I'm done with my final class project!
For my draping class at FIT, we were required to drape a striped dress and make it out of cotton fabric of our own choosing, and complete it by yesterday evening. This coming Monday -- our last class -- we'll all display our dresses, get our grade, and have a party.
I wasn't able to fully dedicate myself to this dress until this week. I'd sketched a few ideas earlier as we were assigned to do, but I needed to experiment with the fabric on the dress form to come up with my design. I explored a lot of possibilities. Among them:
Once I had my design down, I started draping in muslin. I draped the bias sections with my actual striped fabric since my stiff muslin wouldn't drape the same way as my bias fabric. Luckily I'd bought an extra two yards: seven yards total. (BTW, in school I was working with a Wolf 6; my own dress form is a PGM 8. They were close in size but not identical. All draping was done in class.)
Little by little the design started to come together.
|The narrow-striped yoke was created by tucking the fabric, folding out most of the orange stripe.|
Using methods I'd learned in my flat patternmaking class, I drafted a bishop sleeve from the size 6 sleeve sloper our draping professor had us trace the first day of class; sleeves are generally not draped.
I cut the sleeves on the bias and the cuffs on the cross grain.
I made piping using bias strips -- my first piping ever and surprisingly easy to create and to apply. (You can see me make it here.) I also made bias tubes using a loop turner, as I originally envisioned button loops. I nixed that idea ultimately, but I did use one tube to make a bias bow for the center top of the midriff yoke.
The bias piping turned out to have been a stroke of luck, as it allowed me to attach my skirt -- pleated all around and balanced at the hip -- from the right side of my fabric by simply stitching in the ditch. It would have been very difficult to attach this from the underside. Same was true with the bodice: I could work from the right side of my fabric and see exactly what was happening as far as stripe matching was concerned.
We had to create facings for the front and back bodice and use sew-in interfacing on the facings. Since my front and back were two pieces each and cut on the bias, this created more work for me but allowed me to stabilize the bias very successfully.
So here is my completed dress, front and back:
There's a long side zipper on the left side seam and a hook-and-eye closure at the top center of the back bodice. The front top center is stitched together at the neckline and open to the midriff yoke.
This is one of my favorite sewing projects: I think everything works. Even the fact that the fabric was a cotton-poly blend -- initially a disappointment when I did a burn test -- turned out to be a positive: the fabric doesn't wrinkle and it still drapes beautifully and takes a crease extremely well. If I were to make one criticism of my dress, it is that the design is, unquestionably, echt Forties. I mean, Barbara Stanwyck could have worn it in Christmas in Connecticut.
For inspiration, I had created a Pinterest board with striped dresses from many eras. My primary inspirations were a few striped Thirties gowns by Elizabeth Hawes, but every time I hit a snag, I'd ask myself, What would Helen Rose do? Looking through my Pinterest boards earlier today, I found a few other silhouettes and styles that must have embedded themselves in my unconscious.
|A Forties dress by Valentina|
|Helen Rose design from "A Date With Judy" worn by Elizabeth Taylor.|
In closing, this draping class has been wonderful and really shifted my thinking about design. That said, at the moment I'm happy to be done: this has been a very intense five weeks! (I also hope to be back to blogging more regularly moving forward.)
Have a great day everybody -- stripes rule!
|Thank you, Chic Fabrics/Fabric For Less for this $4.99/yd. cotton-poly beauty!|