Tutorial: Draping a Wedding Dress Skirt
The fabric which I’m using for the skirt of Megan’s wedding dress is absolutely beautiful – it is crinkled, ruched with elastic thread, so it has lots of give and great texture. When hung on the grain, it looks boxy but when draped on the bias it hangs beautifully. The bottom line is that it is easy to see how the skirt will look but difficult to envision how to make a garment from the fabric. To make it a little more difficult, the fabric design isn’t completely symmetric and if given a choice, one would want to avoid seaming over the ruched medallion.
Last of all, the fabric is only 45″ wide which limits the width and length of the finished skirt. Essentially this allowed for a 45″ square, give or take a few inches for each the front and the back. Megan is 5’3″, so the skirt is long enough however if she were tall, the length wouldn’t work.
In thinking about how to make the skirt, the following are the steps I took to drape this skirt:
1. For weeks the fabric hung on the bias, just clipped to a hanger. During this time it stretched quite a lot. The truth is that I was also afraid to cut the fabric because I had only one chance and didn’t want to mess up. I guess that’s called procrastination!
2. Using silk organza to later be used as a skirt underlining, I drafted a skirt in the desired shape.
3. Once I was comfortable with the shape of the silk organza, I laid it on top of the skirt fabric and pinned it in place.
4. Then I hung it again for several weeks and allowed the organza to stretch out.
5. Last of all, I basted the underlining to the skirt at the seam line. This included careful positioning of the small creases which give the fabric a crinkled look. The front and back were then basted together.
6. Before cutting most of the excess fabric, we were able to do a fitting of the skirt with the top to determine the best place for the waistline.
7. Finally after this was completed, it was time for some serious cutting of the excess fabric.
8. The side seams were also machine sewn at this point. Given that it was difficult to sew a straight line on this fabric, the underlining acted as a guide for the side seams.
The wedding is about 6 weeks away. The top is fully constructed and attached to the skirt. The zipper is basted in and this weekend will be the last fitting and hemming. Stop by after June 12 and you can see the end product!