DRAPING IN FASHION DESIGN
SUNIL CHANGDEV TALEKAR
Fashion draping is an important part
of fashion design. Draping for fashion design is
the process of positioning and pinning fabric on
a dress form to develop the structure of a
garment design. ... After draping, the fabric is
removed from the dress form and used to create
the sewing pattern for the garment.
WHAT IS DRAPING??
This process starts with the choice of fabric that you wish to choose to drape, whether you like it
to be woven and not knit,
choose the similar fabric weight and draping style as the actual fabric that you shall be using
throughout the entire process to build the costume.
Considering the traditional and old fashion industry, muslin was used for toiles or even for the
The reason for choosing muslin over the years could be that it comes in a huge variety of fabric
and is an inexpensive fabric as compared to the other ones in the market.
Generally, there are four types of muslin cloth that are used in fashion draping
and are as follows:
•Standard & Classic Muslin Fabric
•The cotton twill Muslin
•The cotton voile Muslin
•Hemp and silk Muslin
INITIAL FABRICS SELECTION
This is the step wherein the estimation of how much muslin is required done, by also considering a reasonable
amount of extra fabric needed as peruse for the ease, seaming allowances, and the fashion styling.
The next step is to cut the extra edge of the muslin fabric with the use of scissors and then tear the fabric grain with
the required pressure to break the fabric yarns successfully.
Then, make sure that the crosswise true grain or the lengthwise true grain is forming the edge of the muslin that
will be used for the purpose of draping.
It is because when the selvage is tightly and closely woven, it has a tendency to hold in the muslin fabric by often
throwing the weave off.
Therefore, always make it a point that the center, back, and the front is carefully planned at least 3” away from the
It may happen that there arises a need to reshape the muslin fabric so
that proper shape and angels are been given to the crosswise and true
lengthwise yarns and grains to give the perfect edge to the dress.
For reshaping the muslin, you can pull the edges of the fabric diagonally
till the fabric is all squared.
This may come as a difficult part of the process.
Here in, you are required to set the exact position of the yarns with the aid of steam
and the heat of the pressing.
Always make it a point to press in the right directions of the crosswise and
lengthwise grains, by never pressing on the bays.
Then, steam it followed by a dry iron.
The beginner and novice fashion and draping students are expected to successfully add 1-
inch seam allowance on all the straight streams by also including the side seams, the
waistline seams, and the underarm seams.
ADVANTAGES OF THE DRAPING PROCESS
With the process of draping, fashion designers can get a rough idea and visualize that how a
dress is going to look in the final end, even before starting to cut, stitch and design the costume.
The biggest advantage of draping can also be said that it allows room for customization. A dress
or a specific costume can be made as per the measurements and requirements of the
It results in less wastage of the fabric wherein you only do trails before you actually cut the
The process of draping also allows you to make paper patterns and designs which you use
further in a dress or for ideation of the next dress.
As with any other process, the draping has its own set of disadvantages
too, that are listed below:
As the process is more of a creative and artistic one, it requires you to
have more talent and fashion sense.
The draping is also called as an expensive process with the involvement
of too many elements in one.
DISADVANTAGES OF THIS PROCESS
It would be no wrong if we say that most of the biggest fashion brands and houses & haute
couture design houses create, design and curate the fashion costumes with the aid of the
It is considered to be an extremely important process; for it lets the fashion designers get a
sense by visualizing the final look of the dress or the costume.
It allows them to see how the outfit is going to look on the body and can instantly work up on the
alterations and amendments as required in the designing and aesthetic of the costume.
Also, some of the fashion garments are impossible to be crafted and designed by using the flat
pattern technique and thus always require the draping technique and process to be followed at
IMPORTANCE OF THE FASHION DRAPING PROCESS
If you have a dress form that isn’t quite the right size or shape to duplicate your figure, it’s not
useful for creative draping. The first step in no rules draping is to get your dress form looking
more like you.
The closer your form is to your size and shape, the more successful your draping is going to
be. Begin with a form that’s as similar as possible to your measurements, but not larger.
You can pad a dress form, but you can’t squeeze it down to get to the right size. Start with the
neck and shoulders, and work your way down.
Here are a few of my dress form hacks to help you get the perfect size and shape.
CUSTOMIZE YOUR DRESS FORM
I have broad shoulders.
No dress form on the market has shoulders that come close to mine.
To increase the shoulder breadth on my form, I ganged up a couple of shoulder pads from those old ’80s power suits
and, voilà—dress form shoulders.