Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Drafting my "Go To" dress...... (#1) Lengthening the Bodice

I have been tinkering with a bit of simple pattern drafting. I have a particular style of dress that I feel very at home in. I have 2 of them and they're my "go to" outfits that I never feel fat in and that are just "me". I want more of them, and if this project works out, I have various ideas sketched out on variations to the basic dress. This time next year I shall have a wardrobe full of them!

Being a relative newbie sewist, I've not tried my hand at this before, but what better opportunity to have a go at drafting my own pattern, using one of these dresses as a guide. After all, it's a very simple style, I know it fits me, I've got a workable understanding of the drafting process, what could go wrong? Well that remains to be seen, but this is how far I've got......

I began by drafting half the bodice front. I marked the CF line on the garment (using masking tape) & drew a corresponding vertical line on my pattern paper. I used this as a fixed point. Taking measurements from the CF line on the garment to various points along the side seam, armhole etc; and copying these measurements onto my draft. I used my French curve to smooth out the neck, arm and waist curves, until I ended up with half a bodice front. I then folded my draft along the CF line and traced the draft through onto the other side to create a whole front bodice piece.

One of the things that used to bug me a little about the dress I was copying was the empire waistline sat too high on my bust. I decided to use the "slash & spread" (sounds gruesome doesn't it!) technique that I'd learnt at college, to lengthen the bodice. I drew a cutting line straight across the bodice front, at right angles to the CF line. I then drew balance marks along the cutting line to help realign them afterwards.

I then "slashed" the bodice piece along the cutting line and "spread" it to insert another piece of pattern paper. I wanted to lengthen the bodice by 4" so I drew on the new piece of pattern paper: two parallel lines, 4" apart, with a vertical line down the centre.

Next I stuck the top piece of the bodice along the top parallel line of the insert, lining up the CF lines. Then using a set square, I squared lines down from each of the balance marks to the bottom parallel line. I used these and the CF lines to line up the bottom piece of the bodice front and stuck it down.

All that remained then was for me to true the side seams. Lengthening had put the original side seams out of line. Using a ruler, I drew a new side seam between points A & B which are the original top and bottom "corners" of the side seam.

You can see the difference between the old and new side seams a little better in this close up photo.
So I now have a front bodice piece that I can use as a basis to draft the back bodice piece (They're almost identical and I don't believe in creating work for myself!), and then from there, I plan to create a muslin....

1 comment :

  1. My challenge is going to be that I have a shaped empire waist (inverted v-shape)vintage dress pattern to which I must add two inches around, and an inch and a half in length in the bodice. I'm thinking of adding the width by separating the self front facing and getting the extra width at the center front . . . but I'm concerned that's going to distort the neck and shoulders significantly. I have relatively wide shoulders . . .but still!


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