The story so far: in March, I made myself a top with a pleated neckline, drafted with lots of help from my pattern-cutting tutor. Whilst far from perfect, Nicotine Surprise proved very wearable and since then, others have asked me if I’d show them how to draft something similar.
And I said: “(Gulp) Yeah…?”
In preparation for the humbling feat, I redesigned the top and made Version 2 with 6 pleats instead of 8 and with facing instead of bias binding. The pleats radiate outwards instead of heading towards the bust. Also, I didn’t stitch them down as before, only forming them at the neckhole. Once again, the process was quick and the result a much-worn wardrobe staple.
Having made Version 3, I’m still not an expert but I’ve laid out a how-I-done-it for those who’re familiar with the bodice block and want to have a bit of an adventure adapting it into a top with some design interest and no closures.
This is by no means the definitive method of drafting neckline pleats - in fact, I’m already experimenting with another….
YOU WILL NEED:
Your front and back bodice blocks with the shoulder darts moved out of the way (see here).
Sleeve block and skirt block (not necessary for a vest top like Version 3)
Lots of paper and a little bit of tracing paper. Numberprint Marker Paper has the virtue of being see-through in good light. I often use salvaged packing paper from internet shopping (after a hot, non-steam press) whilst Greaseproof paper/Baking parchment is great for tracing. See Sew Ruth for another paper tip.
Sellotape, preferrably the “frosty” Magic Tape that you can write on.
Pencil and a long ruler
Approx 1m of fabric for a sleeveless version, 1.5m for a short-sleeved number. Bias binding or, if making the facing, a small amount of interfacing.
Tip on using the tracing wheel: if your tracing wheel is of the genteel variety like mine and not of the scary toothsome variety, place a couple of sheets of fabric, like a bedsheet, under your paper and your impressions will be more easily visible.
When it comes to sewing the pleats, you can:
Sew them on the inside, with the inner-most pleat the deepest.
Stitch them horizontally at the neckline and released below in Version 2 & 3 above.
Good luck and let me know how it went (it’s quicker than it looks…).
P.S. Check back here in a few weeks when I attempt to draft neckline pleats the Adele Margolis method!