Fair Fit Spring/Summer Dress Collection - How I Designed Dress 3 and 4
Dress 3 and 4 - Entering the workplace with the Fair Fit Dress
Because I have not worked in an office setting since college, in this part of the collection for the video, I loved having the opportunity to consider garments using the Fair Fit pattern that could feasibly be worn in a work setting. A lot of my students work 9 to 5, and I know a lot of sewists whose sewing time is after work or on the weekend. When you start designing your own wardrobe I think it is important to look at what you really need.
Sewing time is very precious and materials and time can be expensive too. I know that a lot of my pieces may not be money expensive because I'm using materials that were given to me, or repurposed, however I can honestly say all of them are time expensive!
When designing your own functional wardrobe, it's important to break down how much time you have for sewing. If you work a 40 hour workweek, you have family, friends, children, as well as other activities and interests, that could possibly mean that there are only few days out of the month that you can sew. If you have about 12 hours of time per month dedicated to your sewing- that means you might only get to make 1 to 2 items a month for your me made wardrobe.
If you are also considering how many wears you will get out of the pieces, that means you would be designing for a place that you spend most of your time, as well as where you would need specific items of dress. If this place is an office, what does that look like?
For the video, I really considered what I would wear if I worked in an office. In my personal style, I have layered shift dresses over shirts and skirts, or shirts and pants for years. I actually like the look of a "work dress" or "work apron" - a garment that provides a buffer while sewing. As side note - if you sew long hours and wear knits, I discovered you will destroy them because the friction of fabrics rubbing up against them causes pilling.
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Watch the Video to see a break down of the design thought process:
Another thing I learned is that some students could not relate to the sleeveless Fair Fit dress. Presently I have a lot of sleeve variations, but in the past I never had sleeves in early Fair Fit collections because I would design them cumbersomely. It was early and I wasn't as skilled in my pattern making back then.
But in those days I would layer the dress, over button downs and tees - long sleeved and short sleeved. One day one of my students who doesn't wear sleeveless saw me and told me she had never thought about wearing the Fair Fit Dress that way. So for this video, I saw the opportunity to present ways the dress could be simplified in terms of color, cloth, and sewing, and leave enough visual space to allow it to be layered.
Dress 3 is the only dress cut from new or I should say, "unused" cloth. This wonderful lightweight wool suiting was going to be discarded after a show that I was working on ended. This is not a material that I can easily wear in my own life. The weather here is very hot most months of the year, however, if I worked in a very cold air conditioned office I would totally make this dress for myself.
When designing this collection, I finally saw a way I could put this beautiful wool to use. I used the navy wool as the exterior, and used 100% white cotton as the interior contrast. I employed the Fair Fit clean finish sewing method to eliminate all raw edging on this dress, and I used bright white thread to play with topstitching. I also saw this dress as the opportunity to layer it with the gorgeous Deer and Doe Melilot shirt that I have had in my closet for years. I LOVE this shirt, and the combo of the Fair Fit dress with the shirt is exactly what I would wear to an office if I worked in one.
Designing Dress 4
This dress is actually a Fair Fit dress with a circle skirt variation that I will teach in our June class, "Designing with Circle Skirts and Bands." I made this for a trip to NYC last August, and it's made from a lightweight rayon blend that is very drapey. I actually strongly discourage Fair Fit Method students from using rayon at first, because it is hard to drape and sew because of its fluid nature. When you have a lot of draping experience under your belt, then rayon can be an option.
The first iteration of this dress was meant to be light and sporty, however, I felt after looking at it in photos that the dropped waist on it wasn't my favorite for me. But I liked the idea of the design, so I seam ripped the sewing from the draping for my body, and re draped the pieces for Erika's body. The Fair Fit Pattern is designed to allow this, the grading of the pieces gives you more flexility to customize from size to size, shape to shape.
Paul created a belt for this dress, just to change the look and style from sporty to streamlined. And I threw one of my favorite 3/4 black tees underneath to tie it all together.
Overall, this was a way to scale back the design of the dress and all of the sewing customizations to allow some space to feature how the dress can compliment other pieces. A lot of the time the Fair Fit dress can be sewn in such away that it's really a stand alone piece but that doesn't always have to be the case. By simplifying the sewing, scaling back on the color, and choosing appropriate material, you can create a streamlined piece that can be worn lots of different ways.
Ready for more sleeves?
Next week we take a look at dresses 5 and 6 and iterations of the Fair Fit Dress using the raglan sleeve variation. Get a preview of next week's post and watch the full video look book below!
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