Thursday, December 11, 2008

1932 Draped Wrap and Cape: a (bad) work in progress.

How beautiful is this pattern? Look at those scrunched gloves, and that hat! Look at their perfectly ruby red, pursed lips, and the short curly bobs on these 1930's glams. This Decades of Style pattern just oozes with the elegance, charm, and timelessness that I crave in a vintage pattern. I purchased this patterns months, MONTHS, ago during the blazing hot heat of the Texas summer. I have been patiently waiting for the temperature to drop below 50 to sew it. And based on my adoration of the pattern illustration, I thought I would just love the finished produce. Sadly, things are not working out very well for me and the draped wrap. It is a real shame, because I was so incredibly excited to sew this pattern. It is utterly vintage yet blends so well in a contemporary wardrobe. Plus, I thought, it is loose and drapey, meaning fit shouldn't be an issue. And it is easy to sew. What a dream. NOT.

No matter what I do, I can't seem to make the finished garment fit my body. The shoulder seems are wonky and keep sliding out of place. There are four darts on the shoulder to help the garment wrap delicately over my humerus/clavicle intersection, but they keep riding up to form a stand-up collar on my shoulder. And the front wrap, well, where do I start...? The piece that is supposed to cross the front of my body and gently fold over my left should to wrap gracefully around my neck and be pinned at the shoulder with a brooch, well it is just not cooperating. Not at all. The wrap does not gather loosely and gently, but rather lumps into a huge misshapen drape at my neck, all while leaving my left breast out in the cold I am thinking that the problem is the size of my breasts, and perhaps and the size of my entire body.

In my dismay, I have been reading and rereading the instructions. From the pattern envelope:

Two fabulous patterns are included here -- the draped hip wrap, with a sleeve on one side and a cape treatment on the other, and a hip-length cape that attaches on the inside with the right front of the cape resting over the left shoulder. (The neckline provides a great opportunity to show off your favorite vintage or antique brooch.) Snug-fitting; if you want to wear it over layers, size up a bit.

Choose a fabric with a nice drape, anything from velvet to wool, or possibly a corduroy or fleece. It's a great beginning sewing project, and the finished product can work well with everything from jeans to formal evening wear. With 60" wide fabric, you need from 1.5 to 1.75 yards of both the main fabric and the lining for the cape depending on the size you want to make; you'll need from 1.5 to 1 5/8 yards of main fabric and lining for the wrap.

Oh, wait, in rereading the pattern, here it says "Choose your size carefully. It makes a difference!" That must be where my mistake happened, I choose a size too small. While I went by my high bust measurement, perhaps instead I should have taken into account my full bust. After all, how do you do a Full Bust Adjustment on a wrap? It does look like somebody out there has succeeded in making the pattern fit, however.

To demonstrate the fit issues I am struggling with, I created a photo essay documenting the fit of the garment on my figure. I call the work "How to wear an ill-fitting 1932 Draped Wrap and Cape." See below.

Step one: After putting arm through sleeve, wrap sleeveless side of wrap toward left side. Feel remarkebly hopefully at how well shoulder darts lay across your right shoulder.

Step 2: gracefully wrap excess material from sleeve across front of body, tossing over your left should and wrapping behind neck. Worry about weird shifting of right arm sleeve and unsightly excess material gathering at neckline. Proceed with caution.

Step three: realize the wrap does not lay nicely over shoulder, and further realize that neckline includes gobs of excess fabric with nowhere to go. Stair long and hard at yourself in the mirror, play with options for more than half an hour, and finally decide that nothing about the draping is graceful.

Step four: experience extreme frustration that you do not look like beautiful pattern illustration. Come close to giving up all hope. Contort face in distress.

(Side note: Oddly enough, in trying to keep my face out of the self portrait wrap images, I managed to capture pictures that EXCLUSIVELY highlight my least favorite facial feature, my double chin. Ha. I suppose its karmic retribution for being vain about how I looked in the picture.)

UPDATE: In a fit of creativity today, I think I found a solution. I am converting this wrap into a stole of sorts. From what I can tell from a Google images search, a stole is sort of like a wrapped shawl, sometimes with loose sleeves and sometimes without. Well, I am making this a one-armed stole. Instead of tossing the front of the garment over my shoulder, I will instead gather it and weave it through a (yet to be constructed) fabric loop on the front of the wrap. I will pin a brooch on the loop, and call it a done deal. It will not be as warm as the draped wrap, since more of my neck and chest is showing. And it might not even look very 1932-ish any longer. BUT, my new draped stole does seem to fit my bust and give me a way to wear this expensive piece of wool, and those are good things.

See my smile in comparison to the earlier contortion of distress? I am pleased to find a solution.

Kate's One-armed 1932 Draped Stole: a (better) work in progress.


Anonymous said...

OH NO!!! This pattern is not for sale on their site. And now that I've seen it, I simply must have it! It's adorable!

As always, you work it out in the end with Decades of Style patterns, don't you? Cute cape! I like the final result.

Kate said...

It is a LOVELY pattern, isn't it. The good news is that I see it available from another retailer online here If you order it in a size D, can I borrow it? :) I think I need a larger size.

Myra said...

Much better, the end result. You are larger busted than me, but I have big shoulders for my size with roundness and everything makes me look top-heavy. I do like it as you fixed it. Good choice of colors, too.

Anonymous said...

You might try to make it in a softer fabric. Looks like yours is a rather stiff wool. Try cashmere or maybe even a stretch bamboo to give you more drape.

But also adaptaed very cute.

Anonymous said...

the fabric is to thick to drape around your body , you need to buy something similar but much softer and drappier for that to work . go on line to buy that ... i hate to see a good idea go to waste .

Kate said...

In the end, I think the cut of the pattern and the shape of my body doomed the pattern more than my fabric choice. I had a thin, soft wool with a very gentle hand - I purchased the fabric at one of the best fabric stores I have ever been to - Elfriede's Fine Fabrics in Boulder - with Elfriede herself and the pattern in hand. We choose this fabric especially for the drape and warmth combo. It really was less an issue of fabric drape and more an issue of cut. Thank you for the suggestions, comments, and moral support. I gave the cape to my much smaller mother and she wears it well.