Three years ago yesterday I wrote my first blog post on Dressmaker’s Curve, can you believe it? I always remember the date because of the My Ruin song, June 10th. If you weren’t a teenage goth you should probably look away now…
“Digging the hell out of you, digging the hell in you”, ahhhhh memories.
ANYWAY, because it is my blog birthday week, I am going to share a tutorial on how to draft a drape! I mentioned in this post about wanting to change the way I design clothes, to resist the temptation to design only what I know I can easily draft a pattern for. My final collection definitely lived up to that challenge!
Remember this dress? It took me a fair while to figure out how to draft the drapey bit, or swag if you will. It really isn’t that hard but I couldn’t find many helpful resources online when I was doing it, so here goes.
This could be quite a fun pattern hack for any relatively unfussy dress, blouse, or skirt pattern. The same principle could be applied to adding a drape within the fabric of your dress too, rather than as a separate piece.
When I began to think about how to draft the dress, I found these diagrams, which have been doing the rounds on Pinterest. The most useful in this instance is the third diagram down, because the drapes have roughly the same shape as that on my dress. It’s not amazingly detailed though, so a made a little step-by-step of how I extrapolated from the diagram…
1. Sketch out where your drape will fall on the technical drawing. I designed my dress so that the drape begins and ends in the yoke seam, but if you’re hacking a pattern you may have to work out where you are going to conceal the ends of the drape.
2. Draw the shape onto the relevant pattern pieces (probably best to trace them first, and get rid of any seam allowances), here the dress front is pictured. My drape is 20cm wide at the yoke front and yoke back, and about 30cm at the side seam.
3. Now onto the back, making sure the drape coincides at the side seam. Cut out your drape pieces and label them.
4. Decide how many pleats you want your drape to have, and divide your pattern pieces up. I decided on 5 equal pleats, which translated to 5cm each at Z and 6cm at Y, then I just drew the divisions on freehand.
5. Now you can cut out the drape sections but do remember to label them first, otherwise you’re going to be very confused in a minute.
6. Get another piece of pattern paper and start laying the sections out on top. I decided I wanted the pleats to be as deep as the sections themselves, so that meant adding 10cm between the sections at the yoke W and 12cm at the side seam X.
7. Now you need to do the same for the other side, with the sections laid out as shown, so that they meet at the side seam. Draw around the outline made by the sections, and you’re nearly finished!
8. The final step is to mark the pleats onto your pattern paper and to add seam allowance. I added 1cm at the yoke seams (to be enclosed in the yokes) and 2.5cm at V and U. The 2.5cm allowance is to be finished with a serger/overlocker or a rolled hem (I used this as it was most appropriate for the chiffon) and then folded under when you sew the drape to the dress, so that none of the edges can be seen.
After I cut and hemmed the drape, I pinned it to an old dress to see whether it had worked. And I’m happy to say that after all that drafting fun, it came out first time.
So, I hope that’s helpful to the next person who desperately searches the internet for information on drafting a drape. Because it’s my blog birthday week and I’m feeling extra generous, here’s a photo of me in my goth getup: