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Draping a basic Sloper on my 'Me Shaped' Dress Form


Draping a basic Sloper on my 'Me Shaped' Dress Form
« on: January 08, 2020, 17:21:06 PM »
 8)  I have a paper tape double, which approximates me as I was several years ago. So, in an effort to make better use of it, I checked my measurements and added various bits of padding, with a view to draping a usable basic master pattern with all of my figure foibles built in. i.e. no more major pattern adjustments. Ha Ha!

YouTube has some quite useful draping videos. The oldest ones are the best, as they show a lot of detail, but not everything. Even they 'cheat' by presuming that I am using a professional dress form with Princess lines, etc., marked. My body doesn't come with those!  At least these old ones show draping for a four dart sloper. The newer videos are generally posted by enthusiastic youngsters who drape on a size 6 form, without wearing ease and only use Bust and Waist darts on the Front. The back might have a tiny waist dart. The possibility of a Back shoulder dart is mentioned in passing. Huh, have you seen my shoulder!

I don't want to decry their efforts, but I have to laugh. I'm a real person. I have bumps and hollows.... that need darts...and wearing ease! I really don't want to go back to pattern drafting from numbers; measuring ones self is a trial - everything keeps shifting! Toiles will still be needed, but Oh, to have a pattern me shaped!

Here are links to the videos that I have found most useful:            There are parts 2, 3 and 4, but she skips over how the                         
                                                                                    Back bodice is draped.              I shall use this one for the Back Bodice, she does have one
                                                                                     covering the Front, too.            A Jacket Sleeve by Shingo Sato. Might be able to crib ideas for
                                                                 draping a one piece sleeve, especially the underarm shape for the Armscye.

Anyone found any other useful draping ones.



Re: Draping a basic Sloper on my 'Me Shaped' Dress Form
« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2020, 11:30:42 AM »
Hello Claire.  I too have a brown paper tape double and oh what a sight!!!!  Like you mine was made several years ago and I sadly have put on a lot of weight, so I have also padded mine out.  I have made a calico toile that was fitting me quite nicely, so put that on her and padded out to make it look like me and so far it is working.  Apart from extra wadding I wanted to be able to pin into her, so I have utilised some old men's thermal vests (Marks & Spencers) - these have a rib formation so it is easy to see if these are on straight, I also ran a coloured tacking line down the CF and CB, and as I also wanted shoulder princess lines, I am in the process of tacking on lines of 'string of curtain weights - those leaded types but I wanted really thick weights so once tacked on to the body I can then feel the ridge through anything that is over the top of them.  I had started off using up any odd pieces of the string of weights I already had, some were thin and others a wee bit thicker, but now I have bought some really thick stuff and it is sitting here waiting for me to undress her and to apply the weights at the end of the weights I also have a rather odd selection of heavy items - like heavy key rings act as plumblines - so the vertical weights are CF, CB, under arm seam, shoulder princess seam line and I will also add some to the shoulder seam.  The amount of 'vests I have put on Matilda are a lot, but seem to smooth her out a bit and of course the more you have on the more easily you can pin into her.  My Double was slid on over an existing very old dress form that was closed totally  up and padded out again to stop the Double from wobbling and by closing the base right up it prevents any stuffing/wadding from falling through.

I keep something over Matilda when I am not working on her really to hide the awfulness of her, and at the moment I have some lovely knitted fabric over her and am debating on how I am going to create a thigh length top - the way the fabric is draping (there are bunches of roses) looks good with just the draping folds, and I think by cutting this up into a princess style would lose some of the beauty of the fabric - and that is as far as I have got.


Re: Draping a basic Sloper on my 'Me Shaped' Dress Form
« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2020, 15:00:42 PM »
It sounds as if you are doing much better than me, Elnnina. You have had some really good ideas which I shall crib unashamedly!  :D

So far I have CF, CB, Shoulder and Waist lines as sewn into my - now too small -  original cover. Your idea of being able to feel the new ridges is really useful. My " Sewing Suzzie "  leans back terribly. She is on a circular stand and although I try to wedge her upright, she sways. I have tried holding a plumb line in place to get straight of grain, but your more permanent plumb lines sound much better.  Love the idea of ribbed vests.; that's inspired!

Poor old thing, she leaks polystyrene beads and has been wearing an extremely dusty toile of a Morris Blazer for far too long. Sleeves are the bane of my life; I must have narrow shoulders and chunky biceps! So, one of my challenges is to work out where the Shoulder should end and the Armscye  begin.

Your fabric sounds lovely. Happy draping,



Re: Draping a basic Sloper on my 'Me Shaped' Dress Form
« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2020, 15:46:21 PM »
Hi Clare, that is why I posted about some of the things I had done on my Double to make my life a bit easier.  I also made a bit of a neck on mine with the aid of my husband and using my own neck and this was made out of some semi rigid plastic that I had stored away, and it is now covered in some grey gaffer tape  and attached to the Double.  I also have around the neck a piece of gilt chain from an old necklace and this has been done the right length to show where a jewel neckline would be.  To pad out the original old dress stand I used ordinary wadding, a mixture of all sorts really, and just wrapped this round and  it is held in place with some old stockingette covers that came originally on those old wire dress forms from back in the 60's and then to make sure my Double wouldn't move I pushed more wadding in to the bust area via the armholes and she really is quite solid.

