Sunday, 2 June 2019

The anemone dress - cut out

I've done it! I've actually taken scissors to fabric, and cut into the dress length that's been sitting in my stash for a mere 28 years.

In truth, once I'd made the decision to finally use the fabric, cutting it up wasn't that scary. After all, ruining a piece of cotton would hardly be the greatest calamity that's occurred in my life in the last few years. That said, I did do a fair bit of preparation before the dressmaking shears came out.

The design ended up as a mash-up of three New Look patterns.

Source material

Mostly it's the lengthened version of 6299 that I've made before. However I wasn't keen on either the neckline or the collar, so instead I'm using the curved neckline from view D of 6723, albeit raised a little to avoid a rerun of the Butterick 5997 problem. Rather than plain sleeves, I decided to go for the slightly ruched ones on my tried and trusted summer dress pattern 6093. (I was initially tempted just to make a new 6093 for this project, but the skirt panels are cut on the bias and quite wasteful of fabric, and after all this time I wanted to use as much of the material as possible).

Talking of which. . . When I laid out the pattern pieces for my adapted version of view D there was about half a metre of fabric left over, so I decided to try to add the godets which appear in views B and C. Because I'd lengthened the dress, the godet pieces are quite big. I could fit them in, but only if I cut one set upside down.

In theory, this wouldn't be a huge problem. Although the fabric design is one-way, it's not especially obvious.

The fabric draped in both directions

The only part which is clearly directional is the flower buds, which all point upwards.

Highlighting the buds, and the fold between the two fabric pieces
Realistically, if anyone got close enough to the skirt of my dress to notice that the tiny flower buds point in different directions then I think that my poor cutting out would be the least of my problems! But I just couldn't bring myself to overrule decades of good dressmaking practice and do it. So instead I had to work out a different layout.

This took several evenings, and was only achieved by using my pattern cutting board. It is marked into a grid of 2cm squares, so I could easily try out different layouts and see how much space they used. Because the grid shows through the tissue I could also be sure that all the pattern pieces were properly laid out along the grain. If you draft your own designs, or regularly go off-piste with commercial patterns, it's a really useful tool for working out how much fabric you'll need.

Pattern pieces laid out on the board

Try as I might, it was impossible to fit everything in, so I ended up piecing the back godets: the picture above shows where part of the pattern piece overlaps the 'fabric' edge at the bottom. However there were easily enough scraps to complete the piecing, and I even managed to match the pattern - yes, I am that obsessive! On top of that I was able to add pockets (because, pockets) and everything, even the facings, is cut in the right direction. Result!


  1. Well done! I love piecing - it adds another layer of challenge. I will make this dress out of a handkerchief!

  2. Thank you Kate - I was unreasonably pleased that I managed to match the pattern as well!