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Sep 29, 2016

Draping and Tailoring Class UPDATES

This fall I'm taking two classes at Fashion Institute of Technology: Ladies Tailoring III and Draping II.

We're already about one month into the semester.  After the two intensive classes I took over the summer (Draping I and Flat Patternmaking II) the two evening classes I'm taking now, which meet only once a week, feel like they're moving slowly.  Of course, the benefit of a slower class is that you have more time to absorb the material.  The downside is that it's easy to lose momentum with an entire week between classes; at least, that's how it is for me.

In my draping class, which focuses on soft silhouettes like dolman sleeves and cowl necklines, we spent the first few weeks creating a fitted torso sloper.  We draped our dress form directly rather than working from measurements and creating a flat pattern on paper.  (With draping, you're pinning and marking muslin, then transferring your markings onto paper.)

Pinning out the fullness (these will be darts).

We then traced our paper pattern onto oaktag to create a sturdy fitted torso sloper we will use to trace future patterns.  Next we took the fitted torso sloper and added a dolman sleeve.  We learned how to do this using both the flat patternmaking method as well as the draping method.  Below you can see how we traced the fitted bodice sloper (the back) and added the dolman sleeve following a basic formula.

Here's my fitted torso sloper with the dolman sleeve on the dressform.

For our next class, our assignment is to create a "complete dolman variation" in muslin.  Using the pivot method, I transferred the front shoulder dart to below the bust and added a fitted hip yoke and midriff yoke; the fullness under the bust will be gathered above the midriff yoke.  I also changed the neckline.  I'm using both draping methods and flat patternmaking methods (since I don't have my easy access to the dressform I use in class).

So far, it's looking something like this:

Meanwhile, in my Ladies Tailoring class, we're working on jacket pocket samples.  Below is a sample breast pocket with a single slightly diagonal welt.  Notice that the pattern on the welt is somewhat off -- the stripes should be perfectly parallel with the vertical and horizontal stripes on the body of the jacket.   This is why it's a good idea to make samples first.  It's also why it's a good idea to avoid checks and stripes -- but you know me: I love a challenge!

 We've also made sample piping pockets.

And then added a lined flap.

One of the joys of tailoring class is working in wool: mine is lovely Italian houndstooth I bought six  years ago for Michael at Metro Textiles and never used (and Michael no longer likes the color).  In some ways wool is more challenging: it must be pressed carefully and correctly.  In other ways it's easier: wool tends to be more forgiving and easier to mold and ease.

We won't meet again for a few weeks due to the upcoming holidays, but by our next class I will have already cut my fashion fabric as well as my canvas interfacing and -- hopefully -- completed two side pockets with flaps and one single-welt breast pocket. 

And that's it!  After class on Saturday I'll get to return to my own sewing projects again.

Have a great day, everybody!

Our professor's sample pocket in wool gabardine.


  1. Sigh, I would LOVE to attend classes like that! Fascinating, thank you for sharing pictures and discussions.

  2. It all looks so interesting and so different from anything I do. Some day I'll take a sewing class.

    Do you find yourself hemmed in by a curriculum or do you find assignments liberating? I like the challenge of working within expectations and meeting or exceeding them in a creative way, whether for myself or to surprise, please, or even infuriate a teacher. I would bet your teachers enjoy having you as a student.

    1. I always enjoy the assignments; I like the creative challenge of having to incorporate a particular element (like, say, a dolman sleeve) that might not even appeal to me, and seeing what I can come up with.

  3. I took classes at FIT years ago - got a bit addicted, frankly. I loved learning this way, and loved the access to the industrial machines, workspaces and students. BUT... for me... the BEST part of it all, was the unlimited access to the FIT library (when I next see you in person at some point, I'll give you additional tips on what makes it so great) - You think you know why it's great, but TRUST me, you don't!!!!! AND.... your classmates who are a WEALTH of information, valuable in the both the classroom, and outside design world. Particularly the students from other countries. STAY and TALK. They will amaze you, I promise.

  4. Mouse's thinking is great. And having seen a little more of this project on Instagram, I think your work has grown even shinier this term. (claps hands in glee). Go boy go!


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