With regards to the Men's thermal vests from M&S that I have used, these have all seen better days.  Some are as they were bought i.e. with the neckline in tact which my husband used, and then I borrowed for myself to wear and found them oh so comfy, came down over my rear but I didn't like the highish Tee-shirt type neck, so I removed the neckband on mine and cut the neckline down a little and reused the original neckband but made it much narrower and I have a scooped neckline and thus this does not now show around the neck when I am wearing sweaters.  I also wear my vests like a Tee-shirt under open shirts. (I always found that female thermal vests were too skimpy and on my size struggled to even cover my waist - with my adaptation at the neck I am warm and cosy there are no draughts around my middle).
I have noticed that my husbands vests are showing wear and tear around his neck at the moment, so it looks as though we will have to go and get some more which I will bag the tatty ones  ready to be used if necessary only I am hoping and trying to lose weight.

I had spent months upon months trying to perfect a decent fitting shoulder princess line top last year and my thinking was with the toile, that I know that was a comfortable fit, so if I stuffed this toile on Matilda tightly  any future toiles for other tops would be right for me - I can pin the toile in exactly to fit and then it should fit me - that is the theory anyway and only trial and error will tell if I have this right - so I wait to see what happens in 2020!!!!  I don't have a waist I have an egg shaped abdomen, so I have no waist fitting at all - in fact I want to try and disguise this abdomen and the way my knit fabric is draping at the moment I am quite pleased with it - also by draping this floral fabric on Matilda it has shown me I need to be careful about positioning the fabric over the bust - I do not want two huge sprays of roses poking out at me!!!  I am also trying to do a cowl type neckline and this is an experiment.

I shall look forward to seeing how you get on, and I do hope that some of my ideas will actually work for you - good luck.


Re: Draping a basic Sloper on my 'Me Shaped' Dress Form
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2020, 00:09:22 AM »
Nick Verros on you tube has videos that does some draping and I can see why he was an exceptional teacher.  I use his to brush up on stuff I forgot or need to do better.  I looked and found all of these on Amazon.UK.

Connie Crawford has a book called The Art of Fashion Draping, and I have the 3rd edition, and it still works. (under 20 pounds).

Draping: The Complete Course by Karolyn Kiisel is pretty extensive and covers draping knits (about 30 pounds)

Draping: Techniques for Beginners (26 pounds).  I don't own this, but I have heard good things from those that want to learn it.

Most of my own personal books (I own the first two) are old vintage sources...old textbooks from the 70s from FIT mostly.  University of Fashion has classes as does Craftsy.  Craftsy I found following along with a book to be more helpful.

But I'll be honest: while my shop has internet connection, I have so much crap in the workroom I don't watch videos there and I'd rather have a book.


Re: Draping a basic Sloper on my 'Me Shaped' Dress Form
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2020, 16:43:19 PM »
 I'm most unlikely to make a high round neckline and even a Nehru or Mandarin collar would need a bit of ease. So, I must try the neck chain method, Elnnina. Thank you and good luck with your lovely fabric.

Thank you for the recommendations, Kwaaked. I have ordered the Connie Crawford book. Not too bad a price even with p&p to the UK. I have been binge watching draping videos. The University of Fashion ones are particularly helpful. I'm also watching the Bluprint / Craftsy class, "Fashion Draping with Paul Gallo. He's a bit ponderous compared to U of F and he doesn't seem to add much, if any, wearing ease as he goes along. Perhaps he is creating more of a Moulage.

A very up to date and interesting video is this one, from Stitchless TV:

This was made after Shingo Sato had draped a Jacket using Muslin and a lot of masking tape, instead of pins.

My only caveat following the Stitchless TV vid' is that she takes her darts right up to the vanishing point of any mounds. Traditionally a bust dart, say, does not extend further than about 1" into the bust circle. I wonder of her garment would be skin tight especially across the back.
I do like her method of slashing then taping. It would be quicker than all that delicate pinning. I'm so cack-handed.

Happy sewing,


Re: Draping a basic Sloper on my 'Me Shaped' Dress Form
« Reply #6 on: January 14, 2020, 11:45:44 AM »
Claire the thicker string of weights that I used on my dress form I purchased through Merrick and Day, I did a quick calculation first on measuring up the various lengths I needed for all the seams and princess shoulder seams the shoulders as well and this is a really weighty string, but for me it is important to be able to feel this through other fabric when fitting or draping.  It is really easy to sew on as the lengths of lead in the string are really short.  It takes time, but once in place it is there for ever unless you remove it.

Good luck with sorting your form out - I am sure doing this will repay you many times over and what a difference you will find as well.


Re: Draping a basic Sloper on my 'Me Shaped' Dress Form
« Reply #7 on: January 17, 2020, 09:23:06 AM »
Would like to thank all the contributors on this post for their valuable research and information; I really appreciate the knowledge sharing culture of TSP. :)


Re: Draping a basic Sloper on my 'Me Shaped' Dress Form
« Reply #8 on: January 17, 2020, 10:24:40 AM »
I must add that I keep something on my dress form (Matilda) as she is not the prettiest person to look at.  Sometimes it is just a toile, other times a huge square floaty scarf that covers a multitude of sins.  However one advantatge of having a body double is that it does show up your body imperfections - I have a displaced pelvis (high hip) and that is so obvious on Matilda and shows up so well.

I recall on watching Strictly when they showed clips of the Wardrobe and how everything is made, they said they started each new season padding out dress forms with bubble wrap, then as the contestants lost weight as the season progressed they just peeled off layers of the bubble wrap to suit the weight loss.

Go on annieeg have a go - I am finding it so much easier now I have really padded my original body double (made 14 years ago) out to my current shape and size - and whilst I do not like the look I just have to get on with it.  I should add that with all the extra wadding of actual wadding and the 'vests' on top there is something substantial to actually pin into and that makes a huge difference.