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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Blythe Dress

When I was staying at my friend's house in Charlotte, I did a little babysitting for her while she taught some of her yoga classes. The girls were busy playing so I decided to make her little girl a dress.
Her  mom had some cute quilting fabrics and a sewing machine in her craft room, so I scoured the net for some inspiration.
I have many girls sewing tutorials collected from the net on my Girls sewing tutorials Pinterest board.

If you read kiddie sewing blogs you may recognize this gathered pocket tutorial 
from MADE.
However, I lined the pocket instead of hemming it.
I didn't want two lines of stitching on the pocket once I sewed it down.

The bodice was inspired by the spring ruffle top tutorial at Made By Rae.
As designers, we are inspired by so many other sources and tutorials.
I have always wondered, if you are inspired by someone else's tutorial, use it but then change it, do you consider it a new design?
I do sometimes.
I asked that question years ago to my design teacher at FIDM. She told me that in the fashion industry something is a new design when it is changed only 10 percent. 
Personally, I think it needs to be more like 30%.
1She explained that there really are no original designs in the fashion industry. Everyone is inspired by something else. Design just evolves.
There are those who seem to notice the trends before others and get them out there first.
That's what we were aiming for back then. 
To get the styles out before everyone else.
It was a lot of pressure.
I see so many bloggers who start out with say, a Colette pattern, but then they change it so completely that they create a whole new design. 
What they have done is use that pattern as a design block to make a new design.
It's become their own, original design at that point.
If you do this often, well then you are a designer too, my friend!

Not that there is anything bad just being a seamstress.

When I watch shows like Project Runway I am 
always a little miffed when they call someone "Just a seamstress".
It's so arrogant.
Anyone who picks their own fabrics, trims, and patterns to go with them is essentially designing their own original dress as far as I am concerned.

Drafting your own basic dress and design blocks isn't very hard. 
Especially for children's designs.
I am considering doing some tutorials about drafting your own blocks so you can create your own original designs.
Tracing patterns, cutting them out and sewing them up only to find the fit is off is such a drag.

But I'm not giving up on patterns.
They are fun to work with too.
I have an Oliver & S sailor pant and top on my shelf calling my name!
It's just nice to have an alternative to having to use other people's patterns for everything.

This is a super easy dress pattern to draft up. It's all based on the chest measurement.

If you would like to see a tutorial to make this pattern for yourself, stop by later this week. I'm working on another one for Gigi.

So what do you think about my thoughts on when does a design become a new design ?

I took these photos at the Hominy Grill in Charleston. 
If you watch that travel show with Anthony Bourdain called No Reservations, you may have seen the restaurant featured.
Their specialties are Southern Soul Food.
OMG, it is the best!

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  1. A sweet little dress. Love all the ruffles!

  2. Such a cute dress Justine - I love all the little details and how you incorporated them together from the different inspirations you found.

  3. I love this conversation you have going. I agree for the most part with what you said about design, being a seamstress, and coming up with your own patterns. I do think we all gain inspiration here and there. I guess true design is when you see something that is NOT a clothing item, but it inspires you to make something new completely to you, but it's all so subjective.

    p.s. I love that you ate at Hominy Grill... that place is our fav breakfast place in Charleston and it's really more of a locals place off the beaten path, so it's awesome that you found it and love it, too! :)

  4. The dress is so darling!! Love the pockets! xo Heather

  5. Ditto to what everyone else said! I know my granddaughters would love this!

  6. I am always wondering that, since I rarely use a pattern exactly as is. I don't know that I can add anything substantive to that discussion, other than that my gauge is when I show the original picture/pattern/drawing to my husband, then show my version, then ask if they look different enough!

  7. So sweet! A perfect sundress - and what a lovely model!

  8. Hi Justine, I love the dress. The pockets are adorable. And I would love to read posts teaching me how to make simple designs. I was taught to follow a pattern to a t, so even making small changes was a huge step forward for me...

  9. I love your little dress, so sweet! I had to giggle over the project Runway reference - I remember back in the first season - none of the "designers" had any real sewing skills, they couldn't even thread the serger!

    1. So true, when I went to design school I could barely sew and very few could sew well! Can youbelieve it wasn't a prerequisite?

  10. Awesome....!!! Great idea.

  11. This is so cute. I love the contrasting fabrics and what you've done with the pockets!


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