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Tutorial 32. Sewing a Mock-Up Top. Calculating the Mesh Skirts.

Tutorial 32. Sewing a Mock-Up Top. Calculating the Mesh Skirts.

I have sewn a mock-up top and put it on the main dress. It fits very well! I have carefully examined the back and the front – both are perfect!

Instead of sewing the side seams, I simply mark the exact positions of front and back side seam lines and pin the pieces together along them. The seam allowance is 2cm.

Before marking shoulder straps at the front and at the back of the top, I take all measurements again: both the ones I could not take off the initial pattern, as well as the ones I had taken before – just to double-check them. Now I can replace those question marks in the table with actual values.

Next, I start working on the shoulder straps.

I have noticed that the shoulder straps are positioned in the middle of the shoulder on the mock-up as they would be on a summer singlet dress. But I want them to cover up the bride's shoulder tips.

I have measured Shoulder to Shoulder across the front of the top and here is what I think: I need to add 2cm to this measurement to position the shoulder straps the way I want. All other measurements are correct.

I draw the front view of the finished garment with the desired shape of shoulder straps and add a seam allowance.

After choosing the desired strap width, I draw a graceful back neckline and mark a seam allowance. 

After drawing the front and the back of the top, I take the mock-up off the dress-form and apply changes to the adjusted paper pattern. I have also realized I need to raise the top point of the side back piece by about 1cm.

Now I can safely start cutting the top. By the way, mesh fabric can be optionally replaced with luxurious lace fabric.

Please note that the shoulder straps will be cut in paired pieces. In other words, they will have a kind of face and lining.

But I suggest we should first cut our mesh skirts and then use the remaining fabric for the top because it is made of relatively small parts.

Let us calculate mesh fabric consumption for the skirt.

As I said before, it will be a four-layer mesh full-sweep skirt with a train. 

All measurements for drafting the skirt are to be taken off the finished base of the dress.


Mine are all taken 6cm from the waistline.

Here are the measurements I take off the main assembled dress:

Waist Circumference – relative waist circumference taken 6cm from the actual waistline – 86cm;

Skirt Length Front118cm;

Skirt Length Side120cm;

Skirt Length Back (small train included) – 145cm.

I use a plain formula for calculating the circumference of a circle:

2πR = WC = 86cm, where

π = 3.14 (invariable value) and R = the radius I will mark during the cutting.

My calculator tells me that:

R ≈ 14cm

This is the radius I need to mark to achieve a waist circumference of 86cm.

And now I need to figure out the longest possible radius at which the layout will not exceed the width of my tulle fabric (300cm).

Knowing the longest possible radius length will allow me to calculate the biggest possible gathering ratio (GR):

GR = Rmax / R

I draw a straight angle. The horizontal side is the fold line of the mesh fabric (which is folded in half) and the vertical side equals half its width (150cm).

I mark the Skirt Length Front measurement starting from the edge of the fold line. It is 118cm plus double the value of Rmax (which needs to be calculated) and the value of Skirt Length Back (145cm).

I draw a line perpendicular to the fold line between the two sections of Rmax.

Then, starting from the bottom selvage, I mark the Skirt Length Side measurement along this perpendicular line (it is 120cm). 

Rmax = 150cm - 120cm = 30cm. It is the longest possible radius I can use on a piece of mesh fabric with a width of 300cm.

GR = Rmax / R = 30cm / 14cm ≈ 2.

And this means I can gather the mesh skirt with a 2 to 1 ratio.

The skirt will not be gathered thickly in this case. It will be neat, soft, and flowing.

Let us calculate fabric consumption.

I sum up the lengths of all sections of the fold line to find the required length of mesh fabric for cutting a single layer skirt with a train:

118cm + 30cm + 30cm + 145cm = 323cm ≈ 330cm

A four-layer skirt will require about 14m of mesh fabric (with extra space for cutting the top).

WARNING: remember to mark a seam allowance along the top edge when cutting the skirt!

Mine will be 1.5cm.

In this case, I need to cut it with the following radius:

Rmax1 = 30cm – 1.5cm = 28.5cm.

There is no need in adding a seam allowance along the bottom edge because I will simply trim the hem!

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