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Jun 24, 2016

Final Project for Draping Class: THE BIG REVEAL

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!

Jun 17, 2016

Beginning of the End: Draping Class Week 4 (of 5)

Readers, it's hard to believe it but I have only one more week (and a day) of draping class!

Jun 13, 2016

Draping Class -- What I Learned in Week 3

Three weeks down, two weeks (and a day) to go!

Jun 9, 2016

Wouldn't You Have Bought This Fabric Too?

Readers, I was fabric shopping earlier in the week with an old friend -- more about her in a bit -- when I saw this sign at Fabrics For Less on 39th St. (now combined with Chic Fabrics).  Behind it was a cute vintage tractor-print -- quilting cotton really -- for just $1.99 a yard.  It took a few days for me to make up my mind, but I was back there this morning and grabbed, alas, the last four yards.

Jun 6, 2016


Wait! Wasn't it August just, like, a month ago?

Seems that way, but my calendar tells me that it's already time to announce our Sixth Annual MPB Day, scheduled for Saturday, August 13th, 2016!

Jun 3, 2016

Draping Round-Up: WEEK 2!

Readers, I'm two weeks into my five week draping class and wow, are we moving along!

Jun 1, 2016

NAME THAT PATTERN -- Finally It's June Edition!

June is here at last -- a glorious sun-shiny day here in NYC -- and it's time to play!

May 27, 2016

Draping Class -- Week 1 Wrap-up!

Yesterday I completed the first week of my intensive Draping I class (4 nights a week for 5 weeks) at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT).  It was thrilling -- and intense.

May 26, 2016

The Crop Top for Men (and Women) -- YEA or NAY?

Readers, it has come to this.

May 24, 2016

Sewing With Stripes -- Do You Do It?

My draping class started last night and so far, so good.

May 20, 2016

Mom Models the Eyelet Birthday Blouse!

Readers, my mom, Sonia, is modeling once again and, yes, I did dress her up in oversized sunglasses and hat she would never have worn herself -- stylist's prerogative.

You can see the results of our photo shoot here.

May 19, 2016

A Very Special Embroidered Eyelet Project

There are so many things you can make with embroidered eyelet, even a chihuahua fascinator!

Seriously, I've decided what to sew next and it's not zebra-print pants.  Instead, I'm making someone in my household an embroidered eyelet blouse.

May 17, 2016

What to Sew Next or "Would You Wear Zebra-Print Pants?"

Readers, would you wear zebra-print pants?

May 11, 2016

So You Want to Sew Men's Underwear....

One of the best projects for beginning sewists is underwear.

May 8, 2016

Weekend Sewing: Finishing Up My Ladies Tailoring Projects

Happy Mother's Day, everybody!

I found this old high school graduation photo of my mom's today (circa 1948) and thought I'd share it with you.  Teenagers don't look much like that anymore, do they?
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