Well folks, I’m throwing my hat into the ring for a Tessuti competition yet again. This time their challenge is to use a fabric called Gridlock, sourced from a local designer. According to the challenge rules, you could make anything, though they suggested the fabric was “the perfect weight for dresses, pants, jackets and skirts”. A dress it was for me!
I just can’t help but enter contests. I tried really hard not to this time since I already have so much on my plate, but I kept seeing the two sides of the fabric used in the BurdaStyle Swing Dress bodice. It wouldn’t leave my head for weeks. So, I gave in.
In order to truly challenge myself, I wanted to make a dress that was unique while taking advantage of the design lines I liked in the Swing Dress bodice pattern. Ultimately, I decided to alter the Swing Dress bodice into a v-neck, faux wrap style. Doing so was pretty easy. I simply cut the bodice pattern piece from the inner shoulder seam to about 2/3rds of the way up the edge of the middle section (see left below). I thought this would be a nice angle since continuing the line would make it end at the bottom corner of the side seam (see right below).
I then free handed the ties that bring the white block from the front around to the back, and I took the skirt pattern from the Sewaholic Lonsdale dress. The soft structure of the fabric reminded me of the Japanese cotton I used for my Lonsdale, so it seemed like a great match.
The construction design for the new pattern pieces was a bit tricky since I was making it up myself. I ended up lining the main bodice pieces with self fabric so that everything would stay in place and so that any gaping at the neck would show off the blue main fabric. What I hadn’t considered – until it was too late – was the fact that this choice meant there were four layers of fabric in the middle, overlapped section. It’s not bad, but once you add the fabric belt, everything starts feeling pretty thick around the waist. In the future, especially with a fabric like this that hides hand stitches so well, I think I’d just make a facing for the front neckline. The only other design detail I had to make up on my own was the belt. I decided to make it white on one side and blue on the other so that it would blend with the white at the sides and across the back and then twist to blue around the front.
I really like the way the seaming on the bodice. To make a nice V, I clipped into the seam allowance of the main bodice piece after stay stitching.
Inside the bodice I trimmed and pinked the seams, and I also added a bit of the Tessuti ribbon they sent with the fabric. I like that there’s a little secret inside the dress tying it to the competition.
I finished the edges of much of the dress with my serger. I finished the armholes with bias binding.
And, I used a gray invisible zipper since that’s all I had in my stash.
I’m really happy with this dress. I wore it to dinner with friends this past weekend and was blown away by their compliments. I branched out into pattern manipulation in an effort to target a unique look for the sake of the contest. I’m proud that this dress will be up on the Tessuti Gridlock Competition Pinterest Board with all of the wonderful garments made by other sewing enthusiasts around the world. Good luck to all!
UPDATE: I wrote a post about this dress for BurdaStyle. You can find it here!