Saturday, October 16, 2010

Draping Vintage Part Deux

At long last here is the second set of photos from draping the vintage bra patterns. Again, this was done using a pattern for a "soutien gorge" from the 1930's. I purchased the original pattern on Etsy (I love that place!). The first style featured both vertical and horizontal seams in the cup. As in the photo here.

This second version uses only a vertical seam in the cup with a dart at the side to provide shaping. A separate support band is also part of the design, although you could leave it as a simple placket at the center front...a fore-runner of the "lift and separate" philosophy, perhaps? In any case, given that I had to translate the instructions from french and drape and draft from that translation, I am keeping it simple and sticking to the plan that was originally given. So here is my gal (mannequin) Marie with the first seam pinned into place.

It is easy to see how you could extend the center front placket into a full band. Given my, ahem, balance of assets, I will certainly be considering that alteration. Pay attention to keeping the muslin smoothed to avoid offsetting your seam lines.

In the case of a garment that will need fitting to your figure, I always work from the premise that I am draping to create the basic shapes that will then develop into a full, working pattern.

Fewer seams in the cup means not as many places to potentially adjust for eccentricities of figure; my girls are definitely eccentric...and they have a great personality! Sounds like the lead in to a blind date, eh?

The lower edge and the center front neckline should be pinned down in their general shape and position to allow for the center seam to follow the line of the strap from the shoulder down and over the tip of the breast or the nipple point. This creates a graceful line to both the undergarment and that carries over into how your clothing will drape. We all know how the wrong bra can ruin an outfit, don't we?

This photo shows the cut after the tentative slope of the neckline (is this where that word "decolletage" would be appropo?) and the outside upper edge of the cup with the extra fabric trimmed away all around. It took several re-pinnings and a glass of wine to get the center seam to flow nicely and not waver at the point where the lower curve begins. Kept offsetting to the left a bit. Maddening!

The dart in the outside panel is also well positioned. When I take these pieces and make the paper pattern, I will probably draft it a bit shallower, following on my philosophy of "you can always make it smaller". Since the finished garment will be built with 3 layers of fabric, including interlining, I don't want to end up with a volume problem. My cups running over is one of the main reasons I ever decided to give making undies a try!

Here is a close-up of the dart. As you can see, increasing or decreasing along that line will make the fitting very simple. A deeper or shallower dart as you please and comfort can be at hand. I do think that I am going to end up adding an under-bust band to give a more controlled fit. It's a difficult task to find vintage patterns in my size - and they are pricey when you do!

Isn't it incredible how underwear simplified from the beginning of the 20th century to 1930's? That's a repeat of an oft noted fact, but really! I have made corsets for Elizabethan, Georgian and Victorian dress as well as stays for the Regency era and always wonder why in the world women kept opting to go back to wearing garments that were so restrictive. Hereditary streak of masochism?

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