1930s Sew-Along with Norma: Upper front and back drapes completed

Here’s an update on my progress with draping my dress for the 1930s Sew-along with Norma

The upper front and back drape worked out well.  I did end up using an ease tuck.  I’m glad I did because with a final adjustment there will be enough room to pull the dress over the head when using the side placket with snaps.

I’ve decided as much as possible to continue with using 1930s techniques.  This meant that I did not use a tracing wheel or tracing paper to true and copy some markings.  I used tailor’s chalk and my different rulers.  Oh, I do miss my dressmaker’s tracing paper and tracing wheel.  Does anyone know if these were in use during the 1930s?  I broke down and did use the tracing paper and wheel when my markings for the side seam needed adjustment.  Chalk marks do not work out well all the time.

I now have a big problem with fabric selection for the finished dress.  I’m draping in a type of polyester crepe called “Crème Fraiche” which I got from Fabric.com last year.  Yesterday I went to order more of this fabric so I can continue draping the rest of the outfit.  Fabric.com is having clearance sales of their stock on this fabric.  There isn’t any left in a color I would like so I will have to look elsewhere for this or an equivalent.  In the meantime I will focus on completing the draping.

I got another reference book on Friday of last week.  It has a section on dressmaking that is the most complete one I’ve seen so far on techniques that date to around 1930s or early 1940s.  The book does not have a copyright date.  I’ll post more about this soon.  What I’ve realized is that to stay true to this challenge I should try to mark the fabric using techniques that were popular during the 1930s.  I’m not crazy about tailors tacks since I need a continuous line to guide my stitches.  I do know that thread tracing was popular in couture from the early 20th century or even earlier.  Thread tracing is a method of using small basting stitches around the outline of a pattern without a seam allowance.  I think this might be better for me than tailor’s tacks but we’ll see.  I have to learn how to do the tailor’s tacks so we’ll see if I can master them or not.  Maybe I’ll just have to do a few more than would typically be used for marking a seam.

I need to ask all readers a few questions, especially if you are interested in learning draping:

1.. How keen are you to see step-by-step photos of the process?

2.  Are you interested in seeing my mistakes, goofs and missteps?  Would the text that explains my errors and subsequent corrections help you out?

3.  Will you sustain interest in this slow process?

I’m asking because there are no words to adequately explain draping since it’s a process of letting the fabric tell you what it wants to do.  This is why I think postings that contain many photos are the best way.  I just don’t want readers to get bored with seeing so many details.

There is a silver lining to the process, though.  You get to see the garment emerge as the fabric “talks” to you.  It is absolutely enthralling if you enjoy playing with fabric.  The thing is I have to be upfront with everyone:  vintage books leave many details out so at some points I use what I’ve learned in school and from previous projects.

I think this is a good way to experience a little of what goes on in a design studio in terms of all the thought and change that goes into developing even a simple outfit.  So let me know if you’re cool with the details and very photo laden postings.

I will post photos of how I draped the upper back and front of the dress over the coming weekend.




2 thoughts on “1930s Sew-Along with Norma: Upper front and back drapes completed

  1. I would like to see photos & mistakes, please. I think it would help anyone who was thinking of draping. Can’t speak for anyone else but I could sustain the interest.
    Shame about the fabric but there must be something similar somewhere.

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