Lets talk mock ups. A mock up is a test garment of your intended pattern. Now, generally, I prefer a working mock up, aka a working toile. This means I make the garment in question out of a fabric I don’t hate, and if I like the end results and not too much tweaking is needed, I have TWO working garments, the first being my test garment, the second being out of the fashion fabric. Mock up’s are made without facings, plackets, collars, or pockets, using just the main pieces so that the overall fit of the garment is checked. If the fit works, add the needed facings, plackets, collars, and pockets, and you have your two dresses.
When making garments for someone else, I ALWAYS make a mock up. I’m good with making a working toile for myself, but I pretty much only do mock ups if I’m sewing for someone else. And this is because when I sew for me, I know where my quirks are (that oh so high left hip, the absence of a torso). But when sewing for other people, I don’t really know where the quirks are until I see the mock up on them.
For example: The last garment I am trying to complete for the caftan project. My friend Ashley is a cosplayer and several months ago she approached me to ask if I could help her style a Megara. Her initial question was just for costuming tips and styling advice, but when I started looking at how simple this gown is, I told her I think I can make this using the basic caftan project. And I told her I would make the dress out of silk habotai, if she would model the end result for me.
So I finally started the mock up, because the cut is just different enough, and definitely more fitted, that I wanted to make sure the basic shape would work. It sort of works. The adjustments to the sides pulled in perfectly, the zipper installed, and then…drag lines in the back. Drag lines occur where there are fit issues with your mock up.
So I found that in order for the gown to fit the way Ashley wants (smoothly, not bunched up across the hips), I have to add a rather large gore. Now, this is not the usual way to fit a sway back. I’m not 100% sure that splitting the back and inserting a curved gore will work. However, I’m also not sure that simply shortening the back length on a completely rectangular piece with no waist darts will work either, which is the usual method of fixing drag lines. So I’m going to release the tension a different way (insert large gore), and see what happens. On the Mock Up. And if that doesn’t work, I’ll go back to the drawing board, and try a third time. That’s what test patterns are for.