Pattern Puzzle: Spiral dress

Posted by Kathleen Fasanella on Nov 21, 2011 at 5:57 pm / Pattern Puzzle, Tutorial / Trackback

spiral_dress_steptwo_smFor a change of pace, I thought I would post a pattern puzzle in the making. I don’t know how well or poorly it will come out but who cares? One manages to learn something in the process. It has been a good exercise to practice my pattern making skills with StyleCAD.

I don’t have a sketch of it either but one of you can create one from the pattern pieces if you’re so inspired. If your pattern skills are such that you can’t tell what it will look like yet, this should also be a learning experience for you too.

I started with a very plain block, a child’s size 5 dress (hopefully this will become a real dress and then a present for my niece). I picked a child’s dress for two reasons. One is to minimize fabric loss if this project ends up as a wadder (wadder=only suitable to wad into a ball and throw away). Two, I made one of these before for myself and it got very complex with darting and what not so this style won’t complicate things unnecessarily.

Step one: Lay the front and backs together, marrying the pieces along one side seam.

Step two: draw the spiral lines. The lines will become cut lines, where the pieces will be separated from each other. Gee, that notching tutorial I wrote last week will come in handy, eh?

Step three: Pick a line to cut along. An image of what I mean is above right. It’s rather small so see the larger file if needed.

Step four: join the removed piece to the opposite side so you end up with continuous spirals. If you haven’t figured it out by now, there will be no side seams per se. This is illustrated below.

spiral_dress_stepfour

Step five: The pattern is almost ready to split apart for the next step in the pattern process. Before you cut it apart, I suggest numbering each piece consecutively. It would be a good idea to notch them.

Specifically, this is an interim stage so your notching should be designed to assist you. For example, I did not come up with a final production notching scheme. I designed one that would help me do the next step. Specifically, I need to add fullness to these sections and since I want to control it carefully, notching pieces identically was more helpful to me than not (shown below). I’ll worry about how to notch it for sewing later. For now, I need to be able to line pieces up exactly.

spiral_dress_stepfive

Step six: As the image below shows, I’ve started cutting each section apart.
spiral_dress_stepsix

Step seven: Now to add fullness to each section. Below you can see how I’ve split the first three sections down the center and pivoted the edges apart to create additional fullness along the hem line.
spiral_dress_stepseven

The goal is to spread each piece evenly so you end up with something that looks like the image below:
spiral_dress_elegant_way_to_spread

If you notice, the edges of the pattern above are slightly curved where as the edges between sections in step seven are perfectly straight. That’s because I do it a bit differently than how we’re taught in books. I think this way (above) is more elegant. More work certainly but more elegant. I have illustrated how to render this effect in the forum.

Anyway, this pattern is almost ready to do the fiddly portion. Namely, making facings, adding seam allowances, truing the seams for sewing, notching and all of that.

13 Responses to “Pattern Puzzle: Spiral dress”

Comments RSS feed

Theresa in Tucson
November 21st, 2011
6:29 PM

And is it the intent of the sprials to do contrasting colors such as a candy stripe or a barber pole? Looking forward to the next installment.

Katherine
November 21st, 2011
6:31 PM

That looks like it is going to be a gorgeous design. I’m looking forward to your forum entry on it.

I have only used Corel Draw to make patterns so far and find the notching process difficult to do digitally. I presume that would be easy with a more specific program like StyleCAD?

Kathleen
November 21st, 2011
8:46 PM

I added the forum tutorial link to the entry.

Theresa: I made one before with each section a different color -like a color wheel with red, orange, yellow,green etc. Don’t know what I’ll do with this one, don’t have any little girl fabric.

Katherine: it is super simple to notch in stylecad. In any of the apparel cad systems. It amounts to typing “n” and clicking an edge where you want the notch. Right clicking a notch brings up its properties so you can change the type, size, cut depth, single or double, whether the notch should be smoothed (curve line), whether it should be graded or blended etc.

Clara Rico
November 21st, 2011
9:58 PM

Oh this looks like a fun project. This should make a great dress for twirling.
My question is: How do you place the grainline. If you keep it perpendicular to the ground the pieces will be sewn on the bias. Not to mention, taking up way too much fabric. But, the garment as a whole would be on the straight of grain. Though, maybe this dress would well on the bias, with each piece cut ‘straight.’ All the better for twirling! :)

Sabine
November 22nd, 2011
1:12 PM

I like that! May I copy it?

Katherine
November 22nd, 2011
7:56 PM

That notching does sound easy. There must be an easier way than I am doing in Corel Draw, I just need to work out what it is.

Mary in FL
November 23rd, 2011
5:09 AM

Since no fullness was added where the facings would be, I would trace the facings before splitting the pattern, unless the splitting was a tracing.

Sandy Peterson
November 25th, 2011
11:06 AM

Looking forward to the finished dress, Kathleen!!

[…] up with last week’s spiral dress challenge, has anyone given any thought as to how the dress can be put on? The neckline is too small to pull […]

A homeless coat pattern
December 13th, 2011
4:24 PM

[…] also had another style I was trying to tile, the spiral dress (pt.2) I showed you a few weeks ago. I was thinking this would be an easy and also cute project for […]

Seth Meyerink-Griffin
January 28th, 2012
8:12 PM

It seems like you could readily do this with any shell that already had the shape that you wanted. The only complication is that it would start being seriously wasteful of fabric, since you would start getting funny bends in your strips as they went around/through shaped portions of the shell (hips/waist, front/back darts, bust, etc.) You’d probably still want/need to add some small darts at strategic places to smooth out the whole shape, and it would probably be easier [for me] to get the lines in the “right” places by cutting up a shell rather than flat patterning, but not ridiculously complicated.

For added fun, it would be interesting to place a #5 continuous zipper in every single seam. Hmmm. I might have to work on that one…

Anita
July 15th, 2012
2:35 PM

Hi. You can add darts if you want more shape at the waist: At the horizontal waist line, draw new short lines
at a 90 degree angle on each side from the bias lines. Let’s say you want to remove 10 cm at waist, with 10 bias lines, I get it to 0,5 cm on each side of the bias line at waist, starting from zero at the horizontal bust height, to zero again at your widest part at seat area.
Thank’s for a very inspiering website! I enjoy that whatever I am googling, I end up on your site! Pls keep on going. All the best’// Anita Stockholm, Sweden.

Diana
October 20th, 2013
6:49 AM

Can someone show me the link to the dress? I’m a newbie and don’t understand how will the dress be?

Leave a Reply

Current ye@r *

Archives

Categories

The Entrepreneur's Guide to Sewn Product Manufacturing

Often described as the garment industry “blue book”, the most highly rated book in the business is guaranteed to get you off to a solid start or your money back. Many service providers require you read this before they’ll work with you. Learn more »

Subscription Options

RSS Feed Google Reader My Yahoo My MSN Technorati

Subscribe by email: