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.
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|
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!