I’m taking Designer Techniques in Sewing at Cañada College virtually this fall. The class is amazing. I’m learning tons of new techniques to use to make an article of clothing “mine” — exactly the reason why I love sewing my own clothes. Technically we only have to do a couple of samples each week, but I really try to do them all because they’re all so fantastic that I want to get them all into my brain.
As part of the class, we’re expected to make 2 garments using new-to-me techniques. One of the techniques taught early this semester was a draped collar. I thought it was cool on the front, but that it would be fantastic and dramatic at the back.
First I drafted a sleeveless top using my personal moulage from my course with Kenneth King. Technically this was the first woven garment I’ve actually drafted with it (I did use it for a stretch one that I haven’t posted but will eventually). I changed it to be a boatneck and also had to do some fit adjustments as there was a bit more ease than I like for a sleeveless garment. Although I marked them, I opted to leave out the waist darts on both the front and back because I wanted a looser, flowing romantic look.
I had a bit of an issue with the bust darts. The fabric I was using was some polyester crepe from Joann’s. It’s not the best, but it’s what I had and I coincidentally had enough scraps for this top. Not having to go to the store? I wasn’t going to argue. But yeah, the last thing I made with it also had issues with darts. They just don’t want to press. No matter what I do. Steam, heat, ham. But I don’t think it’s too bad. Not bad enough to prevent me from wearing it. Some people will probably just think I’m cold 😀
The new-to-me technique was the draped collar. I thought the one we did in class was pretty and that it would be quite dramatic to do it at the back. I wanted several drapes and drafting this particular shape took several trials (and plenty of errors) before I got what I was looking for. Here’s what the piece ended up looking like:
Pretty funky, right? I actually cut each weird trapezoid, layered them out to get the look I wanted, then taped them together and then traced it out. You can see where I smoothed out the bottom. You can also see where I forgot that I wanted a smooth bottom, accidentally cut it out and then had to piece it back together.
For the lining of the back collar, I used a brocade (also from Joann’s albeit probably over 10 years ago at this point). It was one of the few fabrics I had that matched and was the right level of fancy I was going for. It was a bit heavy and with so many layers, it pulled the facing at the back so I had to add some extra tacks to get the facing at the back to stay down even with understitching. But that’s the beauty of sewing it myself. I can add those hidden tacks and no one is the wiser. Well, except you all because I just told you.
Finally, I had some difficulty with the top of the center back seam and getting the two sides even so I ended up sewing that part by hand for an inch or so.
Were I to do this again in the same fabric, I would probably convert the darts to princess seams since I wasn’t happy how they pressed. But more likely I would find a rayon or silk. I finished off the seams with serging and did a bias binding on the armholes. I think I might be getting better at the armholes! I’ve been steaming it into a curve before attaching and that has really seemed to help.
Overall, I’m quite pleased with it and look forward to eventually wearing it out whenever that’s safe again. I may reuse the collar for a fancy dress in the future, and I’ll definitely be using the base pattern as I love the comfy shape. Plus, it’s a great way to use up some extra fabric!
First of all anyone who would throw darts at your bust is definitely a crepe. But more importantly the phrase is not Steam, heat, ham. Everyone knows it’s Baa, ram, ewe.