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The Future is Now

July 22, 2012

I'm overdue for an entry in our "From Screen to Closet" series, but luckily, inspiration struck recently. I was at an entertainment expo, visiting the booth for the upcoming "Star Trek" video game, and found myself waiting in a long, unmoving line. As I stood there, I had the opportunity to watch booth attendants come and go, and all of the ladies there were wearing dresses based on the ones seen in the recent J.J. Abrams reboot of the franchise. I was so struck by the modern, clean lines of the dresses that it took me a while to notice the seaming on the skirts. The more I looked at these costumes, the more I thought the style would adapt perfectly to day wear. I made a quick sketch while I waiting in my line, so I could whip up my own version when I got home.

1-TrekDress.JPGTo put this dress pattern together, I turned to my stash of patterns and pulled out three, thinking I could combine various elements of them to get the look I was after. The sports bra in the Kwik Sew on the left is one I have made many, many times, and I know (and like) exactly how it fits through the bust. The Jalie pattern in the middle (now out of print, I believe) has a raglan cap sleeve and fitted bodice that I knew would be a great base for my dress pattern. And the elderly Butterick pattern on the right has a simple, basic skirt that I felt would easily lend itself to adaptation. If you have a good pattern library, you probably have patterns that have similar characteristics.

Time to start combining pattern elements, Dr. Frankenstein style! First, I traced out the sleeve and the upper bodice sections from my Jalie pattern. I knew I would be altering and shortening this section along the bottom edge, so I didn't bother to finish tracing that area. You can see how I initially traced the front neckline exactly, but then redrew it with a subtle V.

Once I had the bodice pieces traced, I pulled out my tried and true sports bra pattern to refine what I already had on paper. Knowing that this particular pattern perfectly hits right below my bustline, I set it on top of the other pattern to determine the bottom edge of my bodice. I also used it to create my dart, though I did not do a direct tracing of the dart here. I just used it as a guideline for placement and depth.

I did the same thing with the back of my Frankenpattern, using the sports bra to guide the length of my back bodice.
(Also, aren't you DEEPLY impressed by my fancy pattern paper? I realized recently that I have a lot of notebooks sitting around unused; reduce, reuse, recycle!)

7-TrekDress.jpgTracing the skirt was a fairly simple affair. I just had to match the width to the bodice where the two would join, and then taper that width (which was slightly narrower than my original skirt pattern) out to the width of the lower skirt. I also shortened the skirt a bit.

Once I had my skirt pieces traced, I drew in the seam line that would create the pieced effect I liked so much on the costumes that had inspired this project, marked them with a double dash (so I will know where to join the individual pieces) and cut the side skirt from the center piece. 

Now, if you just cut those pieces out as-is and assemble your skirt, you're going to find that things have shrunk a bit! The also probably won't fit together quite right. Don't forget: You need some seam allowance! Since this is a very simple piece, I just cut a little extra at those lines when I cut my fabric -- 1/4 inch, since that's the seam allowance I was working with for other pieces as well.

9-TrekDress.jpgNow, to create the trim at the raglan sleeve seams and the binding for the neck and sleeve edges, I used a scrap of black lycra to cut strips about 1 3/4 inches wide. For my raglan seams, I first stitched my strips along the edges of each piece in roughly the middle of the strip width. 

10-TrekDress.jpgThen, I folded the trim so that all raw edges met, and basted along the edge. You can see below that my initial run of stitching was not quite in the center of the trim. I just trimmed that extra fabric off after basting it into place, and made sure to use the same distance from the edge when sewing my subsequent pieces.

11-TrekDress.jpgHere is what one of the sleeves looks like with both edges of trim in place, ready to join with the body of the garment.

12-TrekDress.jpgHere is what the garment looks like with the sleeves sewn to the back of the bodice. Because I used a contrasting trim (the movie and booth attendant costumes had colors that closely matched the rest of their dresses), it creates a neat design line.

I sewed together the rest of the garment, which is all pretty basic so I won't bore you with each step. I bound the neck and sleeve openings with the same lycra I used for the raglan sleeve trim. Here's a closeup of one side of the completed bodice:

14-TrekDress.jpgAnd here's the dress, all assembled. The shot on the dressform shows the color a little bit better, but the one on the mannequin is a better example of how the garment fits.


15-TrekDress.jpgI love this dress -- even more than I expected to! I used a medium-weight rib knit for the body, which gives it a little shape that a drapier knit wouldn't have. I love that I can wear this in the warmer months as-is, but I can easily see it layered over a turtleneck and tights with a pair of chic boots for autumn and winter wear. And I really love that it looks ultra modern and even a little futuristic, but doesn't read as costumey at all. This would also be a great one to make running dresses out of, now that I have a pattern at the ready!

Do you ever combine multiple patterns for a custom design? It's something I love doing, though it does often involve some tweaking along the way. It's so rewarding, though, when the resulting look is truly one-of-a kind.

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1 Comment

You did a great job on this! I really like the lines of it, and without the expo setting, I don't think it would look too futuristic at all!

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Holly Frey published on July 22, 2012 6:47 PM.

Pintuck Pillow was the previous entry in this blog.

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