Samples of the Turnback Drape

Samples of the Turnback Drape

We’ve all seen this particular style over the past few years on the catwalk and in the shops.  But unlike many fashion trends I think this one will be good for quite a while.  It’s so flattering with the distracting diagonal drape across the tummy and hip area.
I’ve featured this particular pattern making move twice on this blog:  Twist and Turnback Top 2013,the Twist Jumper 2013 & Turnback Thinking 2014.  I’ve also made a number of samples in the past few years, testing different materials and design details.  I’m going to share those samples here and let you know which of the features and fabrics work the best for this design.

My first sample was as the sketch above.  I used a navy viscose/poly crepe for the front and back of the top and a matching cotton/elastane knit for the sleeves and a contrast stripe ribbing for the cuffs.  The most important feature in this design is the fabric used for the turnback drape.  It has to be good (the same) both sides so the turnback looks the same on the front left and right side of the garment.

When your’e making your pattern make sure you leave enough length in the front pattern so the twist effect in the drape lands in the right place for your height.  I like it to sit just on the crotch level.  Any shorter and it makes me look a little chunky.  This first sample is a little short for my liking so I will add at least 5cm (2″) length to the top which means 10cm through the length of the front pattern for the next sample.

With the turnback on this pattern the centre fronts come together and wrap over because of the twist.  For modesty’s sake I have hand stitched these edges together as far as possible through the centre front.

Where the turnback drape meets the side seam I have dropped the back hem into a shirt tail effect.  From the side view this diagonal is more flattering than a horizontal line front to back.

The back pattern piece has a deep inverted pleat in the centre back position.  This extra fabric makes sure the back of the top floats over the backside and doesn’t grab.  The raglan sleeve that I’ve included in this design is a personal favourite.  I have broad shoulders and a raglan seam always minimises the effect.

For the second sample I have made the front pattern piece longer and added a bias cut twist collar.  The fabric for the body of the top is a silk crepe de chine, and for the sleeves a light weight merino knit.  The silk drapes well and is the same look on both sides of the fabric.

I’ve kept the longer back with the shirt tail shape that more than adequately covers my backside and provides the flattering diagonal.

Because the silk crepe de chine fabric wasn’t that wide I’ve added a silk chiffon fabric for the inverted pleat in the centre back.  This brings a lighter effect  to the top with a little transparency through the back.
Unfortunately the collar was a mistake.  The silk fabric needs too much pressing to look good but the twist in the sewing makes this almost impossible.  Also using the silk fabric in the front turnback has made pressing difficult.  In conclusion you would want to use a fabric that needs little or no pressing after washing.
For my next sample I’ve decided to add a button front and two-piece shirt collar to the turnback drape to give it a less casual look.  At this stage I’m not sure if I prefer a three quarter sleeve with cuff and placket or a full length sleeve.  So I will cut a full length sleeve and alter it later in the fitting if needed.

I’ve added the button stand and turnback to both centre fronts of the pattern, cut a two-piece collar to fit and selected a linen to cut this sample.  As soon as the sample is made I will share it with you on social media.  I am considering this design for a PDF sewing pattern to sell online.  Do you think that’s a good idea?

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Anita McAdam
  • Bianca Cardinale
    Posted at 11:01h, 02 November Reply

    Thanks for sharing your creative process here, it’s very inspiring! I’d love to buy this top in a pattern.

    • Studio Faro
      Posted at 15:21h, 02 November Reply

      My pleasure Bianca. This pattern is in development but there is a temporary halt on new patterns as I search for a new studio space. It may take some time. If you’d like to try and make your own pattern I’m always available to help you through the process. 🙂

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