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Get Started with Draping

Threads #203, June/July 2019
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Draping was the earliest means of creating clothing. From ancient Egyptian times to the present, the technique has evolved. During the Industrial Revolution, clothing manufacturers started using flat patternmaking to design garments, but today, draping is still the core technique used in the couture and high-end apparel markets. This three-dimensional approach can yield designs that would be difficult to create through patternmaking alone.

Draping requires a sensitivity of touch, a creative eye, and the ability to trust the fabric and let it guide you to the desired result. Every fabric has different properties and each drapes uniquely. In general, we use muslin (or toile) to drape a design rather than fashion fabric. It’s usually 100 percent cotton and has no finish.

I will show you how to drape a bodice sloper. This can be used as a pattern for a close-fitting, sleeveless top, but you will get more mileage by using it as the basis for creating other designs through pattern manipulation. You have the freedom to change the neckline, add sleeves, rotate the darts, make front, back, or side closures, increase the fullness where you like, and much more. This draping exercise gives you a deeper understanding of how fabric behaves on the straight grain versus the bias, and how to handle volume. Enjoy this first step to developing the original designs of your dreams.

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  1. user-5280210 | | #1

    Irina was the person who taught me how to drape. She is an accomplished professional designer who has taught thousands of students the fine art of fashion design. I now teach fashion and design in High School classes using the techniques she taught me.

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