Habitually we draft a Facing from the drafted bodice pattern as we know it will fit the fabric perfectly when we come to attach it. But what happens when you decide to purposely change the facing shape from the bodice pattern with an aim to use it for effect. This is an idea I wanted to try out from the Pattern Magic books by Tomoko Nakamichi.
Here we explore this idea using a bodice pattern to create 5 different versions or styles that all look different simply because the Facing used was a different shape.
The Facing shapes used were as follows;
· No Facing
· A Round Neck Facing
· A Square Neck Facing
· A V Neck Facing
· An Asymmetrical Neck Facing
They looked something like this when drafted (actually the round neckline shown here was altered because it was too small a neckline, a simple mistake).
This is a very quick exercise that you can do in an hour or two on a half sized Body Form, it gives you 5 different looks for one bodice pattern so is fun to do to see the results.
Before you start you will need to have covered up to at least Module 6 - Create the Flexible Pattern - 4b and have also worked on the subsequent Unit for drafting Necklines.
You will need to have drafted a Base Template and consequently a Working Template for your half sized body form (this will be a half day project but is so useful to do so that you always have a starting point for your patterns for your small Body Form).
In this photo you will see the Working Template for Back and Front on the right (we will only be using the Front for this exercise). The four fabric facings, the 5 fabric main Front bodice pieces and the pattern pieces on the left.
To make the main pattern for the Main Front Bodice draw around your working template to the waist (and draw the waist) and draw in all of the Guidelines and Dart lines.
Label this pattern as Main Front Bodice.
Shave off the width of the Shoulder Dart off the Shoulder at the Armhole to get rid of it.
Draw a Round Neckline from half way on the Shoulder (let’s call this ‘x’) to around half way between the Neckline and the Bust Line.
Measure the length of this Round Neckline and keep a note of this measurement (let’s call this ‘y’).
Any seam no matter the shape can be sewn to any other seam as long as they are equal in measurement and this forms the basis of a successful result for this experiment.
Without cutting out the pattern trace off this pattern on another sheet of paper for the Round Neck Facing. Mark on a Facing Line from mid-Armhole (above the Armhole Dart) to Centre Front allowing around 1 ½ for the Facing depth. You can just use a simple straight line for now although on a full sized pattern you would usually use a curved line and perhaps not go into the armhole. Add a 1/4” Seam Allowance to the Neckline (you can do Shoulder and Armhole too if you are going to sew them). Cut out this Round Neck Facing Pattern. On the fabric this will be cut on the Fold down the Centre Front (with the Centre Front on bias). Disregard the rest of this tracing.
Go back to the Main Front Bodice and draw a Style Line from the Bust Point to the Neckline at around half way on the Neckline and then manipulate Bust and Armhole Darts into the Neckline Style line you just drew. We have already disregarded the Shoulder Dart. We will keep the Waist Dart for now and it’s up to you if you want to sew it or not. For speed in this example this was left unsewn. The Waist Dart is not manipulated into the Neckline because this would add a little too much volume in the Neckline for accurate measurement of ‘y’. The other option is to shave off the Waist Dart from the Side of the pattern.
On this same Main Front Bodice, draw in a new Neckline from point ‘x’ on the Shoulder down to Centre Front. Make the line higher in the Centre Front than the current Neckline. This new Neckline will look like a Boat Neckline in shape. The length of the new Neckline must equal ‘y’ (the measurement of the Round Neckline). You will need to experiment a little with shape and height until you get the correct measurement for ‘y’ for the new Neckline shape.
Add a 1/4” Seam Allowance to the Neckline (you can do Shoulder and Armhole too if you are going to sew them). Cut out the pattern piece.
This now forms the pattern for the Main Front Bodice which will be cut on the Fold at Centre Front and Centre Front will be on bias.
