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Pattern Puzzle - Double Drape Maxi

Monday, March 09, 2015

You may be forgiven for thinking that we often torture the stuffing out of our fabulous #PatternPuzzle fans.  Well, last Saturday was no exception.  I did a slightly tricky thing with a 'grown-on hood' and it was enough to make the pattern shapes very hard to read.  I have seen similar styles in both historic and current fashion and have waited some time to try this out on the blog.  The idea I have is to cut this dress from my knit block using a merino jersey.  That could be either a one-way or two-way stretch knit.  The Double Drape in this Maxi refers to the #CowlDrape on the back of this dress and the #GatheredDrape on the centre front (CF) seam.  The hood styling may also be considered a #CowlDrape with the large tuck and the centre back(CB) line on the fold.Double Drape Maxi

Here in the Pattern Plan I am using my close-fitting Knit Block, extended to ankle length for our maxi. 

  1. Mark in your hem length, around the ankle area, according to personal preference for the front and back block.
  2. Extend shoulder line and drop the underarm to achieve a relaxed fit in the armhole.
  3. Make corresponding changes to the sleeve head.  
  4. Widen the sleeve at the three quarter length.  This will be eased/gathered into a rib cuff.  The size of this cuff will depend on your rib fabric - often cut 2-4 cm smaller than finished measurement (forearm).
  5. Mark in the wide necklines, front and back, with a shallow 'V' in the front.
  6. Construct a grown-on band on the front neckline.  This will extend as part of the hood pattern.
  7. Lift the CF line to create the waterfall drape in the front seam.
  8. Lift the CB line to create the cowl drape in the lower back dress.
  9. Mark in the cut lines on the front and back bodice that will used to include extra fabric for the drape.

Double Drape Maxi Dress Pattern

In the first pattern development:

  1. Cut through the dashed lines, joining the matching pieces from front and back bodice.
  2. Open them up through the centre front, keeping the centre back line together.
  3. Note I have drafted a hood 'grown-on' to the front neck as one piece.  Then decided to split the hood between the front and back bodices.

Pattern Development

The diagram below shows the distribution of the gathered drape in the centre front seam.  

  1. It also shows the squaring up of the hemlines, placing the centre back line on the fold for the back cowl drape.  
  2. Once the back yoke has been separated from the main body of the dress, the back section of the hood is added. 
  3. Squaring up the back edge of the hood allows you to place it on the fold with a generous tuck to shape into the back of the head.

Slash and spread pattern making.

The grain lines and cutting instructions are on the pattern pieces below.  Add the seam allowances that suit your own machinery and sewing style.  These pattern making instructions have been developed with knit fabric in mind.  If you are thinking of trying it for woven fabric you will need a fitted dress block and a different set of instructions.

Final Patterns Drape Maxi

Let me know if you have any questions in the comments section below.  Always happy to help.  :)

