Draped Front Tee

Black and white draped front tee

This week we are going to illustrate how to make a draped front tee using the pattern in Wide Neckline Variations for Tabula Rasa Knits.  This style is flattering to many body types and looks great worn alone or under a jacket or blazer.  It is especially well suited to soft knits with a generous degree of drape; the drape front will not work nearly as well with a ponté or similarly stable knit fabric.

Begin by cutting out the draped front pattern piece and back boat neck template in your size.  If you made adjustments to your basic Tabula Rasa Knit Tee & Tunic front, follow the special instructions on page 4 of the Wide Neckline instruction book to adjust the draped front pattern.  If you are choosing the shallower drape front, fold the deeper drape line back (but don’t cut it off in case you want to use that later for another knit top).  Use your adjusted Knit Tee & Tunic back and the back boat neck template to create a new back pattern piece as directed on page 3 of the Wide Neckline instruction book. Use the new front and back pattern pieces, plus the side and sleeve, to cut out your fabric.

Construction of the draped front is quite different from the other wide neckline variations, so follow the directions on page 10 of the instruction book carefully.  Hopefully these photos will help you understand the process.  Follow step 1 to prepare the boat neck back with either a narrow band or turned under finish.

Turned under finish on back neck

Turned under finish on back neck

Follow steps 2, 3 and 4 to prepare the drape front by fusing interfacing to the front shoulder seam, stitching an L-shaped stay line at the corner of the shoulder and drape, and clean finishing the curved edge of the drape with one of the seam finishing methods discussed on page 9 of the Knit Tee & Tunic instruction book.

Front drape prepared for sewing and back with narrow band finish

Front drape prepared for sewing and back with narrow band finish

Pin the front to back, right sides together, along the shoulder seam matching the dot on the draped front to the edge of the finished back neck.  The white “whiskers” you see in these photos are tailor’s tacks that I used to mark the dot on the front pattern.  I found it helpful to create a dot (and tailor’s tacks) on the back pattern piece as well, at the 5/8” seamline where shoulder and neck meet.  You’ll see that I had to fold a small pleat into the front shoulder in order to match the front and back dots.

Matching front to back at dots with small pleat in shoulder

Matching front to back at dots with small pleat in shoulder

Stitch the shoulder seam beginning at the dot and stitching out toward the armhole.  Carefully clip ½” in from the corner toward the dot to release the drape for the next step.

Clip into corner to release drape extension

Clip into corner to release drape extension

With top wrong sides out, let drape extension fall over the back neck.  Align the unfinished edge of the drape extension to the shoulder seam, right side of drape against the wrong side of the back shoulder.  The drape will be wrapping around the raw neck edges of the shoulder seam.

Drape extension pinned to shoulder seam

Drape extension pinned to shoulder seam

Pin and baste seam, stitching over first line of shoulder seam stitching.

Drape extension sewn to shoulder seam

Drape extension sewn to shoulder seam

Turn garment right side out to check that the fold of the draped front lines up smoothly with the back neck edge.  Adjust if needed and re-stitch seam with regular length stitches.

Check if front drape lays smoothly against back neck

Check if front drape lays smoothly against back neck

Open front and back out flat, wrong side up, so you can press the shoulder seam allowances towards the front; they should be hidden under the drape extension.  Tack shoulder seams and drape extension in place by basting along the shoulder where the sleeve meets armhole.

Front drape extension and shoulder seam basted down

Front drape extension and shoulder seam basted down

Now you are ready to continue construction as with any other knit tee or tunic!

Blue draped front ready

Blue draped front ready

Be sure to look at the draped front samples included in our Tabula Rasa Knit photo gallery for inspiration.  And then send us photos of your draped front tops, or post them to our Facebook page.

Happy Sewing, Carrie

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