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Pattern Puzzle - CJ Drape Skirt

Tuesday, June 09, 2015
This weeks #PatternPuzzle is not an exact copy of the Charles James Skirt but a very do-able pattern for a 101 approach to understanding darts to drape in flat pattern making.  No really, that's what I used to call the workshop; so formal and so academic. :]  This Charles James skirt has so many complex panels that it started to send me a little crazy, so the decision was made to modify and simplify.Charles James Drape Skirt

In this style I have worked to the natural waistline (quite high by our current fashion standards) as it suits the style and fit of the Charles James model.  Using my skirt block or your favourite pencil skirt pattern, trace out a full front and back shape for this asymmetric pattern:
  1. Extend the skirt length past the knee for up to 15-20cm to reach the mid-calf.
  2. Taper all four side seams to achieve a close-fit effect in the hang of this skirt around the seat and the thighs.
  3. Plan the direction and location of your drape tucks.  In this case I have located 4 tucks on the upper left side seam and marked in the direction of the tucks toward the hip and upper thigh on the right side seam.  (Note in the final pattern I have adjusted this to three tucks to work better with the fabric allowance.)
  4. I have altered the front and back darts slightly to connect them to the drape lines that make the hip tucks.  This will ensure all the dart fitting in the skirt is transferred to the drape feature.
Studio Faro Skirt Block
  1. Cut along the drape lines, fold out the waist darts and open each section to include enough fabric for each of the tucks.  
  2. In addition to the drape from the darts, the other sections have been opened approx. 5-6cm
  3. Please note that in this early pattern development there is an unevenness in the amount of drape from the darts and the extra drape openings.  In the final pattern all of this extra fabric will be divided equally between only three hip tucks.  I think you may find there is not quite enough fabric to make four decent tucks.
  4. Finally, swing out both left side seams (lift to a 30-40º angle) to make the fishtail drape in the left side seam of the skirt.
CJ Drape Skirt
  1. For the final pattern, divide all the extra fabric on the left side seam into three even tucks.  Place them in the same location but set them out at equal positions and intervals. 
  2. You have a choice of tracing off a waist facing for this skirt or drafting a strap waistband, as in the original sketch.  
  3. The tricky part of this pattern is the dart like opening on the right side seam.   Depending on your skill level you  may be able to include a zip in the right side dart.  If necessary you can open the pattern a little to give yourself more space for inserting the zipper.  Or alternatively include a placket for both sides of the opening for a different style of fastening (buttons).
  4. After all it's not absolutely necessary for this skirt to be a one-piece pattern.  A seam on the right side of the skirt will not compromise the style or fit in any way.
  5. Add bias grain lines to the skirt and a block fusing instruction to the facing or waistband.
  6. I suggest the construction order for the left side seam will be sew the seam first and sew the tucks in place afterwards.  If you sew the tucks first then the seam, you will squash the drape feature flat into the seam and lose the profile of the drape.
CJ Drape Skirt Pattern
Wishing you all the best with this new pattern.  If possible, please make sure the block or pattern you start with has already been altered to suit your own figure type.  This is how you get the best results in pattern making, by knowing that you can rely on the block you are using.  
Let me know if you have any questions.  Always happy to help. :)

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fotomarieke commented on 09-Jun-2015 07:32 PM
Congratulations with all you have achieved in the past period.
I am so glad that you found time for the blog now.
The skirt looks nice and I understand how you did it.
I am sure I could make it but for me personally it would not be flattering, because my back is very protruding.
I could fancy creating this effect with the drape on the back. That means another one in the queue
mrs. eccentric commented on 10-Jun-2015 01:27 AM
Kismet! I have been pondering a sort of updated, modern bustle skirt for months now - turn this skirt a quarter so all the interest is at back and there you go! Love that it creates a slim line while leaving plenty of room for movement, too. Thank you so much for this fascinating and brain-strengthening blog.
Anonymous commented on 10-Jun-2015 06:23 AM
Wonderful post Anita, I'm enjoying your conversational writing! Terrific skirt too, now back to those toiles!
Anonymous commented on 13-Jun-2015 10:58 AM
Hi Fotomarieke, I agree the drape would be good in the back, somewhat like a bustle. Thanks for the lovely comments. :)
Anonymous commented on 13-Jun-2015 11:00 AM
Hi mrs eccentric, thanks for dropping by and leaving such a nice comment. If you are ever tempted to try we would love to see your sample. :)
Anonymous commented on 13-Jun-2015 11:08 AM
Hi Lesley, thx for the compliment. :) Looking forward to tomorrow and the fittings. So yes, get on with those toiles. ;)
Anonymous commented on 26-Jun-2015 07:30 PM
Just wondering.... Please wont there be zipper?
Anonymous commented on 27-Jun-2015 10:35 AM
Hi Modesta, thanks for dropping by. The zip or opening will go in the dart-like side seam shape. You can also cut the front and back separately and then have the usual seam for your zip. Hope this helps. :)

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The challenging patterns, the exciting new design trends and the impossible drapes; that's what I live for.  Disclaimer: These new ideas are offered here for testing and are offered without guarantee.  Allow yourself time and space to truly test and perfect the patterns for all your new ideas.  And please don't give yourself a hard time if the first toile is less than perfect.  It's simply part of a process. Enjoy :)

Using my content

All images, designs, photos and layouts on this blog are created and owned by Anita McAdam© of Studio Faro. They are available FOR HOME AND PERSONAL USE ONLY.  If you would like to use our content for teaching or commercial purposes please ask.  I have some amazing resources for teachers and manufacturers. ;) enquiries@studiofaro.com

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