how to copy a stretchy ready-to-wear dress
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!