I ran out of time to make my own pattern for Project Run and Play this week, but decided that this was the perfect opportunity to show how to take a commercial pattern and make it totally custom. Here is my Lion King Dress…
The dress pattern I started with in order to make the lion king dress is Burda 9545
What I liked about this pattern was that the bodice had no darting or extra seaming, and it was a pretty blank slate that gave me the shoulder slope and sizing I needed without forcing me to follow their design.
For step 1. I started off by tracing their bodice in size 9 onto some tracing paper. I like to start with my own blank slate, so that I am not making alterations within the bounds of the pattern paper. After tracing the pattern onto the paper, I cut the seam allowance off of the neck and arm holes, and I lengthened the bodice by 2 inches. don’t forget to mark fold placement etc. on your traced patterns because it stinks to forget to cut something on the fold. I also altered the shape of the neck to be slightly boat-necked as well come to think of it.
Here my altered pattern is on the animal print fabric, you can already sort of see the lines drawn on the front bodice piece for step two.
Step 2. In order to manipulate the pattern and add the fullness I wanted in the tulle layer at the center front waist, I marked the bottom center of the pattern every inch for 4 inches and then every quarter inch for an inch at the center front top. I then connected the lines from top to bottom, and slit the pattern from bottom to within a quarter of an inch from the top. (I hope the picture helps because it sounds way more complicated then it is.)
I then added an inch of paper to the bottom of each slit, tapering it off to nothing at the neck line. I also added half an inch tapered off to nothing at the fold, because once open it adds up to the inch in the center front. The reason I do it like this rather then just adding a wedge to the front is because this keeps the neck angles and the shape correct.
Here you can see it with the tulle pinned to it, I think it makes the splits more clear with the color under it.
When sewing the dress together, I attached the tulle to the animal print layer, gathering all the extra fullness I added to the tulle and evenly distributing it along the center 8 inches of the animal print layer.
I hope you can see how the extra fullness at the front worked out, it doesn’t effect the neckline or the sleeves, but it really changes the front. For the velvet waistband I just measured around the bottom of the sewn together front and back pieces, and made it that long by 3″ tall, since the bodice was straight I didn’t need to add a curve.
The skirt is 2 widths of fabric in the tulle, and one in the animal print, I wanted there to be a distinct color shift from darker blue to lighter blue depending on the density of the tulle.
At this point I just added a zip to the back and bound all the edges with the velvet, and it was done. (I also added a hook and eye to the top of the zip.) The bodice is fully lined in the animal print fabric too, since I had enough of the fabric, and it was the right weight. I don’t know that I will do a fabric flower tutorial, since I think there are a lot of those out there, but let me know if you want to see me do one.
Next I turned to the bolero jacket; I actually used the same bodice pattern for the jacket as the dress, I just traced the size 10 instead. I altered the back piece by eliminating the seam allowance on the back, and cutting it on the center fold.
The front I altered by curving the bottom front, and adding a seam allowance to the center front. (I didn’t add the seam allowance to the pattern, just when cutting)
I used the animal print to line the jacket too, so I cut all my pieces out of both the velvet and the animal print.
The sleeves were a little more complicated, I started off with the pattern that came with the dress, but altered it considerably. I traced the pattern piece which had some pleats in the bottom, I taped the pleats shut to close off that extra width, and then I drew my tulip sleeve lines on the pattern piece and added seam allowance. I’m not sure that, that makes sense, but here is a picture of the pattern pieces….
They look nothing like the original sleeve, but they use the same curve as the upper sleeve of the original one so I already knew it fit the arm scythe.
Now if you look closely you are going to notice this is a cap sleeve rather then a full sleeve like the pattern, that is a change that was made after the jacket was put together. Emmie said it was hitting her arm a little too high, so I opened the armhole up more, eliminating the underarm portion of the sleeve. The collar is just one I made up on the fly, so sorry no pattern pieces for that one. After everything was done I added a hook and eye at the top, and embroidered the gold passing thread in the running stitch around the edges.
Anyway, this isn’t a complete pattern for the dress by any means, (since that already exists through Burda,) but I hope it helps show how easy it is to alter an existing pattern to the custom look you want.