The Loulage

Moulage draft

In creating a wedding dress for someone I have known and loved for decades, I got to experiment with some things that I wouldn’t normally try on a regular client.  I really took this opportunity to hone my skills and try new things, knowing that Loula already completely trusted me to make her look gorgeous on her wedding day.

I started the patternmaking process by using Kenneth D. King’s drafting system called the Moulage.  Since it was for Loula, I called it the Loulage. 

I learned about the moulage in a class that I took from Kenneth in the fall of 2011, but had only tried it once.  I’ve developed my own patternmaking method over time, but it is always a joy to try other people’s systems.  In custom patternmaking there is no one “right way” to achieve perfect fit.  I love learning from others, utilizing bits I love and grumbling over bits I would have done differently, in order to develop and perfect my own style.

To get even more practice using this method I had my talented assistant Alyssa work on a moulage using her own measurements while I also made one for myself.  I would end up using my moulage draft to make a dress for myself to wear to Loula’s wedding, but I’m getting ahead of myself…

Alyssa and the moulageThis system involves taking a specific set of measurements to create a “body double” flat pattern of the unique individual that fits them like a glove (or as Kenneth D. King states “like a sausage in a casing”).  Once you have this basic draft of the person, you can add whatever ease or design details you’d like to create a well-fitting garment of any design.

The basic draft ends up looking something like this:


IMG_0872 copy

This can then be translated into a clean princess seamed pattern pieces that can be made into a “fitting shell” mockup for the individual to try on.

moulage on muslin

Using Loula’s unique measurements, I had already made a “Size Loula” dress form where I was able to test the muslin version of the Loulage.

Loulage in muslin

Not bad!  There are a few fit issues, but they are very minor.  So, next I needed to figure out if the problems are with the Loulage mockup, or with the dress form, or a little of both.  Since Loula lives in New Orleans and I’m based in North Carolina, I mailed the mockup and asked her to send me some photos of her wearing it.  It would be a unique experience having a long-distance fitting without being able to touch or pin or cut, but I was up for the challenge.


Next post: my first fittings via the US Postal System!

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Hi there! I'm Brooks Ann.

I’m a former professional costumer and couture dressmaker for one-of-a-kind bridalwear located in Hillsborough, North Carolina, who teaches custom garment sewing too the sew-curious online.

My blog mostly follows along with the couture process of how each heirloom-quality custom wedding dress was made from idea to wedding day, as well as other interesting tidbits related to sewing, weddings, and body positivity.

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