Designer-inspired Colourblocked Sheath Dress

I started planning this dress way back in the first week of December when I got your opinions on all the different colourblocking options, and it should tell you everything about how crazy busy I’ve been that I’ve only actually been able find the hour or two to make it last weekend.

You may recall the story of this “pattern” from when I made it in a solid, mustard-yellow ponte the first time around – I had a very well-loved ASOS dress that I traced off so it actually wasn’t from a pattern at all. (Others have asked if I’ll release it as a pattern, but it doesn’t really fit with my brand sorry!)

What I didn’t show you is that I tested my few pattern changes afterwards with a version of this pattern colourblocked in random ponte scraps from my stash, shortened to top-length, minus the CB invisible zip, and with a teeshirt-bound neckline instead of a facing.

It actually works quite well as a top (though I think the pieces near the hem could be better thought-out), but I wasn’t quite sold on the colourblocking choices, which were mostly decided based on fabric scrap sizes. It felt a bit… starfleet commander. And that’s a look only Catherine Daze can pull off!

But the original goal was to make another dress similar to the mustard-yellow version, inspired by this Chalayan dress that’s been hanging on my sewing room wall for ages:

I had the perfect teal viscose ponte leftover from a client commission, but I went out and bought a half metre of white and a metre of mustard ponte at Goldhawk Road to make up the other pieces. I really wanted the yellow at the waistline curve, but that would’ve meant having the white at the hem (instant grime!), so I ultimately went with the second colourblocking option!

I finally got a few minutes to cut out the pieces in mid-January (having been ill for the entire Christmas holidays!), but then I had to fly to the States for my Granny’s funeral a few days later, and the pieces were waiting for me when I got back. I finally had two hours spare last weekend to close myself into my sewing cave, so this was a great pick-me-up to get me back on track.

The seamlines weren’t quite as apparent in the yellow version, but wow are they on show here! I love the way the panels connect up at the sides and carry on through to the back. When constructiong this, I pretty much assemble the front, then assemble the back, attach the sleeves, then sew the side seams flat. It means you’ve got to really pay attention to match up the seams when sewing the sides!

There’s an invisible zipper in the centre back seam, but as I found with the top version, it’s not really necessary. So why did I bother with it? Well, even though this is a stretchy dress, it’s also very close fitting, and I didn’t want to risk popping any of the seams getting it on or off when I could just take another few minutes as insert a zipper instead. And it kinda sounds weird, but a knit dress with a zipper feels a bit more like an occasion dress than just a big teeshirt.

I finished the hem and sleeve hems with my trusty coverstitch machine, and the neckline is finished with a lightly-interfaced facing. I know, I know – facings on knits, right!? But with so many section seams around the neckline, it’s easy to stitch-in-the-ditch and really anchor it in place well.

So there you have it – I can finally wear and enjoy my Chalayan-inspired dress after several months of longing and planning!

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