Thursday, January 20, 2011

Draping circular/flared skirt (V): Draping Proper

Hooray, this is the final part of the circular / flared skirt saga: draping proper. The whole process won't take longer than one hour, so don't be turned off by the length of instructions.

1. CREATING THE FLARE: You may remember from the previous post, I made those 2" (5cm) long markings on the CF. Once you are ready to drape, cut 15 to 20 cm (6" to 8") into the toile along these line. The further you cut, the wider the flare will be. However, don't cut more than 20cm if you are aiming at a knee-length skirt for an adult. 60" (150 cm) -wide fabric cannot accommodate very wide flare for a one seam skirt.

Image 1

2. Place the toile on the dress form with a straight grain line aligned with the CF line on the dress form. Pin the CF to the stand from the waist down following the lengthwise grain.

The skirt is draped on one half only, the other half is copied. 

3. Turn away the top portion of the toile at a slant from the section that was cut in downwards and towards the CB (as on the right side of the skirt, Image 3). This will allow the fabric to lie smoothly at the waistline and create a flare. It is important to try to turn away the fabric at different slants to compare the effect. I realized that the fabric allows to turn away only limited amount of fabric, if you try to do more than that the toile will pull. So, the idea is to watch and feel how fabric behaves.

4. Next (see Image 2), following the book instructions, I cut off  a portion of the toile above the waistline and made snipped into the seam allowance as far as the waistband (the black twill/bolduc tape we placed on our dress form will show through the toile providing a guideline for draping). Pin the fabric to the waistline as you go. Continue cutting off excess toile fabric above waistline, snipping the seam allowance, pinning the waistline and molding the skirt into the waistline. 

How often do you snip? I snipped every time the fabric didn't want to lie smoothly at the waist. I enjoyed this part of draping so much - interaction with fabric. 

IMPORTANT: Make sure you you don't stretch the fabric when you drape. In my example, the side seam portions were quite stretchy, so I was extremely careful.

Image 2
Image 3
DESIGN INSPIRATION: Now, what you see on the next image is really an optional piece of work. As I said before, the instructions are for draping only one half of the skirt. The other half is copied. But for some unknown to me reason I decided to drape both halves. I followed grain lines as guides. This took me some 15 minutes, and just by looking at grain lines I could visualize possibilities for skirts made of print fabrics. Imagine stripes, or plaid for this particular style. I think there quite a few great print effects you could get with this style... I never get so far when looking at a flat pattern. What about you?

Image 4
5.  MARKING OFF: Now, take a black fineliner (disregard my red lines, they must be black; red is recommended for grain lines) and mark off the following lines:

- Center Front (CF)
- Center Back (CB)
- Waistline
- Side Seam (this skirt has no side seams, so make marks by following your dress form side seam lines)
- Hip Height (HH)

It is always recommended to provide some control points or notches to be able to match seams. 

I also marked the skirt length using a hem marker (in the book it is done at a later stage, when the toile is marked flat on a table)
Image 5
Image 6
Image 7
6.  FINISHING THE TOILE: Remove the toile from the dress form and touch all the lines using a ruler and a french curve. I measured side seams with a ruler and made sure they have same length. (the hem is already marked on this image, I just made sure that the length is consistent)

Image 8
7. Fold the toile along the CF lengthwise grain and copy all the markings to the other half of the skirt. It works really fast, because you all the markings will show through. 

Image 9
8. Mark seam allowances (1 cm, or just over 3/8 of an inch) by adding the amount to the marked off seam lines. The book recommends marking the length at this stage but I have done it earlier, when the toile was on the dress form. 

Image 9
9. Baste the side seam together, or pin it flat leaving appr. 8" to 10" (20 to 25 cm) open to put it on the form or to try it on. 

10. Try the skirt on and check that everything is correct. 

Hooray! The first draping project is complete. What next? Iron the toile, starch it (optional) and use it as a pattern.  

I have two skirts line up for this style. One using a relatively stiff abstractly striped grey fabric, and another one - a plaid.  For the plaid skirt I am planning to do a petticoat. Both will be a part of my Mad Men Project - creating a 60s wardrobe inspired by the series.


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