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Pattern Puzzle - Drape Back Dress

Monday, February 09, 2015
The simplest of shapes have a tendency to be the most difficult to solve in the pattern puzzle.  When there are no recognisable pattern parts (armholes, necklines, etc.), a huge amount of creativity is needed to make sense of the pattern shape.  Each week our fans excel in their ability to work their way through the information, ask the best questions and eventually win the day.  :)   They are the best!  If you don't fancy making your own pattern this design is now available as a PDF sewing pattern to download and sew for your self at home.  Click through to see my very first PDF patterns online!Self-draft drape dress instructions.

In the archives we have some vintage #PatternPuzzles that have used the same unusual seaming techniques:

It is the Retro Shrug that was used to plan a more up-to-date version of this style.  All of these vintage patterns finish at the waist and don't really suit current fashion.  So we devised a way to turn this simple idea into a dress or tunic.

Vintage Self-draft sewing patterns

Below is a great view of this seaming technique from the Retro Wrap of 2013.  The back yoke seam also has the armhole or sleeve opening located along the same line.

Retro Wrap Pattern

In the following digram you will see the similarities between the Retro Shrug and the Drape Back Dress, in particular along the top line of the pattern.  The shrug pattern has been opened up in the waist area to increase volume and achieve the length required, front and back.   A neckline has been included on the CF line.  This can be an opening in the seam or a curved shape depending on your preference.  In our example here we have kept the simple seam opening.  The variation in hem length is to account for the much longer line on the Centre Back and give us an even hemline when worn.

Self-draft Pattern Instructions

The entire one-piece pattern has been set our below on a 5cm/2" grid for self-drafting.  The sizing is very generous and covers a Small to Medium, with room to spare.  The cutting instructions are Cut 1 Pair.

Self Draft Pattern Making

A quick sample in light cotton voile demonstrates the unusual seaming and the drape created by this design from the front shoulder through to the back seat.  There is an abundance of extra fabric in this dress that can be altered to suit your own taste and body type.  Strongly recommend the use of light, soft, drapey fabrics for this design.

First Sample Drape Back Dress

If you are a fan of slim jeans or leggin's, this pattern can be altered to a tunic length very easily.  A massive fold through the middle of the pattern will reduce the length evenly.  It only remains for you to clean up the pattern lines through to the hem.

Cowl Drape Patterns

If you have any questions please use the comments section below.  Always happy to help in your pattern making endeavours.  Enjoy :)

ADDENDUM May 2017:  This pattern is now available as a PDF download.  Why not try one of my very first online patterns. ;)
Drape Back Tunic

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fotomarieke commented on 09-Feb-2015 04:18 AM
This seems a fine wrap or cover-up for near the pool
Shirley commented on 09-Feb-2015 05:25 AM
I have recently come across your Pinterest and Facebook pages and I love the Pattern Puzzles you post. I haven't done any pattern cutting for a long time but your posts have rekindled my interest and fired me up to make myself some interesting and unusual garments. Thank you.
Anita - studiofaro commented on 09-Feb-2015 09:20 AM
Thank you so much Shirley, it is wonderful to hear about your renewed interest in pattern making. :) I'm here to help, so feel free to ask questions.
Anita - studiofaro commented on 09-Feb-2015 09:22 AM
I agree fotomarieke, a shorter version would be perfect for the beach or poolside. :) Are you thinking of making this design?
fotomarieke commented on 09-Feb-2015 06:46 PM
Yes, I think that it can be much nicer than a pareo. . Yesterday I tried to drape some fabric around me and that half of me seemed to be flatterend in the mirror
Anita - studiofaro commented on 10-Feb-2015 09:53 AM
That sounds encouraging. :) There is a tricky relationship between the width at the empire seam and the length of the dress that needs working out. I would love to see your sample when it is finished.
Anonymous commented on 10-Feb-2015 08:30 PM
Hi, the part pattern shown in gray highlight suppose to be lining?

Thank you
anita - studiofaro commented on 11-Feb-2015 09:04 AM
Hi there, thx for dropping by the blog. The shaded area is a shorter version of the dress. More tunic-like. I am demonstrating how you would shorten the pattern with one big fold through the middle of the pattern. This design would be fab over skinny jeans and leggin's. :)
Anonymous commented on 10-Aug-2015 01:53 AM
Is this 2 pieces or cut on the fold at the center fron
Anita commented on 10-Aug-2015 01:47 PM
This pattern cuts two pieces (as 1 pair). You use the seams to make the armhole and neckline. :)

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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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