In lieu of our beloved Build A Wardrobe, we are focusing this year on using existing books and patterns to expand our wardrobes with available resources. We’ve been having lots of conversations about sustainability within our own business but also about the sustainability around the products we choose to create and make. Thirty master patterns (with almost 200 variations) have been developed for home sewers since Alabama Stitch Book was published in 2010. We always look ahead in our development and design process but often times looking back provides undiscovered inspiration and resources. This is our go at creating a more sustainable world of making.
Our newly updated book Alabama Studio Sewing Patterns from The School of Making was originally conceived and published in 2015 as a tool to make it easier to alter our existing garment patterns. Using this book as a guide, makers of every style, size, and shape could customize our existing patterns to fit their lifestyle. And while we used this book as an opportunity to share 32 individual garment patterns, for me, the real core of Alabama Studio Sewing Patterns begins in Part 2 on page 79 titled Fit + Customization. This section explores simple pattern alterations that can be utilized to alter the fit and style of any of our patterns.
For the Color Blocked A-Line Dress project in this post, we’ve used techniques from ‘Fit + Customization’ to customize our beloved A-Line Dress pattern. This popular pattern, which includes dress, tunic, and top versions, is included as a digital version on a CD with every purchase of Alabama Studio Sewing Patterns and is also available as a stand-alone paper pattern from The School of Making.
Alabama Studio Sewing Patterns has a section on Altering Paper Patterns beginning on page 90 and details about different ways to alter paper patterns can be found on page 92. To replicate our Color Blocked A-Line Dress, we recommend reviewing the Internal Pattern Alterations beginning on page 96 and then following the instructions below to create your own design.
We used our popular T-Shirt Top Pattern as the guide for our new crew neckline on the A-Line Dress Pattern. If you have the T-Shirt Top pattern available, this is an easy way to create the new crew shape; however, a crew neck from any paper pattern can serve as your guide. All of the information for our A-Line Dress, Tunic, and Top can be found beginning on page 16 of Alabama Studio Sewing Patterns. Our T-shirt Top Master Pattern can be found on page 44 of the same book and was originally published in Alabama Studio Sewing + Design.
We also shortened our A-Line Dress by 5 1/2″ for a finished length of 35” from the shoulder. And we’ve created a fabric and thread bundle if you wish to make your project exactly as it is shown here.
COLOR BLOCKED A-LINE DRESS WITH CREW NECKLINE
SUPPLIES FOR PATTERN ALTERATIONS
A-Line Dress Pattern
(Optional) T-Shirt Top Pattern
Color Blocked A-Line Dress Bundle or 100% Organic Cotton Jersey in Navy, White, and Peacock
Rotary Cutter and cutting mat
Tailor’s chalk or disappearing-ink fabric pen
1. Prepare and Cut A-Line Dress Pattern Pieces
If your pattern is a digital download or from the CD in Alabama Studio Sewing Patterns, you will first need to print the pattern. For printing instructions, see page 86 of Alabama Studio Sewing Patterns or visit here.
Choose your size and cut out your A-Line Dress pattern with paper scissors, cutting as close as possible to the black cutting line. If you plan to use the neckline of the T-shirt Top Pattern, choose the correct size and cut out the front and back pattern pieces.
2. Trace Your A-Line Dress Pattern Pieces
Determine your desired length and trace your A-Line Dress Front and Back pattern pieces onto new pattern paper. Add your grainline, sewing line, and label the front and back pieces.
3. Create Crew Neckline
Refer to page 116 of Alabama Studio Sewing Patterns for information on altering necklines.
Line up your cut T-shirt Top Front pattern piece with the center front sewing line and shoulders of the A-Line Dress Front. Making sure to line up the fold of the T-shirt Top with the sewing line of the A-Line Dress is important since there is a center front seam on the A-Line Dress but not on the T-shirt Top.
Trace the crew neckline from the T-shirt Top onto your pattern paper. This will be your new cutting line.
Repeat this process for the A-Line Dress Back, making sure that your shoulder seams match at the new neckline.
You are now finished with the T-shirt Top Pattern.
4. Create Color Blocking
Draw a line 4 1/2” away from the center front sewing line and parallel to the grainline from the top shoulder to the bottom hem.
Draw a second line 2” away from the initial line and 6 1/2” away from the center front sewing line and parallel to the grainline, creating a 2” stripe.
Divide your A-Line Dress Front pattern into 3 pieces by cutting your drawn lines with your paper scissors and label the pieces: Center Front, Mid Front, and Side Front. Add a 1/4” seam allowance with pattern paper and tape to each new seam line: the cut edge of the Center Front, both edges of your Mid Front piece, and the cut edge of your Side Front.
5. Cut Out and Construct Your Newly Styled Dress
6. Add Multi-Colored Ribbing
We chose to change the color of the ribbing to match each color-blocked section. To create this effect, overlap your ribbing colors 1/4” under the neighboring color as shown in the photo below and following instructions for apply binding on page 20 of Alabama Studio Sewing Patterns.
OUR DESIGN CHOICES
Fabric weight – 100% organic medium-weight cotton jersey, single layer
A-Line Dress Center Front – Peacock
Mid Front – White
Side Front – Navy
Neckline variation – Crew
Button craft thread – Navy, White
Knots – Inside
Seams – Inside Felled