I adore draped clothing. I think it is figure flattering on pretty much anyone, and it just adds an element of elegance to even the most simple designs. In case you have no idea what I am talking about, here are a few examples of draping.
See? It's an absolutely lovely way to add texture and flow to a garment. I decided I needed a good draped tank for my summer wardrobe and for my Etsy shop. I've never tried it before, and assumed there would be nothing to it. Of course, since patterns and I are not friends, I started from scratch. Several (ah hum, we won't define the word "several" here for the sake of my pride) shirts later, I perfected my formula for my ideal draped tank.
here and here. The back piece of this tank is just the basic shape of a regular tank. If numbers aren't your thing, just grab a tank you already have and trace it. There is no need to be complicated, its very simple.
The front, obviously, is the tricky part. Here is the concept in another of my awful drawings.
Here is the trick, if you just widen the width of your shirt, you will get an unflattering floppy fold at the neck. If you just extend the height of the shirt, you will get a cowl neck. You must have a combination of the two to get a soft drape. The arm hole is cut on the side of the shirt, with just a tiny amount of curve, rather than a typical cut out arm hole. This is because you actually turn the very top side of the shirt in when you sew it. Let me see if I can make sense of this for you by way of pictures.
Here I have cut the shirt on the fold as wide as I need it to be. I measured down 3 inches on the unfolded edge and marked it. This three inches is going to make the extra fabric folds at the top. The more I increase this number, the more dramatic the folds will be.
Next, I measured down 3 1/2 inches and marked that. This 3 1/2 inches is my shoulder seam. It is just on the side of the shirt right now, which sort of plays tricks with your mind. It will make sense in a minute.
I wanted my arm hole to be 8 inches long so I measured down 8 inches and marked that. In the center of my last two marks, I measure in one inch. This is the arm hole.
Now I cut out that just that piece.
Next, I drew myself a line from the bottom of the arm hole to the bottom of the shirt, tapering down the size. The bottom of the shirt has to match the size of the back of your shirt.
The idea when you sew, is to turn the top of the shirt in so that the shoulder seam is now at the top where it should be. The arm hole should match up with the arm hole on the back of your shirt.
I found that it was easiest to hem the neck of the back shirt piece and all the arm holes first, before sewing the back and front together. Don't hem the front neck line, just turn the raw edge in an inch or sew at the shoulder seam line to make it drape inward.
As you can see there, I gathered that top edge first, and then sewed it the back. As far as fabric choice goes for this type of shirt, the thinner the fabric is the better. Thin jersey knit, slub knit, or chiffon type materials would be best. Here are three different shirts, made from three different fabric types.
The first is made from a Polyester Lycra blend. It is the thickest of the three and doesn't drape nearly as softly as the other two. I love the print and colors, but it just wasn't the best fabric choice for this shirt. The second is made from jersey knit. It drapes quite nicely, but is just a hair thicker than the last version. The last is my favorite. It is made from slub knit, which is very thin. If you use slub knit, it only has a one way stretch so you'll want to make sure that is going width wise when you cut it. I sincerely hope I didn't over complicate this for you. It is quite easy to do and it is a great style to always have on hand.
I just know you are dying to know where I got that insanely cute skirt...well, I'm not going to tell you until Friday. No, I didn't make it either. Come back Friday and we'll talk.
John 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.