Update on development of my basic fitting toile through draping
Since publishing the last posting, I have practiced everyday using tissue paper on the dress form. An attempt at creating a fitting toile from a tissue paper drape was not satisfactory. The technique presented in Precision Draping by Nellie Weymouth Link has some good points and some areas that are weak. I have learned this through repeated draping in tissue, pattern creation and one fitting toile in muslin.
Precision Draping does not require any marking for grain or guidelines since tissue paper is used for the medium. This can be a drawback since there is no easy reference for knowing whether a dart or seam is correctly on grain. Furthermore, the tissue paper is fragile and easily tears if handled too firmly.
The benefits to this system, though, offer an opportunity to get practice in eye and hand coordination, as well as real knowledge of how moving the tissue paper over the form creates darts, tucks, and seams. I have also learned some of the original 1947 techniques that helped me realize that a 1940s Pencil Skirt was very different from a 1950s Pencil Skirt. I will blog more about that in the future.
What I have done is combined the good parts of Precision Draping with the technique developed by Hilda Jaffe and Nurie Relis in their book Draping for Fashion Design.
The breakthrough came this week when in just 1 1/2 hours I draped what is the best fitting toile so far. This required thinking outside the box and accepting my body’s own needs. These are:
*No need for a shoulder dart on the back bodice.
*No need for a second dart at the side or above the bust. One dart below the bust is adequate.
*The skirt front only needs one small dart.
*Because of the shape of my backside and a hipline lower than the standard 7″ below the waist, the dart intake is over 2 1/2″. I need two darts that are longer than average. For a fitting toile and pencil skirt the back darts are usually 5 1/2″ and 4 3/4″. Mine are almost 7″ each.
Because there is a surgical mesh in my abdomen to correct an incisional hernia, I have a little puff in that area that will never go away and must be de-emphasized. In Precision Draping, author Nellie Weymouth Link encourages the student to learn to use the dress form lines in ways to enhance a positive feature and detract from an unflattering one. For me it is important to find ways to make a pencil skirt without those darts.
One solution will be creating a six panel skirt with the basic pencil skirt pattern. In the photos below you see the fitting toile with the darts. In the third and fourth photos lace seam tape was pinned along what will be the panel lines. The darts will be absorbed into the cutting line for the panels. This leaves only one dart at the back that I will have to deal with. I’ve read that the dart intake can be divided in half and removed from each seam on the back panel. When the time comes to try this I will share it here.
I have tried using the sleeve pattern from Nurie and Relis’ book but the cap ease was over 1 1/4″. It proved very tricky to ease into the entire armhole as the book recommends. I plan to draft a fitted sleeve using the French Fashion Academy method followed by the alteration I have used in the past since it provides good results.
Once the fitting toile is finished I will have a record of what my basic dart lengths are, the dart intake, the level of the bust apex and more. The next series of lessons will concern how I add ease. For this I will revisit the ease tuck from the 1930s draping technique I blogged about last year. For that I plan to use tissue paper draping until I have it down right.
More to come…
Fitting toile in progress
Front. Notice the very short skirt dart in front.
Back of the fitting toile. When viewed from the side the back darts draw much attention to their length and the short dart on the skirt front.
One way to create a slimmer look and remove the focus created by the dart lies in absorbing the dart into a style line. In this case the pencil skirt will have 6 panels.
The first dart will be absorbed into the panel line shown by the lace seam tape. The remaining dart will have the intake divided in half. Then 1/2 the intake will be take off each seam of the side panel.