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Copying your favourite fashion brands made easy | A Guest blog post by Soline

Updated: Sep 16, 2020

Hello everyone!

I am Soline (@__bobeene__ ) a French sewing mum living in Abu Dhabi. Before moving here a year ago, I had essentially been sewing clothes for my daughter. Because of the lack of space and time (I was working full time back then) my projects had to be fully completed in just 1 or 2h between dinner and bed. Since I moved here, I have a fully dedicated sewing room and much more time. Since I have more sewing time I have been working on longer and bigger projects and started sewing my own clothes. Part of the motivation was also that it became impossible to buy clothes from my usual European go-to brands and I could not find clothes with the right material or design that would suit the local weather and dress code.

For me, the start of almost every project is a garment seen in one of my favourite brands collection or on Pinterest. I then find a pattern that closely matches the shape and a fabric which suits the look I want to achieve. Then I make the necessary adjustments to the pattern and away we go!

For this project the inspiration is a dress from & Other Stories. I love the shape of the dress but I am not a fan of the fabric colour nor the price 😉plus, silk is not an everyday wear fabric for me!

I am using the Volute dress pattern by Anna Rose patterns, which offers a pretty basic bodice with not many adjustments needed:

  • Make the skirt part longer

  • Change the arm curve and cleavage a bit

  • Create a V-shaped back neckline

  • Add pockets (that’s just because I find pockets so convenient!)

As far as fabric is concerned I am using Maria’s wonderful viscose linen with the palm tree leaves in duck egg blue, the fabric is so elegant and peaceful. Thanks to the mix of viscose and linen this fabric holds its shape quite well but is not too rigid or stiff. It is perfect both for the structured upper part of the dress and the ruffles at the bottom. To avoid the 'air-balloon' effect I will also make some adjustments when assembling the skirt to the bodice.

Step 1: pattern adjustments

I printed the front and back bodice patterns, size 44, long version length size 52 (max length). With my sewing rulers I draw the new lines on the pattern, keeping in mind that the armholes must be aligned. My little tip for success here is to align and tape the back and front on my cutting mat before drawing the lines (first for the shoulder part then for the arm pit section).

The next step is to cut my fabric. Because this viscose linen is not slippery at all I am using weights and rotating cutter on the cutting mat. This fabric is an absolute pleasure to work with ! When cutting the front piece I draw the bust darts lines with marking paper and a roller on the back of the fabric.

I also cut the same pieces (but 30cm shorter) in a light white cotton fabric for lining. The pattern doesn’t include a full lining of the bodice but I prefer the finished look of full lining.

Last but not least I cut the pockets after drawing them on a piece of paper.

I will cut the skirt part only when the bodice is complete in order to adjust the length.

Step 2: preparation

Before assembling the various pieces I first pin and sew the bust darts on the main (outer) fabric and the lining. I then make an overlock stitch on all borders with my overlock machine, except around the point of the V-neckline where I apply Vlieseline 180, a very thin interfacing, to secure a neat finishing.

Before starting the assembling process I iron all the seams (including the overlocked seams and bust darts). This helps a lot to have neat and precise finishing on a garment.

Step 3: assembling the bodice

I first assemble outer fabric and lining, right sides together, and stitch them around the armhole and around the V-neck leaving 3 cm before the shoulders and 1cm before the side edge. I am using a universal needle size 70, tension 3 and stitch length 2.2mm on my Elna Experience 540. To secure a neat neckline I drew a line to follow with a frixion pen at 1cm from the edge. This helps a lot to have a perfect V.

After ironing all seams and clipping the armhole curves and the v-neck I turn the back right side out and press it again.

I then insert the back in the front bodice part and assemble them starting with the shoulders, lining first and then main fabric. I can then finish the shoulder and neck line seams that I left open before.

This way I obtain very nice shoulder finishing without any apparent seam. 

I then finish with the side seams without forgetting the pockets in the process.

As mentioned earlier the fabric I am using holds its shape better than the silk of the original dress. So instead of a traditional skirt assembly I am making a 3 thread overlock finishing on the top edge of the skirt. I then sew 2 ruffle seams with a contrasting thread (tension 0, stitch length 5mm) and adjust the length of the skirt to the bottom of the bodice, making sure the ruffles are evenly distributed. I then gather the right side of the bodice with the skirt back side. 

Last I hand sew the hem and my dress is ready for the final press!

ThreadWerk: Thank you so much Soline for sharing this gorgeous dress with us. Use the same fabric, or these fabrics would work great too to make your own linen & viscose summer dress.

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