Green Velvet Drape

Green Velvet Drape

Green Velvet Drape – A homage to Ceil Chapman 1950

Over a year ago I found the image of this amazing vintage dress on Pinterest, compliments of Mill Street Vintage.  Unfortunately (for us) it has been sold and is no longer in their shop.  So I made up the back view to hopefully balance with the wonderful design detail on the front.

One thing I am very certain of is that the internal structure of this dress will be extensive (1950’scouture style!).  My interpretation will not be able to include such amazing detail.  However, if you were to add fusible interlining to the lining fabric and nylon boning to the darts and seams on the bodice lining you will get a very similar effect.
The Pattern Plan below is set out on my women’s fitted dress block.
  1. You will need to trace the front out as a full dress to deal with the asymmetric drape detail.
  2. The half-back block is sufficient for the symmetrical design detail of the back dress.
  3. There is a two-layer effect in the skirts with a panel of velvet attached to the dress lining.
  4. Sketch in the squared necklines for the front and back bodice including gape darting for both necklines.
  5. Working off the front left bodice waist dart mark in the number and direction of all tucks for the drape.
  6. The drape in this dress is a combination of dart transfer and the addition of extra fabric to even up the effect of the tucked drape.
  7. Add some extra width into the side seams of the over-skirt to visually define the layers in the skirt.
  8. Add shaping to the Centre Back seam at the waist and shift the waist dart to the centre of the back waist.
  9. Connect this dart through to the shoulder strap of the squared neckline.
  10. Mark in the line for the separation of the lining and the underskirt velvet panel.

For the Pattern Development:

  1. Start by cutting along the left waist seam into the left side waist dart to the bust point.
  2. Close the bodice bust darts, including the gape darting in the neckline.
  3. Cut through bodice drape lines and fold out the remainder of the bodice darting.
  4. Open each section of the bodice to achieve similar amounts of fabric in each tuck for the drape.
  5. Moving to the skirt, cut along the drape lines and fold out the skirt waist darts.
  6. Open the sections in the skirt to achieve a similar amount of drape in the tucks as in the bodice.
  7. Separate the side back bodice panel from the remainder of the back pattern.
  1. Copy off a simple front and back lining with all darting (bust and gape darts) transferred to the waist dart.
  2. Separate the lower skirt to be cut in the main fabric (velvet) from the upper skirt that will be cut in lining fabric.
The final patterns below have the grainlines marked and the fold direction of each of the tucks in the front drape.  If cut in velvet the front should be cut on the straight grain to maintain consistent colour in the dress.
Let me know if you have any questions in the comments section below.  Very happy to help.  If you’d like to buy a copy of these pattern making notes for your own personal use at home you’ll find them here:  Green Velvet Drape – Pattern Making Instructions.

Enjoy  🙂

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Anita McAdam
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