I was reading my blogs the other day and came across Alice & Co in the South Pacific. Warning clicking this link will make you green with envy! About half way down the post there is a picture of Alice in a spiral dress which immediately got me thinking about how I could make such a thing. Fortunately Alice is a friend and very kindly gave me the secrets of how to cut the pattern. It’s actually made from one piece of fabric which is cut on the straight grain but, cleverly, once you sew the one long seam that runs around your body, you end up with a dress that sits on the bias.
As the technique is Alice’s I won’t divulge how you make the pattern here but it really is extremely clever and hopefully you will agree that it makes a very flattering dress. The pattern took me quite a while to draw up, mainly because it’s on such a big piece of paper and I didn’t have a table big enough to fit it all on. Also I was trying to be as accurate as possible with my lines and angles so I could get the stripes to spiral around and meet up in the right place.
There is no room for adjustment once you have cut the fabric out so I made this one out of some extremely cheap jersey I bought from Tia Knight. Cutting the dress out was very trying! The viscose jersey moved at the slightest opportunity and all the edges curled like mad. I also discovered that the stripes were not at right angles to the selvedge – I think jersey is often made in a tube and then cut open, I suspect that the cutter didn’t take the care they should have to ensure that it was straight. It probably took me three hours to cut the whole thing out.
The pattern piece is a bit less than 3m long and about 70cm wide. In theory a 3m length of jersey which is 150cm wide should give you enough for two dresses – if you wanted to have two dresses and if your fabric was cut so the grain was straight.
Having spent so long cutting the fabric out, I then took about half an hour to hand baste the long seam so I could be certain that all the stripes matched up. I am pleased that taking the effort to do this paid off – even I can’t see the seam in the picture above but it is there!