Saturday, March 28, 2009

1932 Draped Wrap and Cape: Pattern Review

1932 Draped Wrap and Cape: Pattern Review

I understand from the pattern proprietor that this pattern was reviewed in Threads magazine in January 2006. They sewed up the wrap in a silk lace that was beautiful. So, if you have that issue or can hunt it down, see what they have to say. Their insight may compliment (or refute) mine. In fact, if you do find the review I would love to see what they said and their photos of the finished product. Please consider sending a scan of it my way. You can email me here.

Pattern Description:
The pattern comes from my favorite company Decades of Style. As the pattern envelope says "This fabulous draped wrap and cape is a vintage style from the sophisticated early 1930s that's perfectly at home today."

I created the draped hip wrap, with a sleeve on one side and a cape treatment on the other. The sleeve is 3/4 length with a bell shape the widens at the exit. The boat neck-style neckline provides a great opportunity to show off your favorite vintage or antique brooch. The pattern is snug-fitting and designed to be worn as a light wrap and not over many layers.

It is a very unique design that (in theory) will work well with everything from jeans to formal evening wear.

Pattern Sizing:
I sewed a size C, designed for up to a 46 inch bust. That is my high bust measurement, but I am also broad shouldered and large busted and I wish I would have opted to sew size D, designed for a 49-55 inch bust. The final wrap was too small for my frame. The pattern ended up fitting my narrow-shouldered mother, probably a 38 inch bust and a size 12 in modern clothing.

The wrap is a very snug fit, so consider sizing up a few sizes. It MUST fit your shoulder width in order to drape as it should, which means you may want to go a few sizes up if you have a broad figure. You will also want to cut a muslin in a draping fabric to test before you cut into anything expensive.

As the pattern envelope says "Choose your size carefully. It makes a difference! "

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing it?
Nope. Sadly my finished product did not have the glamor and easy draping fit shown on the pattern envelope. The front cape treatment did not wrap around the front neck and lay over the shoulder as the pattern illustration describes. You can see images of the in progress garment frustrating me with its ill fit wrapping earlier in my blog here.

I wrote Decades of Style for advice during the fitting process and they kindly wrote back with words of honest reflection and encouragement. They said, "In all honesty, the pattern just did not work the way the illustration showed it – with the ends wrapping around the neck and fitting all smooth and beautiful... I (pattern designer) ended up wearing mine by tying the free ends together in the front either at the waist or up slightly towards my shoulder. It made the wrap look completely different from the illustration but it was still attractive and unusual."

Were the instructions easy to follow?
As with all Decades of Style instructions, I found them well organized, easy to follow, and complete. The large illustrations of each phase of the process make it easy to follow along, even without much sewing experience.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
Likes: The concept. The simplicity of the design. The utterly unique vintage style.

Well, the disparity between the pattern illustration and the final fit is a huge disappointment. It is like false advertising when a pattern illustration looks differently from the final product.

The fit of the wrap is very difficult, especially around the shoulders and the bust. For my large busted figure, I just could not make it work. This is not necessarily a flaw of the pattern, but rather a flaw of my shape in combo with the wrap.

Additionally, even on my narrow and smaller mother, the wrap still pulls on the body as it is worn. As mentioned, the final product fits my mother very nicely and she has adopted the garment and is modeling in these photos. Unfortunately, as she wears the well-fitting wrap, it still pulls on the body. The inside of the wrap that attaches underneath her sleeved arms to hold the garment closed wants to pull askew forward. Something about the physics of the long wrap portion makes the garment want to shift out of whack. I am not an expert seamstress, so I have not exactly figured out what is happening or how to fix it, but I do know that this wrap is the kind of piece that will need constantly adjusted while wearing to keep it in place. That is never the optimal situation.

Fabric Used:
The pattern suggests to choose a fabric with a nice drape, anything from velvet to wool, or possibly a corduroy or fleece. I choose a beautiful and softly draping gray wool dotted with flecks of green, red, blue and yellow. For the lining I used a very high quality burgundy rayon. Both were purchased from Elfriede's Fine Fabrics in Boulder, Colorado. It is the only place I want to buy fabric these days, and I don't even live in Colorado! Her staff is incredibly knowledgeable and helpful and she stocks only the highest quality clothing materials. Plus, she has an array of buttons that would make even a non-sewer squeal with delight. The wool worked well for this project, although something with even a looser and softer drape would proably have been even better.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made:
I ended up putting gathers in the lining rather than darts. Truth be told, at one point I did indeed have darts sewn into that darned rayon lining, but I sewed them in backwards. I had to rip them all out, leaving a bit of a mess in the fabric. My patience level was low, and I am not sure the fabric would have survived additional pinning and restitching of the darts, so I opted to run a gathering stitch the length of the darted area and pull it down to size. It appears to have worked well, and I would almost recommend this as an alternative to darting the lining in the first place. "Why make darts when you don't have to?" is my motto.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
No. I am such a loyal Decades of Style fan that it pains me to say this, but this is not a pattern I recommend. It is just as well I guess, because the pattern is no longer available. It's officially out of print (although with careful searching you can find it still at 3rd party vendors).

This pattern is a great idea but a flop in its original form. With modification it can bcome a lovely wrap with unique style. A muslin in a draping fabric is a must, and don't forget to watch your shoulder fit carefully.

p.s. I grew up with a Portuguese Water dog - Henry - who looked JUST like this lovely little puppy my Mom sat with in the park for this photo. They are the nicest, sweetest, calmest, most loyal animals. My dad is proud to say that he knew how great Water Dogs were long before Obama did, so he now considers himself trendsetter. My brain went into a time warp when I saw this picture because that dog looks just like Henry did, right down to the red leash and collar and black floppy hair in the eyes. Our Henry has been gone for about a year and a half now and we miss him. So every time we see a Portuguese Water dog we like to stop and say hello and pat their head. It is a little bit like being with Henry again.


Anonymous said...

Man, you have a gorgeous mother!

Tess said...

Your model is beautiful!!