I love camels! My sister recently returned from a trip to Morocco and had a number of pictures of the cute camels she met. I wanted to do a fabric featuring camels. I used some photos and incorporated a mosaic type of design into the layout. I then had the fabric printed on silk charmeuse by Advanced Digital Textiles. Because of the width of the fabric and the design I had it printed with one panel in the center and one split on each side.
I started drafting a pattern using my Pad software. I decided to add a contrast band at the neckline as well as the sleeves. It was originally 1-1/2” but I changed it to 2” wide when fitting the muslin. I also wanted to include a front pocket design that would be hidden in the design.
I originally did not include a back closure in the pattern but added one while sewing. Once I created the pattern based on my basic block, I created a muslin for fitting and tweaking. After fitting the adjusted the pattern digitally and re-printed.
How great that at the same time Pattern Review was hosting the Barganista Fashionista Contest and I decided to enter. I discovered that the dress I was inspired by retailed for $4,525! Wow. My fabric was expensive but nowhere near that much. I also found a coppery peach silk velvet remnant for only $25 that matched perfectly. Even though my fabric has camels rather than ruins, the print layout is similar and the use of photographic elements still worked for me.
Even though I had the pattern drafted, the process was very fluid. First, I discovered that I did not have enough fabric for the dress (at least with an easy layout). I was finally able to make everything fit by piecing the back.
However, this left me with a mismatch at the hip on the dress back. I decided to add a belt of the velvet that wrapped around to the front. I also had to cut the back yoke in two pieces and therefore decided to add buttons. That meant that I needed to recut my neck facing pieces as well. Luckily I had 2 yards of the velvet. Notice my nifty pattern weight when I recut the back lining!
Since the dress was inspired by a couture dress, I decided to do something special; I made hand-beaded covered buttons for the front pocket edge and the back closure. I was originally planning on a total of 8 buttons but the sequins I was using were spares from a purchased garment and I only had six large center sequins
I really like the dress. It went together well though I think the pocket hits a little low and will raise it about 3” when I refine the pattern. I made it low in order to get the entire camel design on the front panel.Click here to see more pictures of this project.