Monday, March 28, 2011

Draping--Sort Of--A Sacque, Part Three

Draping a robe a la francaise, or sacque. An eight part series! Click the tag or go to the tutorial page for links to all parts.

Now the fun part--taking five rectangles of fabric (back, two sides of the skirt and two fronts) and folding them to make one of the most gorgeous dress styles ever.

Please remember, this is just one way to do it. These were all custom draped--there's no one exact way to do this. If you end up with something pretty, you've probably done it right :)

And now the back draping!

Francaise Draping 1

Start out by dressing your dress form. This is to give the general silhouette of the finished dress. The petticoat does sit lower than my waist does, but that doesn't really affect the final dress.

Francaise Draping 2 Francaise Draping 3

Francaise Draping 4

Secure your fabric to the dressform. The top edge should be even with the seam allowance of the shoulder pieces.

Francaise Draping 6 Francaise Draping 8

Next, make a pleat facing the center back. How deep you make it depends on your fabric and how wide you want your back pleats to be. It doesn't have to be very deep.

The goal is to have two stacked box pleats falling from the shoulders. Look at pattern drafts to get an understanding of how measurements and the number of pleats that go into the stacked box pleats vary.

Francaise Draping 10 Francaise Draping 11

Repeat that pleat on the other side.

Francaise Draping 12 Francaise Draping 13

Make another pleat on top of your first pleat. A little of the first pleat should still show.

Francaise Draping 16 Francaise Draping 17

Repeat that pleat.

Francaise Draping 15

The dress is already starting to take form!

The pleats are still a little too wide at the shoulders--the same pleating technique will be used on the outside edges next.

Francaise Draping 18

Before making the outer pleats, smooth and pin the sides of the dress.

Francaise Draping 19

Pleat the extra fabric at the shoulders. Decide how wide you want the back pleats and form the first pleat there. Then make a second pleat on top of that. Like before, let a little of the first pleat show. This part just takes a little fiddling--it's really quite easy though!

Francaise Draping 21

Pin the finished pleats into place.

Francaise Draping 22

To keep the back pleats neat and the back of the bodice smooth, pin underneath the bottom of the pleats. This should run vertically. Without stitching here, the entire back, not just the pleats, will flow away from the lining and it won't look very attractive. Be careful to not pin too deep, or it will pull the second pleat under the first. Just smooth it and adjust until you're happy with it. Again, refer to pattern drafts to see how this was done on originals.

Francaise Draping 23

Francaise Draping 24

And the back is done!

Next up, the side seams :)

And if you're wondering where the fireplace that seems to be in so many of my pictures is, no, I haven't moved--I was at a friend's house. This also explains the lack of cats!


  1. Great tutorial!

  2. Multumesc pentru prezentare, un model deosebit dificil de executat, felicitari!