Draping a Garment

| Date posted: September 16th, 2013


While most students I teach sew garments using store-bought patterns, many are intrigued by creating their own patterns and making custom pieces. And guess what? They don’t necessarily need to master pattern making in order to make their own designs from scratch – they can learn how to drape. Eureka!

Disclaimer: This applies to most, not all, garments. And, with draping, some pattern drafting skills and a dress form are required to complete the final patterns. No biggie, right?

Draping is a pattern making technique achieved through “draping” fabric (or muslin) directly onto a dress form. After careful marking and measuring, the fabric is then transferred to paper for a final pattern prep. The end result is a made-to-measure aka custom pattern, which can be reusable.

Unlike pattern drafting, which requires significant math and spatial skills, draping is an alternative way to make a pattern. It allows for elimination of most of the pattern drafting process: reading through pattern making textbooks, utilizing measurement tables, pulling out a number of rulers, or activating the part of the brain that knows how to visualize a final garment just by looking at a draft on a piece of paper. Although that whole procedure sounds like something out of my wildest inner-nerd dreams, it isn’t as timesaving as draping.

At times, draping is even used instead of pattern making. For instance, when a fabric is a bit flimsy or has more “drape”, draping is a necessity. Because of the nature of the fabric, “the look” of the design can be better accomplished using draping rather than a flat pattern drafting process.

Pictured above is my first ever dress that I draped, sewed, and later modeled. I made it while I was still in school studying fashion design. Send me pictures of some of your favourite draped items below! Be sure to include a brief tale of your draping adventures.

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Ivana Musura has been surrounded by fashion ever since she can remember. She has been sewing since she was 10 years old and continued to boost her creativity by making custom outfits and accessories to...

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