Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Bye Bye, Drape Drape

The Drape Drape no. 3 Gather dress has been the subject of a few posts, and most of my brain cells over the past month. I have written about this thing scarily frequently...

You know I made the (original) rayon jersey muslin, realized there was much to be desired (though, overall, I was thrilled with my progress), and I proceeded to make it again. Like 6 times.

It's starting to feel like bra-making all over again! :-)

I could show you breakdowns and photos (more than the ones in the posts I've linked to above), but really, who cares?

Seriously though, here's what I did:

  • Traced - that an Olympic sport in itself - and cut original L pattern to make original rayon dress. I wanted a woven dress though (no stretch) so I proceeded to...
  • ...Revise original L bodice, adjusted with FBA, and traced, cut ML skirt
  • Made muslin which was laughably small. It's amazing I didn't have a nervous breakdown.
  • Despaired until my husband agreed to help me try to fix it.
  • He had a fun time drawing all over my (muslined) breasts and slashing the fabric with scissors. (Whatever gets you through, that's what I say...)
  • Redrafted the bodice. Didn't work, so...
  • Redrafted the bodice pattern from muslin markings (that sounds easy but it's like rocket science).
  • Made muslin. Almost worked so...
  • Redrafted the bodice pattern from muslin markings.
  • Made muslin. Almost worked so...
  • Redrafted the bodice pattern from muslin markings. Eureka! Seemed to work so...
  • Attached the bodice to the skirt (went back to the L skirt just to avoid grading nightmares).
  • Last minute: Decided to drop waist by 2 inches cuz the original, ill-fitting muslin's waist was too high. Word to wise: When you alter everything else in a bodice, the waist is just as likely to lengthen as anything.
  • Made dress with fashion fabric. Painstakingly bound edges, spent 2 hours working on amount to trim back seam - it was complicated.
  • Finally tried it on and...

...the dropped waist wrecked the line of the dress, which was then too big in the midriff (should have considered that biggening up the bodice and dropping the waist would have this effect but seriously, what was left in the universe for me to consider?!

Sixty-plus hours later: Dress over.

I will not remake this thing. In the vein of a beloved song that one hears so many times it eventually becomes a torturous twang, I just don't want to know of it anymore.

Now, don't pity me. I can't tell you how much I learned. (Wait a minute, perhaps I can!):

  • Figured out how to work from muslin to paper.
  • Figured out how to alter collar height on one piece pattern! (*The fewer the pieces the harder the adjustments because every change effects every element of the dress.)
  • *Lowered armscyes.
  • *Did really complicated FBA that worked!
  • Learned Japanese :-) (OK, this is not true but I did work with Google Translate rather professionally.)
  • Improved my spatial reasoning re: sewing and techniques like invisible zips and binding.

My husband, a true inventor, having the brain - though not vocabulary, thank God - of an engineer, was indispensibly helpful. (Engineers, please don't be offended that I'm sterotyping you as inarticulate. I also generalize that you are mind-blowing smart when it comes to, let's say, nuclear science or making buildings.)

As a skills development tool, Drape Drape no. 3 Gather Dress, I respectfully bow to you. As a finished product, not so much.

Maybe I'll find it within myself to take a photo of the final blue dress, before I put it out on the lawn for some unsuspecting treasure grabber, soon to own an ORIGINAL K.Line :-)


  1. Hey Lady,

    I love your whole attitude about the project. It's funny, the old saying "you win some, you lose some" doesn't even apply to your situation. It's great you gained so much insight as you tried to work things out with the Drape Drape dress. And you learned alot in the process which is all any of us can ever hope to do. Anyhow, it didn't seem like an easy feat to alter in the first place. So I tip my hat to you for all of your perserverance and stick-to-it-tiveness (wink)!!!

  2. My father's an engineer and not one for the words either.

  3. your persistence in tackling this dress is amazing! my mom is an amazingly talented self-taught seamstress and can make basically anything. i'm hoping i get some of her sewing genes when i get a little older...

  4. Put darts in at the front to gather up excess material - either inward or as a feature!

  5. I think you have accomplished so much with this project, but realize also, that despite knowing all that, not having something fabulous to show for it is a bit of a let down anyway. Someone will treasure it. And you will reap the rewards in many fabulous future projects.

  6. Victoria: When you put it like that, I'm a major success :-)

    Wendy: Damn. I knew that would apply to someone reading :-)

    Miss Sophie: What an inspiration your mother is. I'm sure you are going to be fantastic and you don't even have to wait!

    Kate: You are always right. But the 1-piece construction of this dress makes it hard to do - not cuz you can't put them in, but because it will mess with the line of the dress.

    Mardel: I've got to take the long view, yes? :-)

  7. Aaargh. I wish that I had read this before buying ALL of the Drape, Drape and Shape, Shape books. Although I am a 5'7" RTW 8/10 and a sewing size 16, I am also WAAAY outside their guidelines. I graded up the One Piece Dress, and it worked, and I was so excited! Then I did the same process on the Three Piece Vest, and it is an ever-loving mess. Sadness.

    1. Hey - live and learn, I say. And I'm sure you learned a lot (or so I tell myself!)