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Threads eLetter

From Muslin Drape to Paper Pattern

Valerie Fuhr's method in five photos

In her article "Introduction to Draping" in the August/September 2001 issue of Threads (#96), Fashion Institute of Technology Professor Valerie Fuhr demonstrates step-by-step, draping a loose, asymmetrical shift in muslin on a dress form. All that remained for her to do to create a usable paper pattern from her draped muslin was to pin a level hemline on the finished drape, take the muslin off the form and create a facing shape for the neckline, and, finally, transfer the muslin's seamlines to paper and "true" the traced lines for accuracy. In the photos below, you'll see her walk through these steps to create a hemline, facings, and the pattern.

(Right) Placing the rotatable dress form on her worktable for easy access, Fuhr uses an L-square to pin the hem perfectly level.

(Below) Having marked the position of the neckline with narrow black tape, called "style tape," on the front muslin, and removed and unpinned the drape, Fuhr traces an accurate neckline facing following the garment outline.
Pinning the hem
Tracing the neckline
Tracing the neckline
(Above) Because the facing will need to fit smoothly within the garment, Fuhr trues the facing's shoulder seamline slightly smaller than traced, in the front only.

(Right) To trace the completed muslin to paper, Fuhr first draws a center and apex reference line on the paper on which to position the muslin. Then, with a toothed tracing wheel, she traces all the muslin's lines on the paper, which is positioned over the slightly soft surface of her cork-faced table. A foam board or soft cutting mat would work as well, as would carbon paper underneath.
Truing the traced lines
(Above) Finally, all the lines traced from muslin to paper get trued with curves, rulers, and a sharp pencil to complete the pattern.

Valerie Fuhr teaches apparel design, including draping, patternmaking, construction, and line development, at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City.

Photos: David Page Coffin

An online extra to Threads #96
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