In last week’s post about the Flowy Skirt, Amanda mentioned a time when I was focussed on flexibility of fit and minimizing the number of seams in a garment. At the time I was working alone, and selling in boutiques, so my design priorities were different. I aimed for comfort, hanger appeal, and innovative shapes that meant less seaming.
Switching to modelled photos and made-to-measure meant an almost complete priority shift. We still aim for comfort, but hanger appeal is moot, and our overall priority is a pattern that can be easily customized for all shapes. This is important work, but occasionally drafting feels more like risk management than creation.
There are a few throwbacks left in the shop that we just can’t stand to banish, despite the fit difficulties they sometimes press upon us. Our favourite of these is the Sailor Dress, this week’s featured garment.
The Sailor dress in Navy and White
This was some whacky drafting, and so much fun. I dreamed up a dress where essentially two circle skirts are joined at the waist, one large and one small. The larger gathers at the hem and becomes the skirt, the smaller gathers up to the neck to become the bodice. The dress naturally narrows to the waist.
The bodice was carved away to become the shape it is, and I had to figure out a tricky way to bind the neckline so as not to show any of the seaming. This flip of the binding made me think of a sailor collar, so our first good sample was Navy and Ivory, and we still love it just as it is.
So, what do you need to know about the Sailor? It is a pattern on its own – not a lot of customization can happen. The dress can be worn with the v-neck or the gathered neckline to the front, neither looks like you have your dress on backwards ;)
We prefer to make the Sailor with the cloud skirt because it weighs down the bodice nicely and really works with the dress. If you haven’t tried the cloud skirt on a dress, it is definitely worth trying. *tough face* Also, we can make the cloud skirt with inseam pockets, if you like. *wiggles eyebrows*
Shown with a Cardigan in Forget Me Not rayon and a Sweetheart Shrug in Black merino
The Sailor is sleeveless with a bound armhole, this is the rule, because the bodice will not stay in place otherwise. Besides, adding sleeves via cardigan or shrug only increases the versatility :)
The Sailor dress always seems like a bit of a gamble to make, as the fit and sewing technique still feels like a lick and a promise. But it also serves to remind us of the value of creative time and why we love this work.