If you have a draping project you need to complete before a big deadline, here are a few tips to remember that will set you on the right path to draping success.
Tip 1: Before starting your drape, remember to use black style tape to line the form at three key points. These key points are: 1.) around the bust at the apex, 2.) around the narrowest part of the waist, and 3.) around the widest points of the hips. Remember to leave space in between the style tape and the form between the bust so that your drape hits the largest measurement around this area. Leaving a space in between will also allow you to drape your fabric onto this style tape if a necessary aspect of your design. Remember to drape either to the top or bottom of each style tape line and keep this process consistent throughout the process. For instance, if you drape and pin to the bottom of the waist tape the first time, repeat each and every time.
Tip 2: When first starting your drape, remember to take accurate measurements of the form that you are working with. Some key measurements to remember are for your X-point, mark 3/8 inches down from the neckline when doing collars especially so your end result is not too tight in that area. Also for an accurate apex measurement, be sure to measure from the HPS or high point shoulder down vertically to the Center Front line and then over the bust horizontally and mark. You can then draw a mid-line across your draping block that intersects with the side seam for accurate placement once you are working on the form.
Tip 3: After you have successfully measured the form on which you are draping, you should also be sure to apply the pins you are using securely down the Center Front line so that all of your key markings are lining up, such as the mid-line and the X-point and the fabric is stable when shifted. If your pins were to come out, then all of your draping work would be for naught because the garment would be off-balance from the beginning.
Tip 4: Now you should be off and running to the drape. Let your mind’s creations come to life as you manipulate your fabric or muslin into pleats, tucks, darts, and ruffles. But be sure to remember that as you smooth the fabric around the form, you adequately slash around your construction details and the basic tenets of the form including the waist and the bust or the hips and the butt to release tension which shows-up frequently in the form of wrinkles and bumps that would not be flattering for any figure. The technical term for this tip for these tricky construction points is called “bridging the hollows”.
Tip 5: Finally, you should be able to step-back and analyze your drape. This is a very important step to remember before you sew up your design or transfer it to a pattern. The drape should look as well-balanced as it does in your mind’s eye. Some things to think about are, would the details you’ve added look symmetrical when displayed on both sides of the form and when the pins are released from key points on the form such as the Center Front line, the side-seam, or the apex. Although most of the pins are needed to provide stability while draping, remember nothing will ever be pinned to an individual for whom you are designing. So keep in mind how your design will look once the pins are removed from the form itself.
Tip 6: Also, when analyzing the drape remember in removing the pins from the form that you should also pin all of the draped seams together to get an accurate picture of what the final garment will look like when sewn. At this point, side-seams and princess seams can be pinned together from a 360-degree vantage point on the form to demonstrate how the newly constructed garment will hang. This is one of the main advantages of draping as a method of garment construction and provides lots of visual stimulation to the creative designer.
Tip 7: After you’ve completed your drape, if you are transferring the drape to a pattern remember to true the pattern and add seam allowances. This can be a time-consuming but necessary step in the process of garment construction with a drape. There is often an ability to modify the drape according to the industry standards of sewing and patternmaking as well. We all know it is fun to drape and creatively visualize your design, however, there is also an overlap between design processes that is valuable to learn. Creating a perfect pattern of that favorite dress, which incorporates all of your draping details and hard-work will be essential when you want to sew it up again in a new fabric or modify it with an innovative and trendy design feature.
Now that you’re refreshed and ready to start draping, let’s talk fabrics! Remember that not all fabrics are ideal for draping; you definitely don’t want to use anything too stiff. And some fabrics that look beautiful when draped may not be the easiest to work with.
With something like this, you’ll be able to make some amazing and unconventional shapes!
Other great options for draping include chiffon, gauze, batiste, and crepe. All are very light, making them great for full, billowing skirts that won’t fall flat when fighting with gravity on a dress form.