It’s been a long long time since I draped anything but now that I have this handy dandy new dress form it’d be a pity not to do something new with it. Not that I intend to change my spots -I prefer drafting- but I was semi-inspired to get in on this contest that some home sewers are doing over at Pattern Review (a knock off contest). I could just as easily have drafted the thing but I didn’t want to model it (that’s another thing forms are good for) and being that the form is so new, I still haven’t made a block to fit her so I would have had to have draped a block anyway (much faster than fiddling with drafting and measuring). So what the heck. I draped a style I picked from the Sundance catalog.
Forced to guess, I’d say this is an updated version of a vintage dress, it has tons of pieces. Not that I think that’s a bad thing. I love vintage styles and am always glad when those are recycled. Modern stuff doesn’t thrill me much. I don’t know if you can tell from the photos below but we have a five piece front. The piece list is:
- Center front band (a yoke of sorts, going into the shoulder line)
- Front midriff (cups the bust, ends at the waist)
- Upper front skirt band
- Front skirt
Nothing is this fitted these days, if you look at it on the model, their version isn’t very fitted either. I don’t know that anybody other than this dress form will ever wear it but I wanted my version to be better fitted. Here’s the detail of the front bodice. You can also zoom into the dress on Sundance for a better view.
The back of the dress has a cool detail. Likewise, it has five pieces. These are:
- Back yoke
- Lower back midriff
- Upper back skirt*
- Back skirt
Item #4 is cool. I don’t know if you can see in this picture, but the lower back midriff is a shaped, curved piece, ending just shy of CB. The CB portion of the skirt sews to the back bodice, around the curve of that quasi-peplum shaped line. Here’s a photo, don’t know if it’s obvious but if you look on Sundance very closely, you can see it.
Cut to the chase, the drape illustrates the line best.
Most of the drape is pretty standard stuff. Squish goods together and pin. Roll edges and pin. Drop pins. Pick them up. Stab self. Drop more pins, let them lie there (then I can look forward to having pins stuck halfway into my foot). Stab self with pins again, there was a lot of that. Which end is pointy-er? I’m not sure on some of these. I’m out of T-pins which I prefer and these are too short and skinny for my klutzy large fingers. And dull. Did I already say that? It’s not as tho they’d been used before. I hate cheap pins but don’t use them enough to justify being particular and looking for good ones. As though I’d know which were any good anyway. My fine hand coordination is definitely lacking. No hand sewing for me! I still can’t tie a knot in the end of a thread. Speaking of, the gathers on my drape were just squished together, I couldn’t find a needle to do a basting line and it seemed like too much work to turn on one of the machines for three inches. So, squish, stab, repeat. It would have been faster to draft it if I’d had a block (whine). That’s what was going through my head with every squish and stab.
Before I digressed, I was saying the drape was standard stuff. Except for the back skirt that is. The front skirt was fairly simple, a circular type skirt. Is it cheating to have cut a wedge out of the goods before I hung it? Below:
The back was another story, there’s that peplum-type styled line and to make matters worse, it stops shy of CB waist so the skirt has to reach up to meet it (see the peplum drape sample, three photos up). I figured the solution was to cut out a curvier, more circular wedge, more than the 45 degrees I’d done on the front skirt. That didn’t work as well as I’d hoped. Oh, the other thing is, I don’t like the back skirt on the Sundance site. It’s limp. Wimpy. It’s an A-line skirt, not circular like the front. Boring. A-line skirts are easy (that’s what my first attempt looked like). If the front is circular, the back should be too (design continuity) so that’s what I wanted. I’m not showing round one, below is round two of wedge cutting (you can see the shape of the first go round too):
The result of this is below.
While this was an improvement over the A-line skirt (version 1 wasn’t shown but looked exactly like the Sundance version), I didn’t like the skirt drape above at all. We have one thick flounce near CB and another one off toward the side seam. Sloppy sloppy. I wanted the fullness to be more evenly distributed so I decided to cut out some more (below). By the way, doing it a third time took major restraint. It would have been much easier to correct this via flat pattern making. You’d close up some fullness from those two flounces and open it up in the middle. Anyway, since this is an exercise in draping, and as counterproductive as my inner child pouts that it is, draping is how I finished it. Whine whine whine. Below I’ve cut out yet another wedge.
As you can see from the result below, this third cut out nicely distributed the skirt fullness. Finally. Yeah me!
If you want to see the draping process start to finish, see my web album. A couple of notes if you traipse over there.
- My form is wearing a bra. Although she is the curvy version, she’s not curvy enough. A bra and a couple of shoulder pads fixed that. I was halfway tempted to put the matching black lace panty on her too but decided I didn’t need to encourage those of you who’ve been describing her as a little tart.
- She’s wearing a strip of muslin over her bra. I was taught to do this in school. I haven’t draped enough to know if that’s a good or a bad thing. You’ll also notice I used a small scrap of muslin to bridge the CF at the bust to the form, keeping a gap. I’m not sure why I did that. Really. It seemed like a good idea at the time. If you’re large busted, you don’t want tops plastered to you. Also, I will be adding more gathers over the front bust once I get to paper.
- Oh, you’ll notice that the back dress bodice, near the side seam, is pieced at an angle. That’s not a style line or a separate piece. It was only after doing the gathers at the CB neck and waist that I figured out my muslin was too small to reach the side seam and I didn’t want to start all over again with the gathering (stab, drop, repeat) so I pieced it with a scrap.
- Lastly, this is muslin, notoriously uncooperative. The final version, assuming I get to that, will be in something drapey, rayon probably. As such, the dress will need to be larger to provide some wearing ease. I will make the final pattern one size larger to get the same effect.