Make It: Draft a Pattern for a Givenchy Inspired Rugby Dress

I will show you how I made my Givenchy inspired rugby dress. I got my inspiration for this design whilst on a shopping trip to Selfridges. Unfortunately I could never afford the real thing so I thought I would make my own version. I opted for a red, orange and teal colour block design made up of asymmetrical shapes. It will be a close fitting knee length dress with full length sleeves and will have a contrasting white over sized collar and button placket. For more on my design process click HERE.

sew a givenchy rugby dress
Left: The original Givenchy dress. Middle & Right: My designs

This is part 1 of a 2 part post. In part 1 I will go through how I drafted the pattern. In PART 2 I will show you how I sewed the dress and the reveal the pictures of the final dress!!!

How to make a Givenchy inspired rugby dress:

What you require:

  • 3 x 1 m of jersey fabric. 1 m of each colour.
  • 0.8  m  of jersey fabric for the collar and button placket
  • 4 x 100 m spools of thread to match the colour of the fabrics
  • 6 x buttons
  • Ball point needles
  • French rule
  • Ruler
  • Tissue paper
  • Pencil

Draft the Pattern:

Choosing your block:

The first thing I needed to do was to choose my block. As I was sewing with a stretch fabric I didn’t have to worry about the inclusion of zips or darts, which makes life a bit easier! A couple of months ago I received McCalls M6886 free with a copy of Love Sewing magazine. It looked like the perfect starting point as it was a plain close fitting jersey dress. There were no fancy design details such as gathering or pleats. Therefore, I wanted to use it as the block for my design. I selected view C for the body of the dress and used the sleeves from view B.


McCalls M6886
McCalls M6886 dress pattern

If you don’t have a suitable pattern that you could use you could always draft your own block. There a couple of ways that you could do this e.g.

For drawing your own pattern block from scratch:

To convert a woven dress pattern to a dartless block

This is what I did for my Balmain inspired dress and my Alexander McQueen inspired dress.

Adapt the block:

1) Trace the pattern pieces for the dress front, dress back and sleeves on to tissue paper.
For the McCalls M6886, you only get a pattern piece for half the dress front and back. This is because it is designed to be cut on the fold. However, as my design uses assymetric shapes I need to have a pattern piece for the full dress front. To do this I traced one side of the McCalls pattern, fliped over my tissue paper over and drew the second half.

sew givenchy rugby dress
Trace the pattern pieces for the dress front, dress back and sleeves

2) Amend the neckline on the dress front.
The pattern I was using had quite a deep neckline which wasn’t suitable for my dress as it wouldn’t work with the collar.
So to amend this I took my french rule and drew a shallow curve between the two shoulder points.

sew givenchy rugby dress
Amend the neckline

3) Create the colour block design for the front of the rugby dress
Following my design I sketched gentle curved lines on the traced pattern using my french rule.
I also sketched out the position of the button placket. I wanted mine to descend to my waist. It was 35 cm long x 4cm wide.

sew givenchy rugby dress
Draw the colour block design for the dress front

4) In areas where each colour block section join mark notches which can be used later to help assemble the rugby dress.

sew givenchy rugby dress
Mark the notches

5) Repeat steps 3 and 4 for the sleeves and the back of the dress.

sew givenchy rugby dress
Mark the colour block design for the sleeves
Draw the colour block design for the dress back


6) Cut out each of the pattern pieces.
To make your life easier when trying to assemble your dress keep those of the dress front separate from the dress back. As there will be a lot of assymetric shapes to rifle through!
I also numbered each pattern piece with a marker pen before I cut them out and took a photo so I had a reference point when trying to reassemble them.
You could also mark each piece with the colour fabric that will be used.

7) Add seam allowances to the pattern pieces.
As I was using a dress pattern as a block my side seam and hem SA were already included. However, I need to add SA to the edges where the colour block sections are joined.

sew givenchy rugby dress
Add the SA

8) Transfer any markings to your new pattern pieces and cut them out.

sew givenchy rugby dress
Cut out the pattern pieces

For information on how to draft the button placket READ HERE!

To see how to draft a lined patch pocket READ HERE!

I will be releasing a separate tutorial on how to draft the collar.

Make a toile of the rugby dress:

Before I cut into my fabric I decided to make a toile to check the positioning of the colour blocks. I wanted to check that lines weren’t positioned to highlight my bum etc. It was also a chance to practice fitting the collar and inserting the button placket.

Overall, the fit was pretty good. The sleeves were perhaps a tad too baggy and could be taken in at the underarm seams by a couple of cm. The collar was too short by about 4 cm so the pattern needs to be amended. Additionally, I wanted to make the front a mirror image as the pocket was on the wrong side.

sew rugby dress
Make a toile

Other than those minor changes I am ready to start sewing my rugby dress.

Have a read PART 2 to see the final dress!

  1. Simone

    January 16, 2018 at 7:01 am

    This is not exactly pattern drafting, you just amend an existing pattern….


      January 16, 2018 at 10:26 am

      Hi, Thanks for your comment 🙂 I am still new to this so I apologise for using the wrong terminology. I will be sure to work on this for future posts.

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