to do for future dresses is to do a swayback adjustment so the dress doesn't hang so far forward.
Since flapper dresses have very dropped waists, I decided to use what the pattern gave me and traced the hemline from the tank top version. This is where the skirt will start.
For Lucie, I shortened the bodice by 1" at the waist. Here you can see the pinches I took out and how much bigger the bust dart is.
Once I was happy with the fit, I proceeded to cut out the green layers. I sewed the organza on top of the broadcloth. Nobody would ever guess there's cotton in there! These were the only green fabrics I could find, and I'm happy it turned out so good!I basted just inside the bust dart lines so I could keep the layers together. Worked like a charm.
Time for another fitting! I wish I could do this for all my clients. It's so much faster when you can try stuff on, make changes, and keep sewing. Waiting for fittings tends to slow things down a lot more. I like to have about 3 fittings for most projects.
Isn't this cute? I may have to make the tank top as well! I even like the colour. I love the variety of garments I get to sew that I wouldn't normally choose for myself. I'll be a guinea pig any day!
Still needs a swayback adjustment. But just wait. Once I sewed the skirt on, it levelled everything out. Amazing how that works!
I sewed in a simple centered zipper.
And another test to see what it will look like with a yellow skirt.
Boy oh boy, did I have fun trying to figure out these pleats! I pulled out the pattern piece, saw how huge it was, and started trying to draft my own. I learned a few things about what pleats are made of, so that was useful, but the drafting wasn't working. I went back to the pattern piece. I was supposed to cut 3 of these, and I only had 1.2m of yellow fabric, and one of them just wouldn't fit. So, I decided to take 2 1/4" out of each pleat, and it was perfect! I could have cut 4 if I wanted to. Took me a long time to figure all this out, though.
Everything from there on went really well. I edge stitched around the neckline and armholes so the lining wouldn't roll to the outside, and I hand-sewed the lining to the zipper tape. I made the sequin trim into a feathered headband with some narrow black elastic. Cute, isn't it?
And last but not least, I sewed the green fringe to the waist seam. I left the dress unhemmed until Lucie came for her first and final fitting on the afternoon of the Christmas party. It was still hanging perfectly straight, so I gave it a rolled hem at 1 1/2", had a nice chat with Lucie while I sewed, and ta da, it's done!
Lucie got entirely dressed for the party. Too awesome! I hope she's bombarded with compliments tonight! I also told her to try and get a picture in front of a John Deere sign.
And gosh darn, it fits! How bout that!
Lucie, you look fantastic! Have a blast tonight!