I started with the bodice for New Look 6723, which I've made up twice before. I thought the fit was excellent, and I figured that a princess-seamed bodice would be easier to modify and adjust than one with darts. According to the pattern envelope for Simplicity 4070, a strapless version would simply involve cutting off the top portion of the bodice, right before the curve of the princess seam got too extreme. This, by the say, is foreshadowing for later. I should've known that it wasn't going to be that easy.
After doing some research online (which consisted of going to other sewist's blogs and hoping for snapshots of strapless dress bodice patterns so I could see what it was supposed to resemble), I took my pattern pieces and proceeded to make my adjustments. This was done very scientifically by holding the tissue up to my chest and using a highlighter to mark where I thought I wanted the neckline to be. I even made it a sweetheart neckline. Then I took the marked up tissue and used it to draw a new pattern onto some cheap wrapping paper. Easy, right?
|Check out my ghetto green highlighter markings!|
|Comparison of my new pattern pieces with the originals.|
I was so pleased with my new awesome pattern that I immediately cut it out in my fashion fabric. Nope, didn't make a muslin. Didn't even try to cut out the lining first. Needless to say, when I sewed it up, it didn't fit. What was perfect fit for a dress with straps was waaaay too loose for a strapless bodice. Plus, since I wasn't going to be wearing my normal bras with this dress, it was definitely too big in the bust area. Unfortunately, attempts to correct this by taking in the princess seams resulting in weird puckering and bulging. Undaunted, I made corrections to my pattern pieces and cut out a lining. AND ATTACHED IT. Weird bulges and all. I'm not really sure what I was thinking. Maybe that they would magically disappear?
|Gaah! Weird bumps!|
|Look, Tim Gunn, I made it work!|
|Pleating isn't as hard as I thought.|
|Sexy schoolgirl...it's like a bad anime stereotype in a dress!|
I decided to treat the whole ordeal as a kind of wearable muslin experiment type thing. After all, my real strapless dress is going to be a knock-off of Anthropologie's Cirque A Line dress. At least now I have a more or less working strapless bodice pattern, and I realized that inserting boning is the least of my worries when it comes to strapless dresses. Oh, and I also learned to think before I sew. Actually, I'm not sure I really learned that, since my mom has said this to me on multiple occasions, and yet here I go again!
|Look at my drawing on the computer skills!|