Saturday, July 5, 2008

Yet another J.Crew knockoff

As much as I wanted to finish the Patrones skirt, when I looked at the calendar I realized I have about 3 weeks to make a dress for a wedding I am attending. Yikes! I borrowed a J.Crew dress to copy weeks ago from a friend, and had some 4-ply silk crepe earmarked for it, but have been putting it off thus far. Yesterday I fleshed out the copied pieces, cut a muslin, and sewed most of it together. I ordered silk crepe de chine for the underlining, and charmeuse for the lining from on Monday, which with any luck will be here by next weekend. I hope.

J. Crew Jane Dress
This style has a crossover bust with 2 unsewn darts, wide underbust band, and darted front straight skirt. The top back has a dart on each side, which line up with the darts on the skirt back on either side of the underbust band. Did I mention the J.Crew dress is made in wool twill? Try watching the grain on that. I had a hard time figuring out the darts, what I ended up with was a close approximation of how deep they are, and a marking of where they stopped and started. Claire Schaeffer has a good explanation of how to copy darts, however it depends on being able to see the grain. You basically mark the lengthwise and crosswise grain around each dart, enclosing it in a 3-sided box. Pin a square of muslin to those grainlines, matching the grain. If you followed the grain correctly, you should get a bubble of fabric in the middle where the dart goes. Smooth it flat, and you get a dart. Then you mark the depth, start, and end points. I figured I got close enough and could work out the rest in the muslin. The dress I borrowed was a little small for me anyhow, I knew I would need to alter it.

Pattern pieces, no seam allowances

Here are the pieces I ended up with. I used my serrated tracing wheel/ironing board trick again, I am happy to report it works with wool twill as well, no damage to the fabric at all. Since the copied pieces have no seam allowances, you can either add them before you cut out, or in this case I knew I wanted to mark all the seam lines on the muslin so I cut them out exactly. I used a china marker to trace all around the pieces on my muslin, then cut them out with wide seam allowances, I didn't even measure since I didn't need the edges for accuracy, all the seam lines are marked already.

This is what I got done yesterday, not bad for a first try. Some of the seamlines don't match up, and I'm going to need some more bust room but I need to put in a zipper first so I can see the fit. Asking DH to pin the back is hit or miss. Mostly miss. :-)

Sides sewn down to waist only

Neckline and armholes staystiched and clipped

Now for my favorite part of this whole project: THE FABRIC!!!! Can I tell you how much I love 4-ply silk? It is lustrous, delightfully heavy, smooth without being overly slippery, the dye just emanates from it, and it doesn't want to wrinkle. I want to be buried in it. I consulted Susan Khalje's Bridal Couture for tips, she suggested a silk crepe de chine underlining. After seeing one of her 4-ply creations at a handsewing class, I figured she knew what she was doing. Silk charmeuse for the lining is the icing on the cake. Well pretend the cake is inside out. :-)

Turquoise 4-ply silk from Fabrics Fabrics in LA

And a big thank you to everyone who helped with Patrones translations, I got some very nice emails with additional information that my friend had missed. Thank you!!!!!


Weaveron Textile


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