Draping Period Costumes
Draping an 1840s Bodice The low, wide shoulder line which began in the 1840s continued to descend down onto the top of the women’s arms. This gave the shoulders a sloped appearance. The feeling of elongation that this produces was emphasized by the waistline, which dropped below the natural waist. It also extended to a point at the CF. With the invention of photography at the end of the 1830s, photographic portraits become an important visual resource for costume research. As with the 1830s bodice, you can create the appearance of the low, sloped shoulder line while still maintaining mobility in the arm. 1. Cut a piece of muslin as long as the woman’s shoulder-to-waist measurement plus six inches and as wide as one-quarter of her chest measurement plus four inches. Cut the muslin on the SOG from now on. Drape the CF from neck to waist plus four inches below. Drape the neckline, extended shoulder seam, armhole, and extended side seam (plus one inch below). Create two long, slightly curved darts to fit. Mark the desired bottom edge. 2. Cut a piece of muslin as long as the woman’s shoulder-to-waist measurement plus two inches and as wide as one-quarter of her chest measurement plus two inches. Drape a fitted back. 3. Cut a strip of muslin on the bias. Pin the center to the top of the armhole. Pin down the front of the bodice along the bias “wing” to the dart that is closer to the side. Pin down along the dart for a few inches. Pin down the back at a similar angle and length.