Saturday, December 31, 2016

Building Block Dress

  I had meant to include a quick write-up about the Oliver + S Building Block Dress book that I used to make three of the girls' Christmas dresses in my last post... and I totally forgot, so here it is if you are interested!

 I really like the idea of this book... it starts with pretty basic dress block and shows you how to create many, many different styles. Unlike books like the Metric Pattern Cutting series, it includes information on how to sew the different styles you come up with, and includes the original dress pattern in sizes 6 months to 12 years, so it's geared more toward people who are just beginning to learn pattern alterations instead of people who do it regularly. It also isn't as extensive as the Metric Pattern Cutting series.

  For me, this book is more of an inspirational resource, although having a basic dress pattern that is well drafted is really nice! 

  A few of the sewing techniques aren't clearly explained. For example, an external facing with an invisible zipper, like I did for Booper's dress. From a quick perusal it looks like most of the ideas are covered clearly, and of course there's only so much ground a single book can go over, but I did feel like the instructions could be a bit more thorough for that technique at least.

  The dress seems to be very well-drafted... all of the relevant corners are squared, the pieces fit together, the notches are in the right spots, and the grading looks pretty accurate. I am a little suspicious of the slight peak at the top of the sleeve in the larger sizes. Otherwise, I had no complaints with it. You definitely need to be comfortable with tracing to use the pattern, since it's all on a single large page, but it's much easier to trace than some magazine patterns I've started. 

  If your kids are tall and skinny, you'll definitely want to make a muslin. I did, based on chest measurements, and I needed to widen the shoulders for Booper and Beckers, who are both in a bigger size height-wise than around. A lot of the versions I've seen from other bloggers also look too small through the shoulders. Next time I'd like to try making a muslin in the size that corresponds with the height instead of the chest measurement and see if that helps.

  The dress is fitted through the shoulders and upper chest, but is intended to be pretty loose through the waist. My daughters have narrow back waists and the muslin was gaping away from them quite a bit, so I removed some width from the back of the pattern for Booper's and Gaiw's dresses. That's not an problem with the pattern though, just a difference in style from what I expected.

  Since this book goes over the techniques of pattern alterations, it's useful for more than just a little girls dress... many of the ideas can be used for womens' dresses or shirts, and a few, such as the pocket ideas, could even be used on pants. It also covers some basic muslin and fitting techniques.

  I bought the book myself, and even though I don't feel like I learned much, if anything, as far as pattern alterations from it, I would absolutely buy it again just for the pattern and ideas, and I found a few sewing techniques that I hadn't seen before in it as well. 

  I used a few techniques for the girls' dresses that weren't covered in the book, such as the mitered corners on Booper's dress, and the welt pockets on Becker's dress. A few more details on what's included in the Building Block Dress book are mentioned in its listing, here

  Overall, I absolutely recommend the book! I'm thinking of getting it for a couple of relatives who have expressed an interest in changing patterns as well. I think it's a really great resource for a beginner to pattern alterations- I wish I'd had it when I started doing that!

  That wasn't nearly as quick of a write-up as I had expected, but if you are interested in the book I hope it was helpful! ;-)

Thanks for stopping by,

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