Hello folks, so sorry for the delay on the follow up from the first installment of this draping a knit dress. My life got away from me for a minute there! Got hitched, bought a house, adopted a 3rd dog (adopting senior dogs is the best thing ever), and have been traveling. Don't fret though; I've finished writing up the entire thing now. As Bob Ross would say - I've encountered a few happy accidents with this dress, and I'm finally pleased with how it turned out.
Last time I left you here. (Oh my, it's been a while!)
When I started this dress I had it slated for my Spring/Summer line. As you can see from my website, it didn't make it. After talking to several of the shops I sell in, I decided to move it to the Fall/Winter collection (out soon!). It felt too fancy for the Spring and Summer and I thought it would make a fantastic holiday piece, and sort of a nice sparkly version of a winter white.
So now that the front is done, I went for what I consider the easiest part - the back. Again, I am using the actual fabric for this dress, since I have a large roll, and because I want to make sure I get the drape correct from the get go.
Once the fabric is pinned on I started marking the back portion.
I measured and marked the shoulder width based on my front measurement. I tend to make the back neck drop a little lower and have a nice curve shape. Next onto the armhole and side seams.
Like the front, I am marking the armhole right up to the plate. I can adjust later if I decide that it is too close to the wearer's armpit. I personally have trouble with armholes being too large and gapey on my body - so I like to start with them more snug and then take out where needed. This is also a knit, so it has some give and move that I woven wouldn't.
Next down to the waist, leaving a bit of ease, as the form is a bit more petite than my fit. (And also an off-brand that doesn't have the same measurements as Wolf ones).
Now onto the pattern table.
Time to start on the skirt! I'm starting off by marking my grain line, since I am planning a flare, and I want to keep sight of that while I'm forming it.
In the points I want very secure when draping I use two pins, a trick I learned in school. I angle them in opposing directions so it's harder for the fabric to try to get away.
Then I start pinning down the center front line of the form.
Typically on this kind of skirt I only pin to the hip level at center front, so I have more fluidity in the fabric as I am forming the skirt shape.
I've been trying think of the best way to explain how I draped the skirt front into this shape.
At this point in time I am not drawing in the hem length, rather just extending the line for the side seam, since the CF already runs the edge of the fabric. I like to determine my hem length when I'm all done with front and back. It gives me time to look at both sides while draping at how the fabric is falling and how I envision someone wearing it.
Now on to the back!
The fabric that I am using is rather wide, and a pet peeve of mine is wasting and throwing away fabric. So I'm using a bit of an unorthodox method on the skirt. I'm using the same piece of fabric to drape the front and back, letting the side seams overlap a bit (this won't matter since I'm just transferring it to paper after this). Only do something like this if you feel comfortable. Since I already like and am used to using too large of pieces of fabric, it won't be an issue for me. As you can see I drew in my side seam to the front, and then struck a line for the Center Back.
Draping wise it's basically a rinse and repeat of the front. Sometimes I will put less flare in the back, but on this style I want to have the same amount of flare in the front and back. Since the body is not shaped the same on both sides, there isn't an easy mathematical way to achieve this using the front pattern. The most technical way I know how to do so is eyeball it until it looks pretty.
A note about draping and cutting on the form. Since my nickname is sometimes "the chainsaw," I have to warn you about geting overzealous with snipping into the waist. I did get a little scissor happy and cut almost too much on the back. My general rule of thumb is to not cut any closer than 1/4" away from your line, which would be the bottom of the twill tape on the form I am using. In retrospect here I should have been a little more careful on this fabric since it is not super stable and a knit.
To apply this to the pattern I mark on the side seam lines, along with Center Front and Center Back. Then I mark it from the waist in 2" increments until I have a shape I can color in, either freehand or with the help of a curved ruler. When marking on fabric I don't worry too much about the precision of this, because it can be trued up to perfection when transferring over to the paper pattern.
Check back soon for the rest of the process!