1930s Sew-along with Norma: Transfering the Drape, Pt. 1


This posting is part of the 1930s Sew-along with Norma.  Since there are so many photos I’ve created a few postings by category.  This one presents how I prepared to transfer the completed drape to paper.



  1. The drape was removed from the dress form and any corrections were made to the marking.  I then thread traced the new lines.  Each piece was lightly steam pressed.



2.  I then prepared a list of the key body measurements that were marked off on the drape:  Chest, Bust, Waist and Hip.  These are the measurements taken without any style ease.  Then I used a tape measure to measure the amount of width was at each point on front and back bodices.  I added the total of each together.  I now had calculations for how wide the garment was at Chest, Bust, Waist and Hip.  But since these amounts represented only 1/2 the total circumference of the form, I multipled each one by two.

2″ of style ease is good for a closely fitted garment and sometimes 3″ is better.  After subtracting the body measurements from the measurements I obtained from the drape I had a better idea of which areas would present a fitting problem.  For example:

Body measurement at the hip for the size 4 form=36″
Measurement at the hipline of the drape on bodice front and back bodice=9 1//2″+9″
for a total of 18 1/2″ on the drape.
Multiplied by 2=37″ at the hip
37″ (hip line of the drape)-36″ (hipline body measurement)=1″ of ease

You can see that the hip will need some adjustment to provide more room for sitting and moving.  I did not change anything at this point.  I plan to cut 2″wide seam allowances at the side seams so I can adjust the fit when I make the toile.


3.  I get all my rulers ready because it’s good to use a variety when transferring the drape to paper.  I did not show a photo of the patternmaking paper but I highly recommend getting professional quality patternmaking paper.  This is the kind with blue dots that form perfect squares, lines and right angles.  The quality of the paper is such that it’s easy to work with when folding for darts before cutting.

Rulers, patternmaking paper, scissors   and pins should be the best you can afford to buy.  I do not recommend using brown wrapping paper for patternmaking.  Its too stiff and hard to work with.



4.  Have very sharp pencils ready.  A special tracing wheel is used that has very, very pointy edges.  Mine is about 20 years old and is called a Superior Tracing Wheel.  It has to be this sharp because the markings have to be discernible enough for you to see on the paper so you can mark them in pencil.