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Draping Class #3

2013 September 28
by elizabeth_admin

As promised, here’s the DL on my third draping class.  I will admit that I am totally lost on how to true up the french dart pattern.  I have to start that drape all over again.  Oy!  In this class we were supposed to bring our waist dart bodice in and work on our back bodice.  We draped the back bodice which, without boobs, let me tell you it was super easy.  How nice it must be to sew for people with smaller busts.  *sigh*  The grass is always greener, isn’t it?

Then we took our drapes of the front and back bodice and put them on paper.  Our home work was to sew up a complete (both sides) muslin of our draped bodice and bring it into class this coming Monday.  Of course I sewed mine right away.  I tried it on and had my mom pin me into it.  The fit was amazing great in back.  And for the front bodice, it fit great on me from the shoulders through the bust.  It looked fantastic.  That is, until the waist.  My waist was lower than my draped bodice.  Ergo, my actual waist is lower than on the dress form.  When I put my sewed muslin on the dress form, it fell right at its waist.  Just not on mine.  On me, my actual waist was almost 2 inches lower in front.  But the weirdest part?  My waist was just right on the back bodice.  How is that possible?  Doesn’t that mean my waist is not perfectly parallel to the ground?  Doesn’t that imply that my waistline tips downward in the front?  Weird.



Sorry, no pictures of the muslin on me.  They were indecent.

I think I have to move the waist line on the dress from down at least 1.5 inches.  Which means I will have to rework all my padding.  Not looking forward to that.  And then I will have to redrape both the back and front bodices and resew my bodice muslin in time for class on Monday.  Just thinking about all that work makes me cringe.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my class.  It’s harder than I thought it would be.  But it’s hard because I want my dress form to be shaped like me.  So it will be a little one step forward, two steps back for a while, until I get it just right.

Well, I better get cracking!  Happy draping everyone!

13 Responses leave one →
  1. September 28, 2013

    You know what’s weird? I just did a muslin for the bodice of this dress I am making (it has a large circle skirt and I didn’t want to waste fabric for that on the muslin) – and I had the exact same problem with the waist! I just spent all morning trying to look up alterations for tilted hips/tilted pelvis. Most of the adjustments deal with altering skirts and pants though. However, I found this interesting series of posts about “balance” and how it is affected by posture:

    The most interesting one is here:

    I often notice that my muslin side seams are not totally vertical, and I have been adjusting for swayback and a large bum, but now I am wondering if it is really that I have a weird posture and tilted pelvis bone? It might actually affect fitting for things like jackets and dresses that cross the waistline more than I had considered before. Definitely something to think about, and look out for on future projects. Also might explain why all my skirts have the front hem lower than the back hem when I wear them (even though they are perfectly even when it is flat). Another thing to consider for future projects. Though it looks like the alterations are about the same as what I have already been doing. I think I may just need to be more aggressive with my changes.

    Anyway, just so you don’t feel too odd, I ended up needing to add 3″ of length to the front of my bodice, and only 5/8″ to the back (I cut with seam allowance, but it was hitting in the perfect spot, so I needed to add a bit there), as well as another 5/8″ to everything at the top just so I could remain decent. My pattern pieces all look so crooked now, it is weird to think it will be even when I put it on my body. I am expecting that hemming is going to be “interesting” because I am sure I will need to take the extra inches off the front hem so it is even when I am done.

    • elizabeth_admin permalink*
      September 28, 2013

      very interesting. If it’s a balance thing, then I won’t ever be able to drape on this dress form because it doesn’t stand as I do. Hmmm… I wonder.

    • Lene H permalink
      September 30, 2013

      I’m quite certain, that the forward tilted waistline is connected to the swayback-issue.

      The problem lies in the tilt of the pelvic area, and that again affects how the legs ‘come out of’ the body/ the angle of legs to pelvis.

      You will probably notice, that if you tilt your pelvis a bit forward to achieve that horizontal waistline, you will feel a stretching of the muscles in the groin-area.

      I have all those problems myself 🙂

  2. September 28, 2013

    I know very little about draping, but I’m going to guess that the answer is your bust. I wonder if you’ve filled out the bra on your form enough? When I was trying to pad out my dress form I found it really difficult to add fullness to the area in the chest that my bra doesn’t cover, but I think I did need a little padding there. It’s actually still a little hollow in that area.

