Draping in action
As part of the 1930s Sew-along with Norma I’m going to use draping to create a pattern for a simple 1930 dress and shrug. The outfit is based on a 1930 Butterick pattern featured in the book “Paris Frocks at Home.” You can see scans of the outfit in this posting.
The draping technique is very different from what I learned at school. This will also be the first time in over 15 years that I’m relying exclusively on draping to create the entire pattern. Three years ago I renewed myself with basic draping techniques when I draped the bodice for the Dirndl Dress. I’m so excited by the big challenge that lies ahead for recreating the Butterick pattern using an authentic technique from the 1930s.
Norma had wanted to know more about draping. I also needed to see some YouTube tutorials just to get back into the flow. So here are two different teachers sharing their techniques with us. There are as many ways to drape as their are to draft so you will see many differences between bodices and dart placement, dart sizes and so forth.
The tutorial by Tutor Couture shows a technique that is very close to the one I learned in French Fashion Academy. I think this video gives a good example except that the front bodice looks like it’s pulling a little bit at the side panel. It should be absolutely smooth. Since she’s working with a larger size dress form with very straight shoulders there is no neck or shoulder dart. A smaller dress form with shoulders that slope a little will end up with excess fabric needing shaping into a dart. Still, I like the simplicity and clarity this video offers as an introduction.
Sten Martin’s tutorials are more freehand in that he does not draw any grainlines or guidelines. I do not recommend starting out like this unless you have many years of experience. The value I find in his tutotials is that they motivate you to get started and give a good idea as to how the fabric is manipulated.
I hope this answers questions about what draping is all about. It’s basically an exicting way to create patterns and experience the behaviors of different fabrics. To get started, though, I highly recommend the Tutor Couture method first. When you have more experience and awareness with grain lines then you can try Sten’s approach.
Draping tutorials by Sten Martin
RetroGlam Tutorial: How to create a dirndl skirt in your size plus sample pattern in Misses Size 4
Using the technique in this tutorial will result in the correct amount of gathers for your own size and body shape.
Draping the Dirndl Dress
Back bodice drape for the dirndl dress. Note the corrections needed The shoulder dart didn’t look good for a sleeveless bodice so the fullness was shifted to a neckline dart.
Front drape of the Dirndl Dress bodice with French darts. The corrections for the dart are marked in purple on the muslin.
Completed drape of the Dirndl Dress. The skirt portion was created from a basic sheath flat pattern. I provide a link to the tutorial plus a pattern for size 4. You can use the technique for any size.