Cowl Drape Dress – First Sample

Cowl Drape Dress – First Sample

And now I’m ready to return to this little wonder!  From the original Pattern Puzzle post I’ve made an initial sample in calico to check the design and fit of this new design. Throughout this post I’ll share each stage of the pattern alterations that I hope will end up in a delightful pattern.

The reason we use calico for first samples is that it’s largely unforgiving and reveals all the potential flaws in the design and fit of all our new ideas.  The immediate issues in this sample are design based.  I think there is too much fabric in the cowl drape at the neckline and that the waterfall feature is a little over the top considering all the other design features on this dress.

The smaller, but equally important issues are the pointy effect of the cap sleeves, the way the back neck is sitting and the lack of definition in the waist shaping.  The solutions are to shape the cap sleeve over the shoulder joint, remove the excess length from the back neckline and introduce some extra darting through the waistline.
And finally to get rid of the waterfall drape on the front left panel.  You’ll see from the images that I also have to fit the left side panel over the front thigh to maintain the fit in the design that keeps the drape in place.
After all these pattern changes, I then cut the dress in a viscose blend crepe fabric.  Well maybe I should have used something more stable!  Because of the stretch in the weave and fibre content of the fabric the dress came up way too big.  It’s one of those situations where the wrong fabric can totally change the fit of a dress.  You’ll notice that the sample below has many changes (pinned areas) to allow for the give of the fabric in both directions.
The next decision I have to make is whether I alter the pattern according to the above sample and stay with the same kind of fabric for the next sample.  Or to sample again in a more stable fabric, using the first set of alterations and see how that goes.  At this stage I haven’t made that decision and much will depend o the fabrics I have in my stash.
I’m hoping that you all enjoyed my journey with this new design.  This repeat sampling process is business as usual for all the designer, pattern makers out there that create the new fashion product that ends up in our fashion stores.  When we make new garments for our own wardrobe, all of this sampling does feel a little excessive.  But believe me when I say that this is how good product is made and it’s worth the extra effort to know that our wardrobes are full of well considered, well made designs.
Anita McAdam
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