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Saturday, March 3, 2012

1930's Gown and Draping a Back Cowl

This dress is completed, but I'm only going to post bits and pieces of it since the bride has not received the dress yet. Hopefully she will share some pictures. Her color choice was Merlot from Robert Kaufman Radiance Silk Collection. I've used this fabric on a few projects and can not recommend it enough. Because you all know I can't take good pictures here is a picture of the swatch.

I used my Simplicty pattern for most of the dress but because of the width of the fabric and it being cut on the bias I had to make some adjustments. The bride did not want the sleeve drape She also wanted to modify the back. So instead of a button back, I had to try to create a cowl back.
My early mistakes on adjustments of this pattern made it a little easier to deal with this time. Now how to drape that cowl in the back? I started off with a rectangle piece, 11" wide and folded it in half. I don't know how long because I just made it bigger and after I assembled the bodice and pinned it I cut off the excess. 
Now the scary part, I have to cut the completed bodice and the worse part is I don't have any extra fabric if I mess it up. I use chalk and draw directly on the bodice where I want it cut. Sorry my pictures are bit blurred, but you get the idea.

After cutting, from what I drew on the bodice, I pin it to the bodice and trim off the excess length. I have to mess around a lot to get the folds down so it lays the way I want it to.
Here is the back on the form stitched. Is there a better way of doing draping a cowl back? I don't know but am always happy to hear other seamstresses tricks of trade. This pattern has a weird way of doing the lining. I made the mistake on my first dress to think I could do it my own way and it did not work. A girl has to try sometimes though. The pattern is not fully lined, but I make sure it is. Obviously you don't want the skirt lining to have the train so I just modify the skirt to be shorter and after it is all sewn I have to cut off more in the back because with out the train extension it is a triangle shape.

When I post the finish gown you will really see how pretty it turned out. The drape in the back can be adjusted to give two different looks. I wasn't striving for that, but it worked out that way.