Pattern Puzzle: Kate Rawlinson’s stupid stripey dress

Do you remember the post I wrote about Kate Rawlinson, cutter extraordinaire? Well, I’m back to make good on my threat to post what she describes as her “stupid stripey” dress as a pattern challenge. Below is the dress but you can browse other photos (scroll down and use the pane on the right) for a closer view.

In anticipation of this challenge, Kate send me a sketch of the pattern pieces and let me tell you, they don’t look anything like I had imagined. Even though I’ve seen the pieces, I’m going to do this as honestly as I can based on what the dress looks like (no peeking). I think this one will stump everyone. Post your comment with a link to your sketch or send it to me and I’ll post it for you.

To those who would participate: Grain line markings will be critical on this one. Good luck!


  1. Danielle (NL) says:

    Wow, now that’s a challenge!
    I made a small sketch but feel like I completely overlook something.
    Will have another look at it tomorrow and send in my drawing.Report

  2. I was half-thinking of a suggested layout for 60″ wide fabric while drawing this out, so at least you (Laura) and I weren’t making that assumption.

    I’m a short, slight person, and if this dress were for me, the pieces wouldn’t fit cross-grain or bias if that’s the way the stripes ran. Joining the CF to the two CB pieces absolutely nails it. You can tell from Kate’s clear photos that the grainline is with the stripes, and that she hasn’t done internal piecing of the sections. Look at the piece that goes across the side seam under the arm (second one from left, F, in the pattern pieces) and find it on the side view in her photos. It’s clearly draping on the bias.

    The stripes are printed (or woven) on grain.Report

  3. Danielle (NL) says:

    After looking at it for many hours today, I finally decided to leave it at what I’ve got so far.
    This is my draft :

    I recently converted to a Mac and haven’t fully configured it yet for images and editing. So I will send Kathleen a file and maybe she can post a more clear picture. I do realize I’m an amateur and that shows in my draft.

    What I realized looking at the dress is that the stripes itself are not mirrored, so there is a “left” and “right” in the stripe. In my draft I coloured the grainline with a dark (purple) and light (green) side.
    At first I thought the midfrontpanel was connected to other pieces at the shoulderline, but since that is one piece it would mean that other pieces show an inconsistent mirror. (Hope that makes sense)

    Since all other pieces can be mirrored (left-right) in the stripes I could not connect the midfront piece to another.

    I am very curious about the answer. I hope there’s at least one thing in my draft that comes close. ;)

    I already admired Kate for her artwork, and after looking at for a longer time I admire her even more. :D

    Kate: I am wondering: Why would you name such a dress : stupid?Report

  4. Danielle (NL) says:

    Owww, now I see pieces 2 and 3 can be connected at the shoulderline. I was so focused looking at the midfrontpanel that I didn’t see the connection between 2 and 3.Report

  5. Kate Rawlinson says:

    Carol and Danielle, WOW. You are both way more adept at 3D to 2D visualisation than I could ever be! Carol’s diagram in particular is really close to the actual pattern, but most of Danielle’s is fairly spot-on, too. I’ll leave it to Kathleen to post the pics of my (rough sketch of) the pattern pieces, but yes, the stripe is woven into the fabric and goes with the grain. It is an asymmetrical stripe, but the wrong and right sides of the fabric were enough alike so that I could cut half the pieces on each side of the fabric to mirror the stripes. The exception to this is, as someone has already noticed, the CF piece. There IS a seam at the shoulders, but now I wish I had thought of cutting it in one piece! Also, the pocket flap is cut in one with the pattern piece, as is the back of the pocket bag.

    Oh, and Danielle – I think I actually referred to it as “stupidly stripey” originally, referring to the insane amount of stripeyness! Somewhere along the line the “ly” got lost, but after all the time I spent on this dress I felt that stupid was just as valid a name!Report

  6. Thank you, Kate! Having done complex work like this, particularly back in student days (when the dinosaurs were puppies), I felt a real communion with how “stupid” the construction would feel about thirty hours in.

    (shyly scrapes toe in dirt) Got any more? Yes, plenty on your Flickr site, but it feels rude to wade in without permission. I felt a little odd reposting morphed bits of your photos, even though the accompanying text for the first linked to your site. People don’t always come in at the beginning, or check the comments enough to find the links.

    Have I mentioned gratitude that, other than the unbalanced stripe, this dress is bilaterally symmetrical?!Report

  7. Sandy Doppler says:

    It’s such a pretty and interesting dress. I would be VERY proud of myself if I could make this. I’d wear it with great pride. I hope it turns out to be not as difficult as it looks, if so I will attempt one. However the sensible side of me says it is going to be a brain teaser.Report

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