Draping on the Stand 0.13 – term 3 Tops

I have already done two terms of draping – firstly dresses and  secondly skirts. In the first term I only made the one item – the marvellous circle dress. But skirts were a bit easier, and I already knew the basics of draping by then. I draped and made a skirt every week during the summer term. This term we have moved on to tops.

The first meeting of the term is always a bit tedious for old hands. The induction video (where it appears all the senior management are bald, white, men); showing us the fire escapes, the library and refectory; and this term the emphasis on “safeguarding” and warning us to be on the look out for signs of terrorist radicalisation. Our group of young, fashionable women seem unlikely candidates to me but it is a government dictat that all educational insitutions must be part of preventing radicalisation.

Then we got on with draping a waist length bodice, creating waist and bust darts and learning all the correct techniques for draping and pinning.

Finally we got to our first project which is a torso length blouse or shirt. The purpose of this exercise is to drape the hip as well as waist and bust and to move the bust dart to a more interesting position. We are encouraged also to create a shoulder yoke through draping too.

I played around with a centre front dart as I have never made a garment with the suppression at the CF, but in the end as I manipulated the fabric I had an idea of a neck dart instead. But to distribute the fullness through a large number of pin tucks -say five each side, and a similar number at the back neck too. I also decided to use the same technique to create the waist darts, just making the tucks a little wider and more generously spaced. I pinned first and then later, having cut out the arm hole and neck, marking the waist line clearly onto the linen (with a washable felt tip), I used a tape measure to create even and symmetrical tucks.

Draping on the stand pin tucked dress
Draped dress with neck and waist pin tucks

You may remark that this looks like a dress rather than a blouse or top, but that is just a matter of the length. A blouse can have a back zip or other closure, although a CF button band is more traditional.

Since this photograph was taken I have cut in the armholes, finished the darts, bound the neck and armholes and hemmed the dress. Then it went in the washing machine to remove all the felt tip markings. It is not really suitable for the weather at the moment so I will show it to you modelled, as soon as it brightens up.

Next week’s project is flares. I am thinking about a princess seamed top with a CF zip and a peplum. Here is one of my fellow students from the draping class, wearing a nice jacket that I may like to copy. I really like a peplum which can flatter ladies with a slim waist and wider hips. I am planning to make a fitted, princess line top with a short peplum like this – as I have a fairly long waist RTW peplums never really work for me, so this will be fun.

Peplum jacket
Morley student in peplum jacket

Incidentally I wore a 1940s style jacket with a peplum the first time I got married. I made it from a nice pink crepe wool and a Vogue pattern. The skirt was mid calf length. My bridesmaid/witness Jenny wore a more typically 1980s style outfit. We are in the main room at the register office, Wandsworth (South London)  although, going by the maroon flocked wall paper, you might have thought we were at a local Indian restaurants.

1985 Wedding
1985 Wedding – Pink peplum suit

8 Responses

  1. Hi, your draping class looks so interesting. I’m looking forward to your new term! Did you grow up in Wandsworth? I did. If so, I wonder which school you went to?

  2. I am from Lancashire Joanne! Rochdale to be precise. I moved to London for university and never went back. We got a high rise council flat (which were hard to let at the time) in Battersea and lived there until the kids were a bit older.

  3. You make draping look so effortless! I love the yellow and the pin tucks….

  4. These classes sound very fun. Love those tiny pleats/tucks around the neck and waist. What a great way to create shape.

  5. It’s interesting to see and read about your draping work. And your pink suit shows you dressed in a classic style even back then!

  6. What an interesting post! First, I’d no idea that the government anti-radicalisation prog had become quite so far-reaching, dare I say nannyishly intrusive? Oh well, just another glazed eye moment I guess. I’m looking forward to seeing your finished dress when the weather improves, you didn’t take the easy route then? Precisely measured tucks, I’m impressed.

  7. Love the adorable wedding picture! I have yet to make a peplum top, although it has been on my list for a long time.

  8. What a fabulous class to do! I love the ide of the peplum and your blouse looks really interesting. Looking forward to the next instalment!

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