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How to Drape the Hip Detail from a 1940s Gown

Figure out how to create this gorgeous, yet enigmatic, dress detail
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A diagonal seam joins the pleated bodice front to the bodice side panels from waist to armscye. This is not a princess seam. A short waist seam extends 4.5 cm to either side of the center front. The skirt’s center front and center back are on the grain. There is ample fabric at the front to form the draping, and the side appears to be on the bias.

Of all the details on this 1940s gown, the draped hip stands out the most. Reminiscent of chiseled stone gowns of classic Roman sculpture, this shape is mysteriously achieved to fool the eye with architectural fabric engineering—also know as pattern manipulation. See how it’s done from this article from Threads #155.

yellow dress

It’s always a joy to solve the puzzle of how a beautiful detail goes together. The vintage draped-hip gown shown on the back cover is a particular challenge. Try your skills at resolving the mystery by covering the right page, and play along as we sleuth out how this fabulous hip drape was made.

What’s known

The front and back bodice construction can use any pattern with a center front-opening style. A full back bodice pattern is used, but you’ll remove the front bodice sides to accommodate bodice side panels, which are extensions of the skirt.…

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