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May 27, 2016

Draping Class -- Week 1 Wrap-up!

Yesterday I completed the first week of my intensive Draping I class (4 nights a week for 5 weeks) at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT).  It was thrilling -- and intense.

Just showing up four nights in a row is a lot for me: every other class I've taken at FIT so far (this is my fourth) has met just once a week for roughly 4 months.  This class moves fast and, naturally, you're expected to keep up.  Our professor, a full-time faculty member, is demanding but clear.

We started draping the very first day.  Similar to my patternmaking class, we chose a dress form from the dozens in our classroom; we'll be working with that particular form for the duration of the class.

First we learned how to "block" a piece of muslin so that it was on grain, stretching the corners till the piece formed a perfect rectangle, and marking various points like center front, as well a grain guideline which will need to be kept vertical as we start draping (you can see mine in the pic below, intersecting the horizontal hip line).  We draped the muslin piece on our dress form, pinched out two darts in front (and later, two darts in back), marked the side seam, and learned how to transfer the various markings and measurements from the muslin onto a piece of pattern paper.

After making front and back straight skirt pattern pieces, we then used these to create skirt slopers on oaktag (heavy paper similar to poster board).

Later in the week we traced our skirt slopers to make a fresh pattern, which we then manipulated to create a new design.  Our assignment was to design a hip yoke with attached dirndl skirt.  Using style tape, we worked out our yoke design on our dress forms.  It could be any shape we desired.  It would have an attached dirndl skirt (which is gathered where it attaches to the yoke, as opposed to flared).  The skirt could be as voluminous as we wanted provided we could gather it into the yoke.  I made mine three times as wide as the original straight skirt sloper.  I did this by cutting the original sloper into even strips (8 in all), numbering them and then lining them up on a piece of pattern paper (matching the hip line) and leaving two inches distance between each strip.

We trued the top curved edge and then, using carbon paper and a pattern wheel, traced our new pattern onto muslin (with seam allowances), which we then pinned on our dress form.  A lot of steps, right?

The yoke was made by drawing the yoke style line (i.e. shape) onto our traced skirt pattern, cutting each (front and back) out, closing the original waist darts, and cutting and spreading the pattern paper so it lay flat.  We traced this onto fresh pattern paper and added seam allowances (below).

Yesterday, we cut the pattern out in muslin and attached the pieces with pins.  (We used the sewing machine to add gathering stitches to the skirt.)  BTW, we drape only on the right side of the dress form; right now our designs are all symmetrical.

Here's what I made:

So far, I find this process to be much more creative than flat patternmaking, though of course I draw a lot on what I learned in my patternmaking class.  So glad I took that class; otherwise I'd be a little lost.

I'm already considering signing up for Draping II in the fall.  I would also like to take Ladies Tailoring II -- it's being offered but there have to be enough students signed up for it to actually happen.  (Men's tailoring seems to suffer from insufficient enrollment these days.)  Not sure I'm ready for two classes at a time but some of these kids are taking as many as six!

My draping adventures continue next week (after the Memorial Day holiday); I'm very excited to see what's next.  I'll keep you posted.

Have a great day everybody, and a safe holiday weekend for you Americans!

May 26, 2016

The Crop Top for Men (and Women) -- YEA or NAY?

Readers, it has come to this.

May 24, 2016

Sewing With Stripes -- Do You Do It?

My draping class started last night and so far, so good.

May 20, 2016

Mom Models the Eyelet Birthday Blouse!

Readers, my mom, Sonia, is modeling once again and, yes, I did dress her up in oversized sunglasses and hat she would never have worn herself -- stylist's prerogative.

You can see the results of our photo shoot here.

May 19, 2016

A Very Special Embroidered Eyelet Project

There are so many things you can make with embroidered eyelet, even a chihuahua fascinator!

Seriously, I've decided what to sew next and it's not zebra-print pants.  Instead, I'm making someone in my household an embroidered eyelet blouse.

May 17, 2016

What to Sew Next or "Would You Wear Zebra-Print Pants?"

Readers, would you wear zebra-print pants?

May 11, 2016

So You Want to Sew Men's Underwear....

One of the best projects for beginning sewists is underwear.

May 8, 2016

Weekend Sewing: Finishing Up My Ladies Tailoring Projects

Happy Mother's Day, everybody!

I found this old high school graduation photo of my mom's today (circa 1948) and thought I'd share it with you.  Teenagers don't look much like that anymore, do they?

May 4, 2016

Shopping For Bouclé + "I Underestimated This Fabric Store!"

Friends, I'm not formally participating in Me-Made May since I wear me-mades almost every day.

May 2, 2016

Things I Don't Get, Vol. 18 -- Red-Carpet Fashion Obsession

Tonight's the night, readers!

It's the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Benefit, which coincides with the opening of the Institute's latest show, "Manus X Machine: Fashion in an Age of Technology."

Apr 29, 2016

New Patterns, New Fabric, New FIT Class (Draping)!

Lots to tell today, readers!

Apr 25, 2016


First things first, friends.  The winner of last week's giveaway is....

Apr 21, 2016

My Birthday GIVEAWAY -- 1940's Draping Book!

It's my birthday today and I'm celebrating it with a giveaway!

Apr 18, 2016

Introducing the BOXTOP for Men!

Wait no longer, friends!

The revolutionary new men's garment is here.  It's called the BOXTOP, and you can see me model one right now.

Apr 16, 2016

NAME THAT PATTERN -- Now 100% Caffeine-Free!

Readers, over the years, many of you have reported experiencing sleep disturbances due to the excitement of playing MPB's exclusive pattern-naming game, NAME THAT PATTERN.
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