Lily’s Basic Block- Draping To The Body

So after draping a basic block on my dress form ( post 1 ) and having  failure of a fitting session on Lily ( post 2), I started over and draped a bodice directly to her body, which was actually quite quick to do. It turns out she is  a lot smaller than my dress form , even though she has the same waist and almost the same bust measurements. I made sure she wore a long sleeved tight fitting top I could pin into, and she had to stand still.

While I was draping, I went to get my camera to photograph this step, BUT the batteries were dead, she was getting impatient, so I just draped it without photos. Basically I used the same technique as draping to my dress form, keeping the drawn on cross grain parallel to the floor, and making sure the center front was on the straight of grain at all times.

After I draped the front and back I made another muslin, and worked on it more, since I think I draped it too loosely on her. I didn’t want to poke her. Next time I do this, I’ll use tape to keep the fabric in place. I like this gingham fabric when draping, because the grain lines are so easy to see. This gingham is some sort of stiff poly blend bought at an estate sale for about two dollars. I have lots of it, so that’s handy. Glad I didn’t throw it in my giveaway pile!Darping A basic Block On BodyThe first drape was a little loose, but the neck, shoulders, and armholes will work. It’s hard to drape on kids who are always moving around. Excuses, excuses. I pinned out some of the excess fabric you can see on the sides, above. I have to admit that I’m really inexperienced in draping on live people. I’m just following the directions in my pattern making textbook by Connie Amaden Crawford. She was my teacher at FIDM about a million years ago, and gave me mostly C’s. I do wish I had paid more attention in her classes, now.drape2I can really see the excess fabric in this photo. I pinned out about another inch of fabric by smoothing and pinning, and transferred the markings to my paper pattern. I’m going to sew up a quick dress today, just to see how the fit is, before I make the shirt dress pattern. After I transferred the muslin to paper, I had to true it up. drape4

BALANCING my pattern

I had to make sure the side seams are on the same angle.

The front needs to be 1/2 inch larger than the back. I had to subtract some from the back at the side seams and add it to the front.

The back armhole needs to be 1/2 inch longer than the front armhole. And the back armhole needs to be going straight down at the shoulder blade mark. It should be straighter than the front armhole, which is naturally more scooped out. drape3

I had to lower the armhole side seam 1/2 inch and extend it one half inch to create some ease. The crossed out line was the original side seam. I had to bring that in 1/4 inch and add that 1/4 inch to the front piece to balance it.

The red marks are where I lowered the pattern 1/2 inch and added 1/2 inch ease for the bodice. This bodice will be for adding sleeves to. If I want to make a sleeveless dress pattern, I’ll remove the ease and raise the armhole back up. If you ever see a pattern that has an option to be both with sleeves and without sleeves, and the bodice stays the same for the sleeveless version, you’ll know that this step hasn’t been taken. Sleeveless patterns should always have a higher and tighter armhole than those drafted to add sleeves to, so they don’t bag out.

Stay tuned for the test fit dress! Crossing my fingers.

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  1. says

    I adore Connie Crawford. Here methods and explanations in her books are so clear. I can’t wait to see the outcome.