Draping Backless Dress Continued Part 2

backless satin bridesmaid dress copy


Right ready for part 2? Let’s get going, In this post I will go through how to drape the muslin on the dress form which we already marked out with our deign lines. For the first tutorial clickidy here… For .the final installment click here


What you will need

– Dress form marked up with the design lines

– Pins

– Muslin fabric or something similar – it needs to be a light color so you can see through it

– Iron and accompanying ironing board

–  Pencil or something to mark the fabric

– Scissors

– Tape measure

1. To get the right size piece of fabric for draping the front you need to measure your dress form. For the length, measure from the tip of the shoulder to the ribbon around the natural waist. For the width, measure from the side seam over the largest part of the bust to the middle of the dress form.


draped pattern


2. Now you know how much fabric you need to cover the front bodice its time to get the fabric involved. Just to be safe give yourself an extra 3 or so inches than your width and length measurements. Make sure you cut the width measurement along the crosswise grain and the length along the selvage. For a reference my front piece was 17.5″ length and 13″ width. I usually iron a 1 inch fold along the length of the muslin which will go down the center front of the dress form, this is just a little extra wiggle room – not 100% necessary but its just habit!


satin pattern dress


3. Right now lets get the fabric on the dress form. Start by pinning the folded side of the fabric to the center line as staright as possible. Make sure you pin the fabric high enough on the neck so that you will have enough fabric to cover over the shoulders.


free pattern making


4. Starting from the center neckline start to smooth out the fabric across the dress form towards the arm. Pin the fabric in place along the ribbon lines when you are happy that is it nice and smooth. Pin around the arm hole, neckline and side seam. You will have a flap of excess fabric below the bust at this stage.




5. You gave a few design options at this stage. You can add a dart that will hide the excess fabric and move it to the inside; this can be a side seam dart, bust dart or a waistline dart. Alternatively you can use the excess fabric for an outside design feature such as pleats which is my master plan. I an using a two pleat design for my front bodice. Smooth the fabric to just under the largest point of the bust and pin the excess.




6. If you are doing a pleat design like mine you need to work out how much fabric you need per pleat. Measure the excess fabric from the pin to the fold and multiply this by 2 to get the full excess. Divide this number by the number of pleat you would like, in my case this is 2.


sewing pattern


7. Mark out your pleats using your measurements and fold and pin in place. You can adjust as needed if you don’ like the look of them just change it up!


pleated bodice pattern


8. Now that the design is complete we need to tidy it up a little. Trim the fabric close to the ribbon lines. It doesn’t have to be perfectly neat just a rough cut will be fine. Use your pencil or marker to trace the lines of ribbon on the fabric. Don’t forget the shoulder seam. Once that’s done we’re ready to move onto the back design.


draped backless dress


9. For the back we’re going to be using the exact same method as the front. Start by measuring the area of fabric you need for the top piece. For the width go from the center seam around the widest part of the back and for the length measure from the top of the shoulder to the bottom of the top piece. Add a few inches either side and cut out your fabric.


backless dress sewing pattern


10. Pin the fabric piece to the back making sure you have the fabric high enough to cover the shoulder seam. Start by pinning to the center seam.


free draped sewing pattern


11. Smooth the fabric over the design area working from the center seam to the arm hole. Make sure there are no folds or excess fabric anywhere.


low back dress pattern


12. Trim around the design area just like we did with the front and use your pencil to mark out your design. Remove the top back from the dress form. For the bottom section of the back measure the area of fabric you need.  Cut it out and pin the fabric to the dress form going from the center to the side smoothing the fabric as you go.


low back dress


13. Trim around the edges of the design and use your pencil again to mark out the ribbon.


low back dress sewing pattern


And that’s a wrap for this tutorial! Next I will go through how to make the actual pattern pieces ready for you to cut out your design from your chosen fashion fabric.

Let me know if I missed anything or if I’ve totally confused you!

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