Staatliches Bauhaus, commonly known simply as Bauhaus, was a German art school operational from 1919 to 1933 that combined crafts and the fine arts, and was famous for the approach to design that it publicised and taught. Wikipedia
I recently attended the 2018 DesignXri Designer’s Ball. The theme was Bauhaus Bash in honor of the Bauhaus design movement’s 100th anniversary. Predictably, if you give talented, creative people a spark of inspiration, you get remarkable results. I knew I would have to come up with something good!
To achieve this look, I went shopping in my closet. The dress was just a simple black knit dress that has been hanging around waiting for warmer weather. When you look at Bauhaus designs, you see a lot of simple shapes, primary colors, high contrast and humor. That inspired me to make a pattern of bold stripes and circles. Easiest (and most reversible) way – duct tape. I applied the stripes just by eye. The circles are made by layering strips of tape on my cutting mat and using a utility knife to cut out the circular shapes.
The element that really makes the outfit is the “sleeves.” The sleeve apparatus is made from two inexpensive plastic IKEA placemats, some ribbon, some cable ties, and one strategically placed safety pin.
Add some slicked-down hair, red lipstick and a sense of adventure and the outfit is done!
The whole thing took about 4 hours to put together – or 8 if you count all of the time I spent browsing the internet.
I really can’t say enough about this great event. For some great photos of how other people interpreted the theme, check out JTJ Photography. For more information on DesignXri, check out their website:http://www.designxri.com
Fortunately, I already had a plan in place, so I hit the ground running when I finally started.
The black stretch fabric I used for the main color was challenging to cut. To get the best result, I used my sharpest scissors and put a fresh blade in my rotary cutter. When cutting stretch fabrics with a rotary, it is especially important to apply pressure from directly above where you want to cut. If you apply pressure at an angle, the fabric will stretch away from you as you cut. The greater the angle, the greater the distortion.
Main fabric: stretch poly twill
Lace: Cotton embroidered on nylon mesh
To make sure that the lace pieces would come together in a pleasing way, I first laid the lace over the pattern piece. Then I identified where the “X” stitching lines would fall. I shifted the piece until I was happy, then marked the placement with a couple of pins. I put the pattern piece on top, then cut it out. I used this process for all four lace sections. After all that, cutting the gray background fabric was a breeze!
Before getting to the directions in the pattern envelope, I basted the lace and lining pieces to each other. Because my serger was ready to go, I used an overlock stitch (with the knife up) to put them together.
The next part was assembling the four pieces making up the front into a single piece. I have never done any quilting, but I imagine that the process is very similar. First, I sewed the top section to the right side triangle. Then I sewed the bottom section to the left side triangle. I pressed the seams open. Then I carefully pinned the two pieces so the “X” met exactly in the center. I measured twice. Then I stitched the third and final seam, pausing a few times to check and re-check my alignment. Success!
The only problem was the fabric itself. I once again needed to help the machine along by adding strips of wash-away stabilizer.
The back was made of two pieces, joined by a 22 inch zipper. So assembling the back did not require matching an “X.” Sewing those pieces was much less nerve wracking.
From this point, putting the dress together goes the same as any other back zip dress. I changed the neckline from using a facing to using bias tape, but everything else was the same as the pattern.
I put it on ready to be amazed at its awesomeness. After all, it looked great on the hanger. Alas, the fit was far from amazing. Although the fitted part of the dress (bustline and up) looked good, the loose fitting lower half was boxy and unflattering. It did not have the gentle waist curve and drape I expected from looking at the pattern illustration. Part of that was because the heavy black stretch fabric did not drape well. But I felt that the dress would be more flattering if I took in the sides a bit below the bust.
New size seam to go where pins are placed.
New seam-line marked with white pencil.
Fabric needs to be reduced between the pins.
New back darts marked with white pencil
So, it was back to the sewing machine, the seam ripper and the iron. Still not happy, I added a few small darts in the back, between the waist and hip. A little while later, I had my modified style.
I trimmed the seam allowances, it hung a lot better…. but….
I still had more fitting to do. I took the sides in some more and took the darts out. Finally, it looked like I had imagined.
A quick hemming session, a final press and it was done!
I think if I make this pattern again, I might try doing it in a mid to heavy weight knit omitting the zipper. It would be really flattering in complementary colors with topstitching. Maybe in a long sleeve version? It would also be nice in a lighter weight woven in the sleeveless view for spring and summer.
Hey – why don’t you vote for me? The voting period is from the 17th to the 22nd.
Even if you don’t vote, it’s worth taking a look at the other contest entries on patternreview.com. I’m really impressed and also have serious shoe envy.
One of the resources everyone who sews should check out is patternreview.com. There you will find a huge database of user-submitted reviews for just about every pattern out there. It’s a great place to check out what others think of a pattern before you shop – or when you get stuck.
Pattern Review runs a bunch of contests and challenges over the course of the year. I’ve never done one before, but 2018’s first challenge sparked my imagination. EntitledThe 2018 Match Your Shoes Contest, the idea is that entrants use a pair of shoes as inspiration for building an entire outfit. Everything except foundations and accessories has to be sewn by the entrant (although not necessarily for themself).
Oh boy! Who among us doesn’t have a pair of shoes they couldn’t resist, but then never wears?
Last year I bought these calf-height boots so that I could be stylish in the cold weather. That has happened exactly once. I still love the boots, but I just don’t know what to wear with them. So they became my inspiration piece.
Now I have until February 15 to pull together my shoe-inspired outfit.
The boots have an interesting combination of simple black leather topped with a black snakeskin-textured band. They have an easy sensibility. These are walking-around shoes – not night at the opera shoes. So my ideal outfit would be a little special, but easy to wear strolling around town. I would also like it to reflect the boots’ interesting monochrome textural differences.