Have you ever heard of a ‘surplice’ style? It’s not a commonly used term. One definition is as a noun ‘a garment in which the two halves of the front cross diagonally’. As an adjective, it is defined as ‘designating, forming or having a closure with diagonally crossing halves as in a surplice neckline.’
The wrap crossover or ‘surplice’ is the topic of this article. It’s a much-loved style and seems to be as timeless and popular as ever. It’s a great style for either dresses or tops and can be sewn from either woven or knit fabric. But it doesn’t come without inherent trouble spots.
Let’s deal with two common issues –
1. A gapping crossover due to an incorrect dart width in your pattern and
2. A gapping crossover due to the stretch or give of the bias cut on the fabric to create the crossover wrap.
When using your Sure-Fit Designs™ Dress Kit bodice blueprint, we cover one major troublesome issue which is a full (or very full) bust. Typically commercial patterns offer a B-cup dart shape. Due to a fuller-than-B-bust that you might have, a wrapped surplice on your torso will no doubt gap open. That’s the nature of a dart that is too small for your full bust. But of course, many of you already know there is no need for a Full Bust Adjustment (FBA) with Sure-Fit Designs™ when you choose your correct bra cup size with our unique Adjust-A-Bust template. In drawing your body blueprint, you’ve used the bra cup shape on the template that will give you the best shape of dart for your full bust. That is going to solve much of the gap issues that a surplice wrap often presents.
One down, one to go.
The dart width you’ve chosen is correct for your body, so why would a wrap crossover style still gap? The simple answer is because that crossover in on the diagonal or bias of the fabric. As many of you know the bias offers the most give/stretch in fabric and therefore a gap can occur due to the fabric stretching on this diagonal cut.
1. Adjust the crossover if necessary. Another issue that might occur is that the point at which the left side crosses over the right is too low for your liking. Simply re-shape the crossover point with your Designing Stylus so that this straight diagonal line now has some lift to it. True this lifted curvy bit back into either side of the diagonal line. It may look a little strange, but it will lay well on your torso.
2. Stabilize the crossover when sewing. As you sew this diagonal seam, most likely while adding the facing, insert a narrow stay tape to help prevent any further stretch.
It would likely be best to sew a mock-up of this style. If the front gaps slightly, you can dart this out in one of 3 places –at the bust level, the shoulder line, or the waist line. See the accompanying illustrations. All 3 of these options in essence shorten the length of the diagonal crossover. You shouldn't need to do all three.
1. At the bust level, pinch out a narrow dart going to the apex. On the diagonal wrap line, mark point A then mark point B approximately ½ - ¾” (1.3 – 1.9cm) above A. Cut from A to the apex marking and cut on the top leg of the Designer’s Dart to the apex (the apex is the pivot point/hinge). Pivot point A up to point B allowing the pattern to open the dart making it just a little wider.
Notice that you will need to draw/true a new diagonal crossover design line to true the 'dog leg' created when you overlap A to B.
Then make sure to re-draw the grainline from the bottom up and keep it parallel to your center front marking.
2. At the shoulder line, pinch out a narrow dart beginning at the neck point and tapering to nothing at the shoulder point.
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To see what the Designer's Companion is used for and how it is different from the Designing Stylus, please click here.