9.17.2013

the real drape drape


the king asked if i'd like to review a couple more titles, and i said yes indeedy.  they sent me draping, the complete course, which will be released in october.  i'm crazy about draping, but my real knowledge of it is crazy limited.  i basically just throw fabric at the form and hope for the best.

so, i was anxious to learn a thing or twenty eight from author and professor karolyn kiisel.  this book was devoured front to back immediately upon arrival, over 300 pages, and although much of it is fantastic, i wanted more why.  MUST ALWAYS HAZ THE WHY


first of all, if you're going to take the plunge into this tome, you absolutely need a dressform.  the why on that should be pretty clear.  in fact, go get a dressform, yo.  having spent the summer without my mine, i was reminded daily of how much i love that gal.  i was chomping at the bit to get home and crack this book open next to my wolfie girl!


my exuberance is showing, no?  karolyn instructs moderation in pinning, as too many pins can spoil the balance, but i went bananas anyways, and started draping the first of the "dress" projects: the audrey hepburn "breakfast at tiffany's" dress.

(and yes, i did remove some of those pins to quiet those stress points.) 


it's still under construction, and i'm shocked to see that it's turning out okay.   truing up that muslin was not a pretty thing.

what is truing?  truing is a task, yo!  karolyn gently explains that it will be, via the wonderful video included with the book.  while the instructions on the page lean towards the technical side, her video demeanor is more like that of a breezy, i don't know, wedding planner... odd description, but i mean the perfect kind that only exists in dreamland, the kind that will fix every problem with a delicate wave of her manicured hand, making your day into a perfect 73 degree, cumulus cloud sky.  she makes this look soooooo easy.

i'm pretty sure every outfit she sported was draped.  even her luxurious curls are draped.


having that visual reference really changed the feel of the book for me.  i'd say watching the videos first, or at least alongside, is the way to go-- you absolutely need the video to support the book.  i took notes on almost all of the video chapters.  in hot pink.  naturally.

i expected the bulk of this book to be more about the principles of draping, but really, karolyn shows you how to jump right in with both feet (or rather, hands) with step by step instructions on how to drape specific pieces. you're actually getting patterns for draping, sans paper.  you create the paper patterns out of fabric. and i mean patternS... an absolute BOATLOAD of projects including pants, gowns, dresses, tops, jackets, and bustiers.  


yep, bustiers, you corset-crazed crowd!!!  like a metric ton of info on that!  

so, my tiffany's dress?  after truing the pattern, i was at odds with my verdict.  but today, after sewing up my muslin, i was happily surprised.  she fit!  she doesn't look exactly like karolyn's (on the video she does a little quick magical tug to peg the skirt on her absolute hoot of a model and i said out loud YES DO THAT, it was kind of amazing)... but she fit!  perhaps i can't learn everything there is to know about draping on my very first try.  

verdict?  i was lukewarm while truing up yesterday, because it looked like *what i like to think of as* MY BEAUTIFUL SELF-GRADED STRAIGHT A AVERAGE was going to get a red mark.  today, after my first draft of sewing, my grades are looking up...i'm starting to get a crush on this teacher.

if you're in the san fran area and want a firsthand look, britex is holding a pop up event this thursday, where karolyn will demonstrate how to drape the audrey hepburn dress.  if i had that teleportation device, i'd go for it.   

this book (and the frenzy of activity that ensued) was provided to me by Laurence King in exchange for an honest review.

48 comments:

  1. This is the book of the moment apparently! Really good, really heavy and a tad expensive but I'm sure it will grace my bookshelves sooner rather than later! Can't wait to see your tiffany's dress by the way! That certainly requires some draping skills but you're probably already in good hands with that book :)

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    1. truly, i was shocked that the muslin fit. and, i believe you can get it via amazon for a better price...

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  2. Ooh, thanks for the review! After being vehemently opposed to draping (for no reason), I decided that patterns were too confining and the 3 projects I'm working on now are all draped. Of course, I'm just throwing things up on my dress form until I like how it looks. I should probably get this book and learn how to do it for real!

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    1. the cool thing is, you're really training your eye, so if you have an eye & a feel for draping, this will only enhance that. at least so far!!!

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  3. Oooh interesting! I'm scared to death of draping but you made this sound intriguing even to me... I can't wait to see how the Tiffany's dress turns out... :)

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    1. i tell ya, draping is hella fun. it has rules, but kind of not.

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  4. Good for you!! I love draping because once you get that down, you're not limited to flat patterns that others create (and trying to tweak or join different patterns together to make your own look).

    Just a thought...
    Consider using the pins with the balls only to toepin along the grain, and use silk pins when pinning the panels together. The thickness of the ball pins tends to pull the fabric and the ball itself can add a 1/16 to your fit.

    Also, consider pinning the panels together with the fabric out, as you likely have some "turn of the cloth" happening when you fold it in, which adds 1/16 on both sides to your cut line.

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    1. This is great information! Thank you so much!

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    2. AH! thankya! i need silk pins! that must also be why karolyn advises moderation in pinning. when i trued up, there were definitely some curves that needed fixing, i bet that was my problem. especially considering i used 14,000 pins.

      karolyn has you pin the panels together outwards first, and then you turn the front panel under to mark the side seams. but lately i've been giving turn of the cloth the side eye-- even in pattern cutting, i hate to cut on the fold now!

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    3. The turning of the fabric is to make draping easier to visualize for beginners, you can see where you need to mark, match up and notch (waist notches at all intersections are the key to everything!). But between you and me, if you can get all your markings done without turning it inwards, you're much better off in the long run.


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  5. I received this book from the king as well (no, not Elvis). I'm no expert at draping but I have had a hand in it, but even with my experience, this book looks intimidating. Just the size of it scares the beejesus out of me!