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Susan Bateman commented on 09-Mar-2015 08:33 AM
I love it and as usual can't wait to give it a try . Would 2 way stretch give the best result in this design?
Anonymous commented on 09-Mar-2015 08:38 AM
Hi Sue. This design will work in both two-way and one-way knit fabric. I would choose the one that is best for your knit block. Probably best with close fitting knit block to start and using two-way stretch.
Mioara Cretu commented on 09-Mar-2015 07:13 PM
Hi Anita,
Very interesting pattern ... It took me a while to understand, but in the end I "discovered" the logic to elaborate the final pattern. It would be interesting to try a toile even for the upper part of the dress (neckline, hood, shoulders, arm hole). “Geometrization” of lower parts of pattern I really like.
eimear commented on 09-Mar-2015 09:29 PM
Hi Anita, really great pattern puzzle - and fab pattern, now that its coming into summer over here its is easy to imagine it made up!
Anonymous commented on 10-Mar-2015 11:05 AM
Thanks Mioara, I agree the hood part is a bit challenging and may need some modification. I get limited opportunities to work on these toiles but this is one I would love to see in my wardrobe. :)
Anonymous commented on 10-Mar-2015 11:16 AM
Thanks Eimear. :) so interesting that I see it as a winter dress (for sydney) and you see summer (for Europe). I so enjoy the different perspectives. :)
Anonymous commented on 11-Mar-2015 10:56 PM
I love this dress, it is so clever and the draping is lovely, but it still makes me think of Morticia Addams. Please forgive me, am I Bad and Wrong?
Anonymous commented on 12-Mar-2015 09:17 AM
Hi Carla, not bad or wrong! :) Morticia Addams is a childhood favourite and unique styling may be found in more than one of these blog posts. ;) Thx for the compliment.
Jolanda commented on 21-Nov-2015 07:12 AM
Hello! The moment I saw this pattern puzzle I desided to make it! And I did! It took me a while, but this day I could test it in fabric ..... The fabric is a knit, but unfortunately to heavy for this dress. A bit dissapointed, but never the less, I tried! Now I have a housdress 😃! The front looks oké, over the back I'm not satisfied. The drape is not a drape. Probably my misstake, I did not have enough fabric for my pattern so I made my back drape shorter... so I took some cm at the back in... now the expected drape doesn't fall as nice as I had hoped for. The hood is made without a tuck and thats satisfies me! I wil try it again!
I have made it out of two coupons of 1,5 by 1,5 mtrs. The cut i had made runs from the bottom of the front drape and the end of the back. I can not take this out of 1 piece with the fold in the back.... Am I to big? Or is there an other possibility I have missed?
Greetings from the Netherlands!
Anita - studiofaro commented on 21-Nov-2015 12:33 PM
Hi Jolanda, thanks so much for letting me know you tried this design. First of all many of my pattern puzzles would definitely be too big for many fabrics. They are fabulous ideas but not always so practical. Where the fabric is not wide enough I would engineer a way to split the pattern to make it all fit in. I'm thinking if you don't mind a centre back seam, then you could cut the left and right side separately. I'm sure this would work.
About the back drape; I had a similar problem recently when I sampled the Drape Tube skirt. You may have seen the photos on Facebook or Instagram. I added 20cm of drape and it totally disappeared. Like i added nothing. Then I tried again with 30cm extra drape and that turned out to be too much. In the end i liked the first sample more and have worn it a lot in the past few weeks. Turns out that the drape is understated and really suits stylish daywear.
So these project are all a work in progress. I believe your first sample is much more than a house dress. :) Ask your friends.
Carol Stern commented on 17-Jun-2019 11:07 AM
I would love to get your input on how to make this dress out of woven fabric.
Anita - Studiofaro commented on 17-Jun-2019 12:30 PM
Hi Anon, thanks for getting in touch. I think it would be possible to make this design in a woven fabric. You would need a woven dress block that is very fitted to start with. I do think that the final pattern may have to be a little different from the one above. Perhaps more seams to make it work. At the moment I don't really have the time to make a post dedicated to your request. I'm very happy to help you along as you try this pattern puzzle in woven. You can ask more questions here or go to my facebook group - STUDIO FARO MAKERS - where you can post pictures and ask questions.
Carol Stern commented on 23-Jun-2019 06:51 AM
@ Anita - Studiofaro, hi thanks for writing back. I completely understand the time restraint. The question kept bugging me to the point it kept me up at night trying to figure it out.

I did a little experiment and it turned out well. I used a well fitted bodice block and cut off the bottom part below the waist. I manipulated the shoulder, side, armpit dart all so the side dart (though I'm sure it can be manipulated to any corner). I then followed steps 1-9 treating the new combined dart as one of the segments.

I did a quarter scale size so I was able to experiment with direction of grain. I found the dress drapes better on woven fabric if I fold the place the fold center along the bias. Obviously this might not work in full scale as it will require an extremely large piece of fabric
Anita - Studiofaro commented on 23-Jun-2019 10:10 AM
Hi Carol, it sounds like you're on the right track. As long as you darting ends up in the centre front of the dress as gathered drape then the prototype should go well. And getting the bias to work well with the gathered drape is also important. Don't hesitate to ask questions as you go along. I'm always happy to help. :)

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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 :)

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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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