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Pattern Puzzle - Wrap Drape Tunic

Tuesday, July 21, 2015
This weeks design follows a current trend for large cross-over tucks as seen in a couple of recent #PatternPuzzles.   I know that I am really pushing the envelope with this style.  To get the drape right in the front and make sure the tucks are holding everything in place will be quite a challenge. This is probably a good opportunity to remind everyone that these puzzles are ideas only, with guidelines for making the pattern. The proof is in the testing and that's a creative and technical journey from a well-fitted block through pattern making knowledge in the desire of beautiful creations. For industry product development, a dress of this complexity will take a minimum of two toiles (more likely 3-4) to get the balance right.  And it's not just the cutting but the choice of fabric that is crucial.  If the fit on the bust is too tight it will push the drape tucks open and  be potentially ugly.  If the fabric is too stiff, the front hem drape will stick out in a doll-like fashion.  So take a deep breath and be prepared to make at least two toiles, to finesse this pattern, before cutting into your valuable fabric. Wrap Drape Tunic
  1. Alter the neckline by 2cm along the shoulder, 1cm at CF and 1cm at CB.
  2. Narrow at the underarm point by 1cm for a sleeveless style down to 0cm at the waistline.  Drop the underarm point 1cm.
  3. Mark in the new armhole 2.5cm away from the Shoulder Point (front & back).  Redraw the armhole from shoulder line to underarm, maintaining the same kind of curve that exists in the original armhole.  
  4. Add gape darts to the front and back armholes.
  5. Soften the fit in the waist and add a little extra to the hip line and hemline of the tunic.  I have added 20cm in length past the hip line for my tunic.
  6. Mark in the cut lines for the flare in this design from the hemline back to the bust darts in the front and through the side body and waist dart in the back.
  7. Now mark in the fold lines for the two large tucks in the front of the dress.  It is important that the under-tuck fits comfortably underneath the top tuck.

The first stage of pattern development in this design is to use the darts in this block to make the new tunic shape.  

  1. In the front, working on a half block, send the bust and gape darts into the hemline to create the fullness in the front hemline.  
  2. Then copy this pattern out as a full front to develop the large front tucks.
  3. Think seriously about shortening those front fold lines.  In my experience they always need a reduction in length in the first fitting to sit close to the body.  I've marked gape darts along the outside edge of the left side tuck to reduce the length of the fold line.  For the left side (under) tuck I've dropped the neck curve down, reducing the length of the fold line by 1-2cm.  These particular alterations to the first pattern are a bit of a guesstimate based on my cutting and fitting experience.  By that I mean no guarantees, simply a move in the right direction.
  4. For the second stage of your pattern development, trace out a full front pattern, opening out both tucks with some gape darting on the large tuck fold.  Note the large tuck has a dart like shape that becomes a seam on the outside edge.

Pattern making development.
For the back tunic, you can get rid of most of the shoulder dart and the gape dart into the hemline.  Extra flare can be added in the side-body cut line.  Note this design has much more flare in the front than the back. Your back tunic pattern will be cut on the fold.

Back patterns drape tunic.
The final pattern pieces below are cut on the bias grain to enhance the drape in the front flare.  It's essential that the fabric you use is a soft, drapey woven fabric.  I expect that the first toile may need more gape darting along the tuck fold lines.  This is best remedied in a second toile when you work out the exact location of the excess length.  In the end we would like the tucks to gently hold the front drape in place as shown in the sketch.  Fingers crossed and happy cutting!  :)

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karolina commented on 22-Aug-2015 07:06 PM
Interesting but I have to say that you lost me on the last point 4 of the 2nd stage of development.
'...trace out a full front pattern, opening out both tucks with some gape darting on the large tuck fold. Note the large tuck has a dart like shape that becomes a seam on the outside edge.' I cant see that gape darting, why do gape darts? which lines are those darts? very confusing...
Anonymous commented on 25-Aug-2015 02:53 PM
Hi Karolina. You will need gape darts(or a reduction in length) along the fold edge of the top tuck. If you have a look at the diagram with front pattern development you will see dashed lines like small darts going from the fold edge to the neckline. These are the gape darts. The dart like shape that eventuates in the front pattern follows the shape of the tuck drawn on the pattern plan. In my experience a long fold on the bias will always grow in length when you make the garment. In every case you then have to find a way to reduce the length of the fold and then make a second toile. This move may save you a little time. Hope I was able to be clear. :) If not please feel free to ask questions.
Anonymous commented on 17-Dec-2015 03:25 AM
My head stitcher and I made this yesterday, one for each of us. However, I didn't know there was a stand alone post about it, I was working off the sketch I'd repinned from somebody else (who again, didn't link to this entry).

A couple of notes based on my experience. We made tee length tops.

1. Make sure that your shoulder slope is right before you start otherwise the overlaying tuck will buckle at the shoulder tip.

2. It didn't work to try to draft from a pattern that already had fullness worked in. I ended up using a basic tee, worked in the folds and then slashed/spread the fullness in.

3. You really need a stay to support the weight of the underfold. I used a scrap of fabric, stitching it to the underfold crease and then positioning that along the shoulder line.

This would be a great maternity top imo.

I'll send you photos of our results tomorrow.
Anita commented on 17-Dec-2015 10:48 AM
Hi Kathleen, thanks so much for letting me know about your samples. It's fantastic having someone else making a first sample and pinpointing all the issues. As we both know a pretty picture is only that until someone tests the idea, then maybe it becomes a reality. I think you're totally correct about the hem fullness. Even at the time I considered it risky. So much would depend on very soft fabric. And I love the idea of the knit version. Really looking forward to seeing your photos. :)
Kathleen Fasanella commented on 13-Aug-2017 07:48 AM
After long last, I have remade this as a maternity top for a customer who is expecting her first child. I mean, the pattern is a gift to her, I'm not being paid to make it (she's a good customer). Usually, she sews the sample so I'll send you a photo when I get one (and with permission of course).
Anita - studiofaro commented on 14-Aug-2017 01:01 PM
Hi Kathleen, thanks for letting me know. I'd love to see your maternity version of this design. Will you blog about it or prefer to post a photo to FB? I have a page and group where you are very welcome to post photos. :)

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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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