What is Fashion Draping and Why Should Apparel Designers Learn How to Drape
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. A garment can be draped using a design sketch as a basis, or a fashion designer can play with the way fabric falls to create new designs at the start of the apparel design process. After draping, the fabric is removed from the dress form and used to create the sewing pattern for the garment.
Fashion draping and fitting are usually done with muslin (an inexpensive, unbleached, loosely woven cotton) to resolve any design and fitting issues of a garment before cutting the pattern in real fabric. However, it is important to drape using a fabric that has similar drape characteristics (the way it falls and folds) as the real fabric of the finished garment. Muslin comes in a variety of weights, and inexpensive synthetic fabrics can also be used in fitting and draping for apparel design.
Fashion designers drape garments in sections i.e.: front bodice, back bodice, front skirt, back skirt etc. and only the right side of the garment (when worn) is draped, unless the apparel design is asymmetrical. The general process for how to drape for fashion is as follows:
Why Should Fashion Designers Learn How to Drape?
While the majority of companies in the fashion industry no longer use draping as part of the design process, draping is a key skill which allows apparel designers to understand what creates a great fit and how to achieve it. If a garment sample fits poorly, a designer who is familiar with how darts and seams give shape to garments can spot what is creating the fit issue and advise the factory how to correct the problem.
However, the art of draping isn’t completely lost; in high fashion, couture fashion houses, evening, and lingerie companies most garments are created through draping. When draping a garment, the designer can immediately see what her apparel design will look like on the body, and immediately correct any fit or design problems before putting anything down on paper. In addition, some apparel designs are just impossible to make via flat patternmaking and need to be draped first. And some fabrics need to be experimented with on a dress form to see how they behave.