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    1. maddie, you ain't scared of NUTHIN. you take that book and show it what for. the thickness of it actually excited me!

      that didn't sound right.

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    2. That sounded perfectly right

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  6. This book is straight-up amazing. I found THE EXACT COAT I've been looking for in the book... only a bit scared to dive into draping with a COAT project. Seems a bit crazy/arrogant/disastrous, yeah? So obviously I'm going to try it!

    Can't wait to see your draped creations, dude!

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    1. ha! i tried an advanced pattern, a skirt, for about 5 minutes before i realized i should probably start at the beginning :)). but that should not stop you, as i was on my second manhattan.

      no for real i was, there was bathroom DIY drama.

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  7. Ooo this is going on my christmas list, if I can wait that long ;)

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  8. very cool! someday i'll have a try at this, but for now my dressform is one of those lame dritz models and i can't adjust it small enough for my upper body... so really it's just an expensive hangar. can't wait to see the tiffany dress!

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  9. Oooh, this book looks good! I just purchased Pattern Magic and Pattern Magic 2, but have not used either of them yet. I wanted to get the Drape Drape series next, but think this one will be more interesting.

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  10. I had so many dramas with drafting my wedding dress (and never ended up completely happy with it) - I wish this book had come out a year ago!

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  11. Ordered the book on Amazon when I read about it on Peter's blog but everyone must be ordering now because Amazon just called and told me I had to wait. *sob* They don't have it in.

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    1. I remember someone telling me they tried to buy it yonks ago and couldn't-it sold out the day it was featured on the fashion incubator blog. XD

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  12. I pre-ordered this in August when it showed up as a 'recommended' on my list (gotta love those prediction algorithms and the total absence of purchase privacy). I clicked buy and realised it might not be Metric. XP
    So do tell, did I eff up massively? I've got Duburg and van de Tol's Draping which is frickin' awesome (80% finished review waiting in my drafts folder till I can find a scanner that doesn't muck up the spine XD) and I'm using it for pants, so I don't actually need another draping book..but I've already paid for it so... eh.

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    1. well... although she does put cms in parenthesis every so often, it's mainly inches :(. but this is more about feel than rulers, so i think you'll enjoy it!

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  13. Love ya work... and you've got my fingers a-twitchin'....I want to play with some draping too! Right now, I'm supposed to be too busy to (ahem..) even read blogs.

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  14. Wowsa! This looks awesome! I LOVE free books (I used to run book events so I have a flatfull now - woo hoo!), but free sewing books sound like pure heaven! This one sounds like a real keeper - I am a massive fan of heavily illustrated books that teach as you go, so this sounds perfect for the way my brain works! Thank you for the detailed review and sneaky peek pictures!

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  15. Ooh, it sounds amazing! I've always wanted to learn draping (although I'd need to pad out my dressform to my measurement for that, I guess). And draping a corset, man!? Awesome! :D

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  16. Le sigh. Yet another thing to add to my "to-buy" seing list!

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  17. Wow, that's one hell of a review! Lovely! :) I feel like Lisette... 'Le sigh. Yet another thing to add to my "to-buy" list' *lol* I feel your pain, doll!
    Well, certainly time to sit back, toss down a gin tonic or two, and get hunting for that title.
    Thanks Oona, you're a total peach :)

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    1. Oops, forgot to mention, I linked to this review in my blog - I hope you don't mind...?

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  18. Hmmmm....Britex is just a short BART ride away for me, maybe I'll go and check it out for you : )

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    1. No, had to go rescue kitties instead, sorry. But the kitties are cute : )

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  19. At least I know what to ask Santa to bring me this year! ;-)

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  20. amazon is cheaper; the video on the publisher's website is compelling! thanks for your great review and pix: i'm in and must get sewing space straightened out now that painters have finished. promise you'll get the hat and stand in front of Tiffany's when your dress is finished...my husband is hoping...

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    1. ack. now i must. let's hope MY hubby is still a willing photographer by then...

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  21. I absolutely love draping! I would love to learn more about it. I agree it is one I will probably ask Santa for. Can't wait to see your Audry dress.

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  22. So yeah, someone hit the Pre-order in my amazon wish list for this book. That lady is out of control and can't wait for Oct. :-)

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  23. By october I might actually have some time to devote to learn to drape. In the mean time, I will bask in the all the glory that I'm sure your pinning frenzy will produce

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  24. Got to get this book! I don't have a single draping book in my collection.

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  25. Haha! We're draping at the same time. Yours looks way better than mine! You go!

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    1. lady, that is just UNTRUE. i'm loving following along with your class results!

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  26. AWWWW, I get off work at 4 and live about 3 hours away from SF. I could totally make it, right? So. Tempted.

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  27. i took a patternmaking class at FIT. my instructor told me the same thing about too many pins.. except the way he explained it was with every pin you take in more and more of the fabric by fractions.. so too many pins and you can end up with a smaller size than expected..(im paraphrasing) he also said the best way to pin that bodice muslin was in diagonal.. who knew!

    anyways thought id pass that along.. seeing that same bodice brings back good and bad memories haha

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    1. diagonal... fascinating. i know so little about draping, i figured there was one way to do it, but of course there's got to be eight thousand ways, just like sewing. i'm going to try diagonal pinning & also the method that asunnydayinla advised up above in the comments...

      that explanation on too any pins is great. it's the why! must always haz the why!!

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  28. I foresee a lot of draping bloggers coming soon! I'm sort of a geek about flat pattern drafting--such different ways, no?--but whether it's flat with numbers or tactile on a form, I always need the *why*. Wait, why am I adding 2.3 cm here? Tell me! There are never enough whys ;).

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i thankya truly for taking the time to comment, i love a good conversation-- and hope you know my thanks are always implied, if not always written!