I’ve been wanting a Mondrian dress since the late 1960s and have been looking for an affordable original dress pattern for a few years now, and even bought the Great British Sewing Bee book because it had the pattern in it. However, I was quite disappointed that it isn’t a very sophisticated pattern and seems to be just a shift which had been broken into parts with individual straight strips for the bands.
I found myself in my pattern making class with a lack of projects and asked Sarah if we could draft a pattern for a Mondrian dress and she accepted with alacrity. We immediately started visiting various versions on the web and it appears that there are a plethora of them…
I do like the long sleeved version and think I might have to have one of these in my future at some point.
We focused on the ones with the centre band as they reflect this monochrome one that I fell in love with in the Bath Fashion Museum.
A trio of versions, but those boots are making me hyperventilate!
To the process: we took my basic bodice block and pivoted the neck dart into the side seam perpendicular to the bust apex. We then drew on the bands and the pattern pieces were traced off. We decided to eliminate the side seams on the middle and lower dress sections as many of the photographs we looked at appeared to have no side seams.
The top band took on an interesting shape, and it is obvious where the dart was pivoted if you look at the band on the right hand side of this photo. We spent some time considering the width of the bands. There seems to be a variety of different widths of band, but I still like the version I saw in Bath, with strong bands and a more prominent lower band. I like that the bands were cut in a complete section rather than in strips. This used a lot more fabric but gives a much cleaner finish on the dress, so totally worth it. The pattern is laid on the blue fabric for illustrative purposes only.
The upper front and back panels were sewn into crosses with the intersections being snipped within a whisker of where the stitching would be. A tip that Sarah gave me was to sew with the band on top to make pivoting easy and it worked brilliantly. The side panels were set in as a complete square and the centre back seam has an invisible zip included.
The neckline and armholes are finished off with bias binding. I am so sorry that I didn’t get photos of each of these steps, but I am going to make another one or two, so will try and capture the processes then.
The dress is often described as “A-line” and so we made it slightly flared through the body, but I think that it finished up a little bit wide at the bottom. We subsequently re-drafted the pattern so my next version will be much straighter.
Because I was so unprepared to make this, we sewed the dress with fabric from Sarah’s stash – some lovely linen/cotton blend in three different colours. That oatmeal colour is probably not what I would have chosen but I love it. I wore the dress to the Rodriguez concert in King’s Park and it was ideal for a balmy evening.
I decided that it was the perfect dress for our Christmas Eve dinner at Tom and Bridgette’s house. To make it a touch more festive I added some bling in the form of a brooch that had belonged to Mark’s grandmother. Several of the versions I saw on the web had large round brooches on the yoke, including the monochrome dress.
I decided to use this dress for the Designin’ December challenge being organised by Linda from NicedressthanksImadeit. Mine is more of an interpretation than a direct copy, but I think it’s recognisable as a Mondrian dress.
I’d like to take this opportunity to wish all my followers a wonderful holiday season and happy new year.