Trace off the Working Template again to create the Square Neckline. Draw the new Square Neckline using a line from Centre Front and a line from ‘x’ and where they intersect forms the square neckline (which is really not square but close enough). Measure the length of the new Neckline it should measure the same as ‘y’, you may need to redefine it until it meets the same measurement. Draw a line for the bottom of the Facing, around 1 ½” deep should give you enough fabric for the Facing. Add a 1/4” Seam Allowance to the Neckline (you can do Shoulder and Armhole too if you are going to sew them). Cut out the Square Facing, it will be cut on the fold at Centre Front and Centre Front will be on the bias.
Trace off the Working Template again to create the V Shaped Neckline. Draw a line from ‘x’ to around 1” from the Bust Line. Measure the length of the new Neckline it should measure the same as ‘y’, you may need to redefine it until it meets the same measurement. Draw a line for the bottom of the Facing from just above the Armhole Dart to around 1 ½” below the new Neckline at Centre Front. Add a 1/4” Seam Allowance to the Neckline (you can do Shoulder and Armhole too if you are going to sew them). Cut out the V Neckline Facing, it will be cut on the fold at Centre Front and Centre Front will be on the bias.
For the Asymmetrical Neckline trace off the Working Template so that you have a full front, i.e. trace it then flip to reverse it and trace around for the other side. Draw on the asymmetrical Neckline shape by drawing from ‘x’ on the left shoulder down to mid-way between Centre Front and Armhole around 1 ½” above the Bust line. Draw in the other side of the Neckline from ‘x’ on the other shoulder to the end of the line just drawn in a slight curve. Measure the length of the new Neckline it should measure the same as ‘y’, you may need to redefine it until it meets the same measurement. Draw a line for the bottom of the facing from above the Armhole Dart on one side to above the Armhole Dart on the on the other side you will have two angled lines and the Facing should be around 1 ½” deep. Add a 1/4” Seam Allowance to the Neckline (you can do Shoulder and Armhole too if you are going to sew them). Cut out the Asymmetrical Facing, the Centre Front will be on bias.
Position all pieces onto fabric and cut them out with Centre Front on bias. You will need to cut five Main Front Bodice pieces but only one of each of the Facings.
One by one pin on the Facings to the Main Front Bodice pieces and one by one stitch the Facings on the Necklines and under stitch and press (you may need to snip a little after stitching at the corners before under stitching. If you are only sewing the Necklines they will look very similar to each other, but all will change now. Pin the Shoulders and Armholes of the main bodice pieces and joined Facings until you have done this for all 4 Fronts. Now you will see the shaping happening.
You can now pin the Fronts one at a time onto the Body Form to see the results.
Even though we have the same Main Bodice Front by attaching the different shaped facings with the same Neckline length you can see that you can change the shape of the Neckline as it is pulled into shape by the Facing.
Here is the Default or Baseline Bodice with no Facing attached, you can see the excess fabric at the Neckline where all of the Darts were transferred to.
Here the Round Facing is used. You can see in comparison how the excess fabric in the Neckline is turned inwards into a gentle curve by the Round Facing.
Here is the Square Facing, you can see how the shape of the Neckline is now more geometric although it is still soft (the line on the fabric is from another project as I used scraps for this so please ignore the line it does not mean anything).
The V Shaped Neckline changes the shape as expected in a soft V shape.
If we look down on the Neckline you can see that the is held in place next to the skin by the Facing so the fabric is not falling away from the body in the Neckline, that is the same for all of the samples here.
Lastly let’s look at the Asymmetrical Neckline which is a really good option for square body shapes like mine to break up the body a little.
Without draping and just pattern drafting and changing facings you can change the shape of a simple neckline. This is a fabulous way to add to your Flexible Pattern sets, it’s quick and easy to draft a different Facing. Here you have five different looks for a top or a dress by drafting one bodice and 4 Facings. These are the basic neckline shapes of course there are other necklines you could try this out with, Diamond, Portrait, Scallop, U Neckline. This one is a definite pattern to add to your capsule wardrobe pack!
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