Pencil dress with front drape


This dress includes a cool pattern manipulation that allows to eliminate darts and change their volume into a drape at waist and knot at neckline.

The tutorial shows front only, it pairs with a simple back with classic waist darts and center back seam for zipper.

To draft the pattern, start by tracing a copy of your basic block with darts and wearing ease appropriate to the style (sleeveless or with sleeves) and fabric you will be using (with or without stretch - our choice is medium weight crepe with a little stretch).

Step 1

First mirror front copy to have it full.

Adjust the length to knee or mid-calf, then taper at hemline 2 to 3cm from sides, blending at hips.

Draw a slash line from neckline 4 to 5cm towards the left to bust point. Cut through the line, close left bust dart and open its volume in the new slash line.

Step 2

See that bust dart volume was manipulated in the new slash line?

Draw slash lines for the side knot at waist: they originate from right dart approx at waist level (1 to 2cm above and below), and their direction is:

  • two lines end at right side seam
  • one line ends at neckline, approx 3cm from center towards left
  • one line ends at left bust point
  • one line ends at right side seam 4 to 6cm above waistline
  • one more line starts where previous slash line hits center front and ends a couple cm below waistline.
Step 3

Cut through all slash lines, you get:

  • right bodice
  • left bodice, on which slash line from bust point was not opened yet
  • middle left section
  • middle right section
  • skirt, on which you draw a horizontal slash lines connecting bottom dart apexes, then draw the line from right apex to right side seam, 6 to 8cm below hipline.

Cut through the slash lines where you see ‘open’ and close the darts where you see ‘close’. This way you manipulate dart volume in the new shape.


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