Facebook Email Pinterest Twitter X Instagram Tiktok Icon YouTube Icon Headphones Icon Favorite Navigation Search Icon Forum Search Icon Main Search Icon Close Icon Video Play Icon Indicator Arrow Icon Close Icon Hamburger/Search Icon Plus Icon Arrow Down Icon Video Guide Icon Article Guide Icon Modal Close Icon Guide Search Icon

Conversational Threads

how to copy a stretchy ready-to-wear dress

stacywacy | Posted in General Discussion on

I bought a new dress- stretchy fabric, very close-fitting, empire waist, short sleeves- and REALLY want to copy it. It fits soooo well. Usually, I would just lay out some pattern paper, put the garment on top and start poking pins through the seamlines to delineate where the various pattern pieces will be cut (after adding generous seam allowances of course). The problem I’m having is that this dress has short, tight sleeves which form part of the neckline at the shoulder area- the manufacturer did not gather the sleeve at the neckline, but instead put in a dart to take the volume out at the neck. Then the manufacturer cut most of the dart off, so I can’t tell how much fabric was taken out by the dart. Does anyone have an idea how to copy this sleeve? On a related topic, when copyng a garment which has gathered areas, what would be the smartest way to determine how much fabric was gathered at that particular area? Hand-sewing with close stitches through all the gathered fabric and then pulling out the thread and measuring its length? Thanks for any suggestions!

Replies

  1. JDNow | | #1

    Copy a knit garment

    I am an avid ready-made clothing copier and with knits you must measure the stretch of the garment for best results. Just measure off about 3 inches and then see how much fabric stretches...from 3 inches to 5 inches, 6 inches, etc. Do this both vertically and horizontally because one usually stretches more. Test your fabric you wish to purchase to make sure the stretch is similiar.

    Next create a test bodice without the dart and then take in where dart is located until the neckline fits correctly. Knits are definitely more tricky than woven fabrics to copy because there may be ease and fitting tricks that are incorporated into the design that the knit fabric hides.

    To estimate the gathering of a woven fabric measure the length of un-gathered fabric directly below/above the gathered area. Then measure the length of the gathered area and that should indicate how much to gather. A good trick for nice gathers is to sew two lines of gathering stitches and after pulling up gathers stitch the permanent stitch between the two lines of gathering stitches.

    Hope these tips help you out and for fashion fun check out my blog http://[email protected] 

  2. stillsuesew | | #2

    JDNow gave you good advice about making sure your new fabric has the same stretch as the original dress.  Is the bottom of the sleeve ungathered  or undarted?  If so, you can do the same pinning through the seam and as much of the shoulder seam as lays flat. Then  roll the sleeve on the paper keepng the bottom flat against the paper and mark the other edge of the seam with pins.   This should give you some idea of how much was added at  the top.  If it is an uncut dart you should be able to measure the dart and multiply by two.

This post is archived.

Threads Insider

Get instant access to hundreds of videos, tutorials, projects, and more.

Start Your Free Trial

Already an Insider? Log in

Conversational Threads

Recent Posts and Replies

  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |

Threads Insider Exclusives

View All
View All

Highlights