My Draped Dress Failure

Do you ever start a project , realize it isn’t going to work out , but keep soldiering on despite the fact that NOTHING you are doing is going to save this poor failure of a garment ?
Thursday I decided I was going to make a draped gown, and started documenting my progress on my Instagram feed.

 I first draped the dress in muslin, then tried to sew it up in a beautiful champagne colored knit jersey only to have to throw the whole thing away. After I realized what I had done wrong, I decided to make another attempt at my failed dress with some cheap purple jersey I had bought at a yard sale. I had continued my folds into the seam lines instead of smoothing them out to nothing. The drapes were only supposed to be in the center of the dress.

 It was looking pretty good but the draped part of the neckline had stretched out. Probably because that area was on the bias and the knit wouldn’t behave. I tried attaching interfacing to the edge of the neckline but that made the matter worse. Then I sewed some elastic into it and it looked horrible with weird little gathers everywhere. I decided to use elastic thread and that wouldn’t work either.

Finally I just decided to quit the whole project.
It’s important to know when you have been licked!

But on the bright side, I did practice my draping skills.
With the purple dress I just pinned the fabric directly to my form. I was starting to feel very smug with my first attempt at draping this new style when I realized the neckline was a total failure.
I really do love the draped effect and will try this again sometime in the future but for now, I am so done with it!
This wasn’t an original design anyway. I was practicing a project from my old draping textbook.
The art of fashion draping by Connie Amaden Crawford.
If you are wanting to get into the art of fashion draping yourselves it’s an excellent book and guides you through all of the basics. This draped dress is one of the more advanced projects. You would start off with a basic bodice and a princess bodice and grow from there.
I love draping!
Funny how every time I start to feel like I am hot stuff I am humbled by a small detail.
Sorry I didn’t post my link party this week. I was out late last night then went to pick up my son at LAX who is home for Easter. I will be back on schedule after Easter!

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  1. Sew Blessed Maw says

    So sorry your draping project didn’t work out. But , you are so right, sometimes when we see that something < "just isn't going to work" , its best to quit.. And began the next project.. I have done that quite a few times..
    Look forward to your next project.. enjoy your son being home for Easter, and hope you and family have a nice one.

  2. Mie@Sewing Like Mad says

    I am so stubborn I don’t do the right thing…. Which is giving up…. And end up with things that are never worn. Or worse… The kids love it and want to wear it all the time, arghhh 🙂

  3. says

    Actually, the draping part looks really great. Better than I could have done. I made a muslin of a dress that looked horrible on me, but I wanted the dress so badly I perused it anyway only to end up disappointed! By the way,I’m looking forward to seeing what you have in store for those patterns!

  4. says

    The dress look very cute. Cleaver draping. Are you sure it can’t be saved? What kind of elastic did you use for the neckline? I tend to use clear elastic for knit edges, which is still quite resilient. It stabilizes more than creating elasticity.

    • Jill Frank says

      I was going to suggest the same thing. I haven’t worked with knits a ton, but that is always what is season shoulder seams in store bought items.

    • Justine of SewCountryChick says

      Thanks. I forgot about see through elastic ill pick some up.

  5. says

    I don’t know, but, what if you add a lining to your dress? Just I thought I had while looking at it. That’s sad when we have to give up about a project, but it’s a learning process too. We all have come across some difficulties I’m sure. Good luck next time you try it! =D

  6. says

    I love this dress – it is pity you are not going to finish it. Just try lining, or making of woven fabric on bias. There are a lot of books/videos and tutorials about bias drapping… it is not easy but it is challeng – GO on! Give it another try!

  7. says

    Sorry it didn’t work out but I have to say you have made my day! I am embroiled in a project at the moment that similarly is not going well – lost count of how many times I’ve adjusted, unpicked, moved seams etc. I’ve decided to put it to one side today & wip up a quick skirt for my daughter that i know i can finish in an afternoon. Its made me evaluate my creative process. We can learn so much even from our projects that don’t work out so don’t be too down hearted & maybe try something simple & quick to get your confidence up x

    • Justine of SewCountryChick says

      Hi Simone . I learn so much from failed projects too. When I am working on a frustrating project I often step back like you and make something easy for the kids!

  8. thingsforboys says

    I think you did a really good job. I’ve only tried draping once and it turned out ok, but a lot of fudging was required to get it wearable. I don’t have a dressform anymore, so haven’t tried for a while.

  9. Delia says

    I think you are amazing. and yes… this happens to me often and I hate all the time I lost but I like your positive take on it. I definitely learn something with each fail. 🙂

    • Justine of SewCountryChick says

      I think I will try this dress again but in a crepe and I might make it long. Thanks for stopping by, Beth!

  10. says

    I’m upset you have a son old enough to be living away from home!!!! You don’t look it at all.

    • Justine of SewCountryChick says

      Awwww you are too sweet! Sunglasses hide a multitude of imperfections!

  11. Sew Coco says

    lol I just posted my failure too! That champagne jersey fabric must of looked beautiful….at least you tried the second time! That book looks interesting as I have only done very simple draping.

    • Justine of SewCountryChick says

      Yes that jersey was SO pretty and i was so sad to ruin it!

  12. Bri says

    I like to think that there are no failures, especially when it comes to sewing, just learning experiences that help us grow and become better for the next challenge!

  13. Emily says

    The draping and design look good. It’s too bad the neckline was so stretchy.

  14. says

    Oh, you’ve almost got it so DO NOT give up. I think the dress can be salvaged. Try sewing net binding on the neck to prevent stretching, and perhaps just shorten the shoulder seams close to the neck. It looks terrific and I know it will look great on you.

  15. Ally says

    Try a more stable fabric, something like a taffeta, it’s not so flimsy, stands up on its own and holds shape well.

  16. Chamali says

    Thank you for sharing this with us. It inspires me to start draping myself! xx

  17. says

    Hi, the draping is really smart!
    From what the photo looks like , I’d say there might be too much fabric at the neckline.
    You may try to baste the drapes so you don’t lose them, rip the seam and move the center part of breast panel more inside the diamond piece.
    The new seamline of the shoulder panel could be somewhere here

    (Also if I’d want to add lining to such problematic neckline, I’m measure the neckline length on myself, laid it on the ironing board and steamed flat so that the neckline had at most this measurement. Then in the same shape, I’d iron on a fusible web band before sewing the lining on. And it’s even easier if you have fusible web on the lining too.)

    Keep fighting 🙂
    Thumb up for you learning from mistakes!