Sunday, April 10, 2022

Upcycled Dress with Bias Tape Accents - Critique

I recently took a class hosted by my wearable art guild,, on the use of bias and straight of grain tape for embellishment.  The teacher was who does beautiful work. The class was in 2 parts: 1) technique & then build a garment using the techniques, 2) project show & tell with feedback and Q&A.

I dived in enthusiastically with a garment in mind.  My intention was to make a baby doll/empire waist style upcycled shirt dress, in a modified version of the Paganoonoo Rebecca Dress.  The skirt section is made using upside down sleeves with the cuffs forming the waistband and the sleeve caps the scalloped hem.

The result was a bit of a mixed bag and perhaps a work in progress with quite a bit of learning!

What I think works about my dress/design:
  • It is super comfortable! It is loose enough that I can sit on the floor to play with my grandson. This was a key consideration from the beginning.  I was willing to sacrifice flattering for comfortable.

  • The bias tape makes an interesting accent, highlighting the various shapes.

  • The color palette - if the front top and bottom were better tied together.

  • I was able to continue the bias tape over the pocket for a seamless line.

  • The crow patch.

  • The button accents.
What I would change next time (or maybe attempt to modify on this one):
  • The bottom (skirt) section is too high in the front and/or too low in the back. Due to the construction techniques used it would be impossible to lower in the front and possible but time consuming to raise in the back (most troublesome).

  • The contrast between the top and bottom of the dress is too pronounced in the front, with not enough to tie it together (potentially fixable and second most troublesome).

  • In an attempt to make a more fitted bodice I crossed over the bottom front plackets to take up some of the extra volume.  This did not take up enough volume to really work, and makes the bodice look crooked.  I would consider on the next one potentially making it a wrap dress in the front with tie closures for a better fit. (not easily fixable)

  • I pinked the edges on the shoulder sleeve seams, leaving them raw at the hem, then decided to add bias tape to the hem.  The raw edges poke out under the bias tape and look odd. (not fixable)

  • The scallop at the hem center back is too long, and the color stands out too much. (fixable)
Bottom line: Don't be afraid to experiment with new techniques.  I made mistakes on this dress and learned some things along the way.  The best way to learn is to do.

Happy upcycling, Michelle