Saturday, January 21, 2012

Lucie's John Deere Flapper Dress - New Look 6113

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!

1 comment:

  1. Don't you just love this side of sewing - a great original idea whipped up with sewing skills....brilliant!!!