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Hello sewing enthusiasts!

I would describe myself at an intermediate skill level and have been sewing myself gowns/dresses for the last year and a half. Each project has improved tremendously from the one before and I am feeling stuck as to where to go with my next project. I have always looked through pictures and found elements that I like and tried to incorporate that into my next piece.

I am currently in love with Elie Saab and the flowing and voluminous skirts on many pieces, particularly seen here: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/453385887459020015/

I draft my own patterns and some pieces Ive made similar to this involve a fitted bodice i’ve made from a sloper I drafted as well as a circle skirt that is attached at the waist. I have also tried to do a paneled bottom on a similar piece to try to achieve more volume on the bottom.

Any tips/techniques/patterns for how to achieve this flowing and voluminous bottom without adding significant bulk at the waist? Any recommendations including fabric choice etc would be tremendously helpful.

Thank You!

- S


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  • Sewing_machine_large

    Jun 27, 2014, 03.16 PMby bjr99

    It looks like the dress is a chiffon overlay with a lining underneath. It is also gently gathered at the waist.

    I would make a pattern for a full circular skirt with the waist measurement equal to your waist measurement. As is this pattern will lie smooth at the waist and the skirt will not be as full as the picture. To get the fullness, cut this pattern out several times in the fabric and sew the side seams together. You can then gather it in at the waist and have a massive hem. Be sure you let the dress hang on a hanger for several days to a week before you ham it to let the bias hang out.

    If you feel that there will be too much fullness at the waist then slash your pattern piece from the hem up too, but not through, the waist. Spread the pattern and add the fullness in the wedge that has been created. Once agian let the dress hang for several days before hemming.

  • Img_2020_large

    Jul 2, 2014, 05.03 PMby Deanna31

    I would be careful about the fabrics you use. Some fabrics are such good quality that they gather at the waist really easily; almost to nothing, and yet bulk out and flow around when walking.

    In the pic you have, it looks like the top layer is a long rectangle, then they have put a large circle in the middle, and gathered it into the waist. The sides are short – about 20cm long. And then the layer underneath looks like it has been gathered a LOT on the sides. I might be wrong though.

  • Missing

    Jul 13, 2014, 09.40 PMby lauraharbon

    You need to ‘slash and spread’ your pattern. So if you draw it out as a quarter circle skirt pattern as you usually would then cut from the bottom edge of the skirt pattern all the way up to the waist (but not cutting through the top) at say 10cm intervals evenly over the whole quarter then lay this on a new piece of pattern paper, make sure the waist stays intact and stick this down then evenly spread out the slashed bit of pattern to create more volume then re-draw.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T57w2xXRP40 i think this might explain better than I have good luck!

  • 985f0154fdefdf284531d76b36fbffee7a42548e_large

    Jul 15, 2014, 10.11 AMby katexxxxxx

    That looks like two layers of chiffon cut in two full circles for each layer, gathered onto the waist… There’s a third overlayer that only covers the front and back, too, if you look closely.

    • This is a question
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