I am working my way through many fitting issues now that I have a custom made dress form. The French Fashion Academy drafting system is not working out for me as it did in the past. I have decided to try draping instead. I think I am making progress with creating a basic toile. I am using the updated edition of “Draping for Fashion Design” by Hilda Jaffe and Nurie Relis as my guide. I provided a brief review of this book in 2013 but will post about the updated version once the toile is fitted and finalized.
The difficulty I was having with the French Fashion Academy method is that the intricate series of steps and measurements needed so many tweakings to accommodate the changes surgery made to my body. As in altering a commercial pattern, all it takes is one adjustment in an area to set off a series of adjustments needed to other pattern pieces.
Even the draped toile has been a challenge. At least the results look flattering and for this reason I shall persevere. The fit of this toile will be more relaxed since this is a system created in America where our concepts of fit are different.
The major challenges lie in positioning the darts. For the basic I follow the instructions in Jaffe and Relis’ updated book. The bodice front and back vertical darts are positioned at the princess lines. The first darts near center back of front and back skirts are also positioned near the princess lines. This may be technically correct but visually I think they look too close and unflattering. After resolving all fitting matters I will try moving the first skirt darts and the vertical bust dart slightly to the left of the princess seam. I think 3/8 to 1/2″ will be sufficient. Or else right in the middle of the waistline of each piece.
The sleeve you see here is a combination of drafting and a little bit of draping that involves smoothing and easing the cap into place. This is the unfitted sleeve. I want to focus on the ease first. Once that is worked out I will try a fitted sleeve with elbow dart. Following this system I have 1 1/4″ of ease in the cap. That is a lot. But the instructions are to ease stitch the entire cap and work out shrinking the ease after the cap is fitted to the armhole. This means removing the sleeve after all that pinning and easing to steam out the excess ease. I have to see how this will work.
Stay tuned. Slow but steady progress is underway…
Photos of the toile so far along with how the paper pattern will look after the drape is copied to pattern paper