Saturday, January 26, 2008

Twirl-Drafting The Bodices

I have begun work on Twirl (the dress that keeps me awake at night) and the first step was to find an existing bodice pattern in size 2. This one rose to the top of the pile and I decided to start with it for several reasons.

One, it was an empire style bodice. Two, the bodice appears to fit fairly close to the body (I'll know for sure once I sew it up, since we all know that you cannot always rely on pattern drawings). Three, it has a little sleeve that should fit into the existing armhole. Although I'm not using sleeves on Twirl, if I can get this bodice drafted like I want it I have other plans that do involve sleeves.

So here we go.

Here are the bodice front and back in their original state. The pattern calls for a center back zipper, but I'm using buttons.

The first step is to trace off the original pattern and draw in the original cutting lines. I drew in the original center back seamline and I marked the straight grain of fabric. I measured the original side seams to see if they were the same length. They weren't. So I marked in the pattern correction for that. It is imperative that the side seams be equal in length. I used a brown marker, just for you!

Since I want to add small tucks to the bottom of the front bodice and I want to add gathers to the back bodice, I marked the center of each piece and drew in three slash lines one inch apart. I don't want to interfere with the armhole, so I ended the slashes just below the armhole.

Now I slashed the front bodice on the slash lines. I am not afraid. It's only paper. I pinned down the parts of the pattern that I don't want to move. Then I spread the slashes to add width for the tucks, taping down the adjustment as I worked:

You can see that this causes the pattern to crease. It's trying to tell me something.

It wants to be slashed. So I go along....

Then I let it flatten itself out again:

This changes the angle of the side seam. Since the fabric will be flat, the pattern must be flat, too. So I draw in the new side seam with a blue marker, and sketch in the seamlines with green:

The final step is to redraw the curve on the bottom of the bodice and lengthen the side seam back to its original length. Viola!

I followed the same procedure with the back bodice. The only difference here is that I added 5/8" to the center back cutting line to accomodate those cute little buttons I'm adding:

Here are the progress pictures for the back:

Now to cut this out of muslin and baste it together for a first fitting on The Princess.

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