Well, this has been a wonderful weekend. Great fun, and very hard work altogether, which is always great, and I feel like I really learned a lot. Dr. Trout and Dr. Parsons are both fabulous instructors, and they were able to push us through a lot of learning quickly enough to get to work on some things and actually experience draping a garment.
A special treat was that Dr. Robert Hillestad, of the Hillestad Textile Gallery was one of the workshop attendees, and it was great fun to see how he worked, and he was so very gracious and kind besides. Today, he showed us some of the things he's thinking of using in a new exhibition he'll be giving a year from now, and a group of hats from his days of teaching the millinery classes.
Yesterday we started by draping half of a paper yoke front and back on a dressform, creating a whole pattern from the halves, shaping the lower edge of the yoke, and then adding paper to the yoke to create a garment shape. The paper of course doesn't drape like fabric or muslin, but it's a great place to learn the basic techniques. Here's a photo of my paper drape along with one of my classmates. Dr. Parsons unfortunately moved behind the form just as I took the photo.
After the paper draping, we viewed the Gallery exhibition as a group, and were told to pay especial attention to the two capes in the show. The Cashin cape is a circle, and the Trigère cape is a triangle. We were to drape a circle cape. There was also a short cape by Norman Norell that caught my eye, and it was a circle as well, with a little shaping.
After we draped our capes, including attaching a mandarin collar, we saw a slide presentation on interestingly draped garments, mostly Cashin and Trigère, but also some Madame Grés garments, which were wonderfully inspiring. She did a jacket from the same triangle used for the Trigère cape, but with the point at the bottom rather than the top. A completely different effect, and wonderfully ingenious.
There was also a Madame Grés coat that had very interesting lines, and unusual sleeves in particular, that I liked a lot. Dr. Parsons had draped her own pattern from photos and measurements of the original, and had a coat in progress, with the shell completed. I got to try it on, and it was just lovely. I also got to try on her version of the Cashin Noh coat. A pattern for this was shown in a Threads magazine from 1990 I believe.
We then were told to look at a large group of fabrics on a long table, and choose two. One malleable, and one stiff. I chose a lofty stable knit in autumn colors with moss green on the back, and a brocade in cream/gold/green which is fairly stiff. I didn't actually get anywhere with the brocade, although I'd like to attempt something like the Norell cape. He had a skirt with it as well.
We spent our time individually after this, except for a couple of demonstrations of Cashin-style leather binding and bound buttonholes/welt pockets. We also each had to tell what our plan was for our fabric, show what we'd done so far. This was really fun, and helpful, as there were so many different ideas and plans that it was quite inspirational just to see what was being done.
The knit I chose seemed to call out to be a coat. It's quite heavy, and I'm sure it's at least partly acrylic, and has wonderful drape, yet quite a bit of body. I first draped some muslin to get the lapel shape I wanted. I serendipitously slashed the fabric vertically at the side seam, and let the back part fall to a horizontal, which gave a great shape, and very nice drape, so I decided to use that shape for the coat, and to add the back above the waist and the sleeves separately. In the following photos, you can see what has been done. I draped muslin over the knit to make a pattern for the back and sleeves. The sleeves are very like the Madame Grés coat that I liked. They are cut in one with the back, and the seam is at the top, in line with the shoulder seam. The sleeve wraps around the arm to the front and connects at the top. Thus the back is a kimono sleeve, and the front is a modified set-in sleeve. I know this fabric will shape beautifully, and setting in a sleeve will be no problem, but just for extra good fortune, I noticed that once the coat is worn, the sleeve seam will be covered by the collar anyway.
In the photos below, you'll see the coat on the form, with the muslin attached. The muslin hasn't been cut to the sleeve's length, and there's also a lot inside the sleeve, as I just rolled the excess up and pinned my seam where it needed to be. The sleeve will have a turnback cuff, to match the lapel. After taking the picture, I carefully marked everything and took it apart, cutting the the excess muslin off of the sleeve pattern.
I'm rather pleased with the prospects for this, and although I'm not absolutely sure it's going to fit me, (rather than the form) I have hopes that it's going to be pretty forgiving as to size. There hasn't been any actual sewing on this yet, but I hope to get right to it while everything's fresh in my mind.
I would take a workshop like this again in a heartbeat, and I would heartily recommend it to anyone as well.
Coat front with sleeve attached.
Back view with 1/2 muslin draped for back and sleeve.
Close up of Back, with collar lifted to show the top of the piece.
Front with collar lifted to show the sleeve and shoulder seams.