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Draping Class #6 and #7

2013 October 22
by elizabeth_admin

Hey there peeps!  Long time, no talk.  I wish I could say I’ve been busy sewing, but I haven’t.  To be honest, I’ve been in a bit of a productive slump of late.  But I hope to jumpstart things today.

And thanks for all the great feedback on my last post.  I had mentioned that I wasn’t sure that draping was a practical class for me (or anyone really) if your dressform isn’t an exact replica of your body.  There were a lot of interesting comments on it is just one of the tools we can use but not the be all and end all of patternmaking.  I can definitely see that I could use it in the future as a supplement to what I already do now and whatever I learn in the future.  And no one method is the holy grail.  Every pattern making method will need some tweaks and/or alterations.

So, the last two weeks we’ve been working on the princess seam bodice.  I actually missed class #6 which introduced the princess seam bodice as I was sick that day.  I have a buddy in class who told me what we worked on and gave me the homework assignment which was to make another princess seam bodice so that we could alter it in this week’s class #7.  I tried to work on it on my own, but the textbook left out one crucial bit of information on how to drape it and I couldn’t figure it out on my own.  Seriously, how could a textbook do that?!?!  I thought I must have been missing something, like my brain wasn’t understanding it, but instead, it was actually missing from the text itself.  I was super mad when I realized it.

You start by draping the center front panel and mark the princess seam on your muslin.  Take it off, true up the pattern and put it back on the dressform.  Then drape the side front panel, marking all the seams.  On the prepared muslins for these two draped front sections, you are to mark the horizontal line for the bust apex and for the side panel, and on the side panel only, mark a vertical line in the center for your grainline.  The front panel went swimmingly well.  But the instructions in the textbook left out that the grainline marking of your side panel muslin should be placed in the center of your side panel (the princess panel).  I placed it on the princess line and didn’t have enough fabric to reach the side seam and couldn’t smooth the fabric over my bust without creating a lot of darts.  When you place it correctly, in the middle of the side panel, the grain of the fabric is on the bias when it is smoothed over your bust and there are no extra folds of fabric.  But how would you know that without being to told where to place that grainline?  So irritating.

In class yesterday, I was shown the proper way and had to drape my first princess seam bodice in about 10 minutes, front and back.  I quickly threw it together, trued it up and pinned it together.



It wasn’t elegant and pucker-free as it was just pinned and not sewn.  As soon as everyone had caught up (including me), we started hacking away at our princess seam bodices to create whatever we wanted, like a strapless bodice, a corset, etc.  Some people added straps and one even added a T-strap.  I just went the simple route and cut away a strapless bodice that could be made into a corset.  You know, because every 45 year old woman should have one.  😉

Interesting Note:  Once we drew the silhouette of the strapless shape we wanted on our princess seam bodices and cut away the excess, we needed to snug up the princess seams and side seams at the top of the bodice a bit for a better fit, removing the ease that was inherent to the original draped pattern.  Otherwise, the strapless bodices wouldn’t stay up.

The teacher then taught us how much and where to add extra seam allowances for boning channels and the different ways you can do it.  Very interesting.  And we made up our paper pattern pieces from our muslin.  Oh, and I almost forgot, you should mark the bust point with a notch and notch 2 inches above the point and below when it’s pinned all together so that you have matching notches on both front panels for when you sew it up.

The back panels are draped the same as the front except that the horizontal lines on the muslin correspond with the yoke style lines marked on your dressform.

Next week, we are supposed to bring in some denim or twill fabric, boning and our sewing machines to sew up the bodices.  That will be an interesting class.  In the meantime, I will re-drape my princess seam bodice so that I have the complete pattern.  Once I had the grainline right on the front side panel, it was kind of magical to see it work on the dress form.  The pieces look so interesting in the flat.



And in n0n-sewing news, I took another paint class with my girlfriends this week.  It was a different company this time and I like the one we used before much better.  This company, PaintNite,  holds their paint class events in restaurants where lighting is not optimal, the paints they use weren’t as good and smelled really bad and the teacher wasn’t as good.  The first company we used held their classes in a studio setting with great lighting and great paints, and the teacher was phenomenal.  We are definitely going back to the first one again, PaintNVineyard.  Here’s my sunflower.



I hope to start muslining the Grainline Archer shirt today.  Wish me luck!

4 Responses leave one →
  1. October 22, 2013

    Wow Elizabeth – all that draping sounds such hard work and requires hard thinking. Good for you for getting to pattern stage.

  2. BeckyW permalink
    October 22, 2013

    I love reading about your draping class. There is nothing like that around here.

  3. Wendy permalink
    October 22, 2013

    Having a custom-draped princess seam bodice seems like a great thing to me, and I’m impressed that you were able to do it in just 10 minutes (after, of course, having FINALLY been given the correct instructions. Think of all the things you’ll be able to make with it: blouses and jackets and tees and dresses. I’m glad you stuck with it.

    And your sunflower is beautiful.

  4. November 15, 2013

    Hi Elizabeth,

    Great Blog, there’re a lot of knowledgeable information on you site, I’m wondering if you are interested in apply for PGM Private Education Sponsorship Program, as this program can assist you in your tutorial/articles/blog for your readers!

    PGM has been giving back to Fashion Educational Sponsorship worldwide for over 10 years by donating professional Dress Forms to support fashion educations and students! Our generous program has gain heartfelt recognition from plenty of fashion universities/colleges/institutes such as FIDM, FIT New York, Otis, Trade Tech, Art Institute, La Salle College and many more……

    This new program we are introducing is to expand our network of Educational Intuitions by donating – 1 qty 601 Ladies Half Body Dress Form to fashion design class, sewing class, draping class, to assist fashion instructors with hands-on support to student’s learning curve. The bigger picture is we believe our sponsorship stimulate the creative potential of fashion industry.

    Please let me know!

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