Thursday, July 8, 2010
Draping a Dress, Part Two: Getting Drapey with It
Hey! And welcome back to my new draping series, which I'll just remind you again are not tutorials, but rather a glimpse inside the process of a draping newb. So, you know, take all of this with a grain of salt, as they say. In my previous post, I talked about coming up with a design and marking the style lines on my dress form. Now it's time to drape! Here's my design, as a reminder:
I should mention that I decided to eliminate the back shoulder darts, as they weren't necessary, and also to add a back slit so I can, you know, walk.
I consulted my text to figure out the order I should drape this design in and it will go like this: 1) midriff front, 2) bodice front, 3) midriff back, 4) bodice back, 5) skirt front, 6) skirt back. Each piece builds on the piece before it. Cool, huh?
I prepped my muslin pieces by cutting them to size, blocking them so they were on grain, and folding back an inch at center front. You line this fold up with the center front of your dress form to ensure that everything's on grain.
Here's what the front midriff piece looks like, draped. (See the fold at center front?) The process is really fun, it's like sculpting with fabric. You use your hands to gently smooth the fabric into place. You want everything to look nice and smooth, while pinning along the bottom of the style lines. Those slashes you see in the fabric are to allow it to curve around the dress form without twisting or wrinkling.
(Another disclaimer! Ordinarily one would add a pinch of ease to the waistline. I didn't because I found that my last draped design had a but too much ease in the bodice. Hmm, is it possible I've lost weight since we padded out Veronica? Perhaps all this yoga is doing it! Or maybe I just like a more fitted look. Either way, no ease added on this one.)
My teacher told me to use flat head pins but I apparently did not listen! I kind of like my cheerful, colorful pins.
Now to the bodice front. The dart excess gets pinned into gathers under the bust for this design.
Now you can pin the bodice front to the midriff front to check in on things. (Pin the pieces to each other on the seam lines, rather than the dress form. This way you can see how they hang.) I immediately saw that my side seam needed to be re-drawn, so I did that with a different color Sharpie. (It's in orange on the below right picture.)
Now, on to the back midriff.
The two back pieces pinned together and looking lovely.
And move on to the skirt! Prepping the muslin pieces is the same process, with the fold at the center front and back to indicate the straight of grain. (You'll also see horizontal grain lines on these pieces; those are called "horizontal balance lines" and they're determined by where your bust or hip line falls.) The length of your muslin piece is determined by how long you want your skirt to be; I went with 24", which hits me right in the middle of the kneecap.
On the skirt front, I converted the dart excess to gathers to mirror the bust gathers.
Then it's put back on the dress form for evaluation. Hey, it looks like a dress!
This is where I caught my back dart problem, so I re-draped the back skirt. It helps to have Sharpies in many different colors - it starts to get a little out of control, as you can see below!
Next up is the tricky part (for me, anyway): fitting a muslin!
I hope this has been helpful, even in its non-tutorialness. Above all, I just want you to see that this is a fun process, and one that any sewist can learn with a little help and practice.