Hello January!

I’m out of the gate and up and running in my new studio and with the launch of my website coming soon.

My first project of the new year was to replicate an A-Line chiffon dress. Since I do not really have a magic wand and I’m a sewing teacher I will tell you a few of my secrets to replication.

he first thing I do is examine the existing garment and ask myself if I can cut it up. Cutting it up is the easiest way to get your pattern. I will warn you that if this is someones favorite dress the thought of you cutting it up horrifies them. I then look at every seam, is this dress lined, what fabric is suitable for a proper drape, are there any changes the customer wants? Write it all down.

Next, I take my notes and make a picture for their approval.  Once the garment has been approved you can start the process of making a pattern.

Since I can’t cut this dress I make a rubbing of it by getting the dress to lay as flat as possible and rubbing chalk over each seam with pattern paper or cloth over the dress. Then I take notes on the newly made pattern. Go ahead and write them on your pattern just like commercial patterns, cut 1 on fold, what the piece is, seam allowance added and grain line.

A 1/2 inch seam allowance is really easy to make on your pattern with any seam gauge. Also, the sleeves are usually the hardest part to draft due to the back of the sleeve being larger than the front. Be certain that the rubbing shows both sides.

Once my pattern pieces are cut I lay them on top of the original garment to have a double check that I did everything right.

Always do this before cutting into any valuable fabric and lining.

Then, write a list of instructions for yourself to follow of the garment construction order. This list can be easy and it will help you understand the sequence of steps you will need to perform to make sure you are not missing anything.

More tips – send your customer lots of pictures of the process so they can get excited about your work. Sharing your process also adds value to your craftsmanship and labor.

Next is the fun and easy part! The garment construction!

My garment was made of chiffon which means a little more work is involved. Chiffon is shifty so thank goodness the lining material was stable. I pinned and baste stitched each piece to the lining which created underlining. If you do not wish to underline your garment you may also stitch the chiffon to tissue paper or organza fabric to keep it from shifting off grain.

Once your new garment is complete lay it out with the original and see how they match up. My customer asked me to make the replica a little larger in the bust. You can clearly see this in my photos.

Making replicas is a lot of work but well worth it!

Behind the Scenes
I announced last weekend that my website will be launched on Valentine’s Day. I am hosting an online virtual party on Facebook. There will be games, giveaways, interactive Q&A, virtual cake and much more. NO NEED to go anywhere either, my party is all online! Join us Feb. 13th through the 15th with the link above.

If you want to give, I am taking donations from local businesses for my giveaways. And if you have time please help me by inviting friends. Sadly FB has put a limit on how many people I can invite for free.

Thank you for reading!