    I found that I had the same problem with my belly when making my dress form shell. I had to add a little extra length at the CF so there was additional fabric to go over my belly that wasn’t needed at the side seams.

  3. Barbara M. permalink
    September 28, 2013

    I have really enjoyed following along with your draping class!

    You’re not alone! I’m working on making the Butterick fitting shell right now. My husband has helped me take my measurements, and I was also surprised to find out how much shorter my back is than my front. I’m pretty swayback and after adjusting the length on the front pattern, then the length on the back piece (I had to make it quite a bit shorter), my side seams were waaay off. Fortunately, the pattern instructions explain what to do when they don’t match.

    Your post was so timely for me because I just got a dress form which I’m hoping to pad out like you have done. Now I’ll know to pay close attention to the waistline and be sure to pad it so the back is higher than the front.

    I’m learning so much from you. Thanks for sharing with us!

  4. vicki permalink
    September 28, 2013

    Maybe completely wrong here but…..You need extra length to go over and down your bust to reach your waist. But if you draped on your body in the first place then that may not be it. No doubt your teacher will know the answer.

  5. September 28, 2013

    I don’t know much about fitting, but I think you may need to add more padding to your dress form in the bust area… Good luck 🙂

  6. September 29, 2013

    T Sedai’s comment is really interesting. I was wondering if it was a swayback issue as that posture would make your back length shorter than your front? And if your dressforms bust padding is off very slightly, that could just add to the overall effect.

    I dont know if it would help but I splashed out on a fitting book called Fitting and Pattern Alteration. The authors are Liechty, Rasband and Pottberg-Steineckert. It is huge and covers so many fitting issues in a very no nonsense manner (theres over 200 pages of diagrams of pattern manipulations). It can be quite pricey. Perhaps your college library might have a copy?

  7. Anne permalink
    September 29, 2013

    Not at all strange. Many people have this. There are illustrations of it in “Fit for real people” by Palmer/Pletsch.

  8. September 29, 2013

    Every sewer should know their own set of measurements; shoulder seam to bust point, bust point to waist, nipple to nipple, underarm to waist besides circumference ones. If your dress form is less than you in any of these numbers it will show up in draping. If your dress form is only 1/2 inch off on the first two, then that adds up to a full inch shorter at the waist. Nip to nip distance is crucial as well as the roundness of the breasts which can be hard to replicate with padding, again being just 1/2 inch off will allow much needed fabric to be less. Don’t be discouraged, I draped mannequins for 5 years in my courses and had a perfect stack of patterns for an imaginary fitting model who does not exist. I continue to drape my clients and fellow sewers to demonstrate all the places they differ from commercial patterns. In the end one realizes even well padded dress forms cannot mimic a real body and your teacher will surely have her hands full with 40 of you who discovered this early on.

  9. September 29, 2013

    LOL… well… my waist tips downward 1″ in the front. I adjust the waist for skirts to avoid that dipping longer front look and with pants to avoid pouching. With a dress, I leave the front waist at the higher level.

    We think our bodies are perfectly divided or symmetrical right to left or – whatever we think – and it isn’t always so. I first noticed that when I was a hair stylist and ears weren’t always in the same place left and right of the head. For some hair cuts, that’s an issue.

  10. Natalie permalink
    September 30, 2013

    I am 65 years old and, as a teen-ager, had trouble fitting clothing because I had one hip that just “stuck out” – no big deal, it was just me! As an adult I learned I had scoliosis which is, of course curable nowadays if caught early enough. But back then, no one looked for it. Mine is a mild case which still causes fitting problems and only now, as a senior citizen, do I have any pain in back or hip from being mis-aligned, for want of a better word. I wonder if that is a cause of many of the fitting issues discussed here.

    • barbara Rosenblatt permalink
      October 3, 2013

      scoliosis is a fitting issue for upper back, uneven hips and different leg lengths, as i found by sewing all of my now-50-year-old daughter’s clothes. i never found it to be an issue of different waist lengths between front and back. that was always an issue with a large bust. there are several methods for correcting that and i suggest you discuss them with your teacher.

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