In September, I have been invited by Crafty Monkies to teach an interactive online workshop via Zoom. This is the first time that I’m doing something like this, and when Rachel of Crafty Monkies approached me, I wasn’t sure what I could offer. After a couple weeks of brainstorming ideas, I decided to teach how to draft the Gojiberi Dress with the help of a basic T-shirt that fits with comfortable ease as the pattern block. The Gojiberi Dress has a V-neckline, dolman sleeves, and a gathered skirt that begins at the bust or under-bust line. It has an oversized fit, which makes it the perfect breezy dress for warm weather. Made without any closures, the dress is worn by pulling it over the head, which makes it easy to sew and easy to wear.
So how did I land on this subject to teach? Well, I wanted to share my process of how I create some of my self-drafted garments. Recently, I’ve been doing this more and more, and in a strange way, I like the mind-busting process of figuring out the math, and transferring a 2-D drawing on paper into a 3-D garment on an actual body. There is a level of joy that comes when creating a garment that was designed by someone else. But there are oodles of more joy when coming up with a garment from scratch, and I really want to spread that specific strand of happiness. Looking at all my self-drafted creations, I chose the Gojiberi dress because I feel that the simple pattern drafting skills required to make it can empower someone to use the same principles to create their own self-drafted patterns. In addition, my followers on Instagram helped me decide since the Instagram reel that got the most likes and views this year on my feed is actually the Gojiberi Dress:
At the moment of posting, I didn’t come up with a name for it yet. It was just me having a bit of fun drafting a dress with a T-shirt as the pattern block. The first version of it was made in a Saree fabric with quite a few ruffles, and fun colour-blocking. In the middle of making it, I really liked the silhouette of it even without the ruffles, but since there were metres of Saree fabric available to me, I just went crazy with the ruffles. Then I pared it down to a simpler design and really liked how the dress comes together quickly. I can draft and sew the basic version of this in half a day. The neckline and armholes are finished with bias binding, and the gathered skirt can be made more or less voluminous according to preference. For me, it’s a garment that is “minimum effort; maximum effect”. Then the bells, whistles and ruffles can be added on for other variations and the look of it changes.
The dress itself can be modified to a blouse just by shortening the gathered skirt. Or add more gathered tiers for a longer version. I’ve only made versions where the hem hangs somewhere near the knees, but there’s no stopping anyone to add more tiers to make the dress into a midi or maxi-length dress. Actually, that will be the next version I try. Also, I want to replace the gathered sleeve ruffles with a long-sleeve, and that will make it suitable for cooler weather.
For all the details of the workshop, Dressmaking: The Gojiberi Dress!, please go to the Crafty Monkies website. The course will be held on September 18, 2022 at 14:00-18:00 (BST). I would be thrilled if you can join us and delve into some dressmaking fun. The workshop is geared towards a confident beginner or intermediate sewer. All the materials and tools required are listed on the link here. You have to scroll down to look out for my button to click on to get to the write-up on the page.
The most important tool to bring with you is the T-shirt that fits you with comfortable ease. Because the Gojiberi dress is intended to have a roomy fit, it’s better to use a T-shirt that doesn’t have a tight fit. In terms of sizing, the dress can be customised according to the T-shirt size, and we’ll be doing a few quick body measurements to make sure the draft with fit you. And below is a video introduction of the workshop that you will also find on the Crafty Monkies website:
The class is now open for registration on Crafty Monkies. Hope to see you at the workshop in September.