Gallery The “Draping Project” Dress

It took about ten years to complete this dress.  I found it in a plastic bag in my childhood bedroom at my grandmother’s house while I was cleaning out the closet.  The only thing left to finish on the dress was to properly fit the halter strap, and add a closure element.  Also in the plastic bag were old sewing patterns, some of which were my grandmother’s from the 1960′s which really made my day. This finally finished dress has a story, as many long-term UFOs often do, but first…

The Facts

Fabric: batiste lining, and some kind of meshy gauze possibly silk crepe fashion fabric
Pattern: draped/self-drafted
Year: 2002?
Notions: zipper, one large snap for the halter neck
Time to complete: ~10 years (but really the main part of the dress probably took a week or two)
First worn: I haven’t worn it out yet since it’s winter here in Amsterdam.
Wear again? I’d like to wear it out for sure!
Total price: no idea

Back in my university days, I studied theatre production, and as part of my training I had to take courses in costume design.  My time in the costume department taught me a lot, and in this particular project, I learned how to draft my own pattern based on a draped design.  All that was left to finish it was installing a closure element to the halter top and perhaps a hook and eye atop the back zipper.

The details on how I drafted it escape me, but I remember falling in love with the serger (overlock machine).  In fact, I think I used the overlocker to finish nearly every edge, and all those that aren’t are top-stitched.  Hah!  This is totally typical of my present-day habits… I love top-stitched finishes and I use my zig-zag and fake overlock stitch to finish most edges (I’m still saving my pennies for that dream overlocker).  That said, though, I’m always trying to expand my seam finishing skills.  I’m an unfinished project, too!

To finalize the halter neckline, I had to snip the fabric in half.  First, I tried using a hook and eye and a sort of bra closure method, but they pulled and slightly tore the gauze.  Oops.

So, I undid my work and installed just one large snap.  This also helps keep it more flexible since the snap also acts somewhat like a hinge.  The bust is a bit tight, but considering it was drafted for my body ten years ago, I think that it still mostly fits is pretty cool.  Overall, I’m quite pleased to have finally finished this one!

Author

adriprints

Adriprints is an illustrator and designer by trade; a knitter, crocheter, and pseudo-seamstress by craft. You can find her work in typo-phile calendars, online knitting mags, and on random people's business cards, greeting cards, and websites. She currently lives in Munich.

11 Comments

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  1. How fantastic! I love that you finally finished it. It gives me hope that someday I’ll finish that quilt I started as a teenager.

    I learned to drape as a theatre costume design student too. It’s a great background.

  2. That fabric is so lovely. The skill of draping is something that I must learn. It is pleasing to know that after 10 years it still fits. (not something that I would be able to claim).

    • Thank you! I’d love to share the details on the fabric, but alas, I can’t remember where I found it. And, yes, draping is a super-handy skill and a nice compliment to pattern sewing.

  3. Love that fabric! No wonder you hung onto it for so long. After ten years, it seems to still fit you perfectly! Congratulations.

  4. It fits really well, what a great find!

    • It fits just enough to motivate me to do some more push-ups and sit-ups for when it gets warmer out. I’m glad to have found the dress and the paper patterns, too.

  5. Wow I think you get the prize for longest unfinished object!

  6. It turned out so lovely, and I hope you get to wear it outside soon!!