What I didn’t know when I set out to replicate this dress is that it was from the 1960s. Yves St. Laurent designed this dress after Piet Mondrian‘s art work and debuted it at his fall/winter show in 1965-66. This made color blocking popular in different ways every decade to come after.

This sewing puzzle started with fabric purchased at Needle Ink and Thread that was most likely designed for throw pillows. I threw around a bunch of ideas before I remembered this dress.

Once I knew I wanted to replicate the Mondrian dress I sketched how I thought it was put together in sequenced letters and numbers. This really helped me every step of the way.

I recall watching an episode of the The Great British Sewing Bee where contestants made this dress. It was incredibly cool to see everyones different dresses. They used a pattern in the show although I could not find it anywhere. I used a 1960s Jiffy pattern and I think a shift dress pattern would have been more suited.

I used 1″ dotted transfer cloth to trace the pattern out and break it all into the different blocks. I added the sequenced letters and numbers to the pieces to try and keep the confusion low.  

Once I had all of my pieces ready I cut 2 1/2″ strips of red fabric. I sewed the front of my dress together with 1/4″ seam allowances and then serged each part. Once I had the front together I put my pattern over them and recut it out more exact.

I winged the back from the fabric I had left and I finished all of the edges in red bias tape.

As usual, once it was finished I saw the fatal flaw. The top windows are about an inch or two higher than mine. If I would have done this correctly my bust darts would have been invisible.

I overthink these projects and was happy when the dress came out, even not so perfect. It always takes 3-4 times to design a garment and have it come out. Nothing is ever perfect!

I entered this dress in Rosewood Art Ed exhibition. Stay tuned for more details.

Thank you for reading,

Tracy McElfresh

Dream it! Sew it!





Tracy McElfresh
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