Saturday, 4 July 2009


Draping is a term in Fashion Design when you literally drape, pin and cut a large piece of fabric around a dummy to create your garment. This method is predominantly used in Couture. Sometimes, the Designer will hand stitch the garment as it is on the dummy, therefore making it a complete one-off piece of Fashion. Or, you can mark on the fabric where the seams will be, a zip, pockets, etc... all information will be marked onto the draped garment. I will show you how to do this in the future! Once that is done, the fabric can then come off, laid flat on paper, traced around and all information is to be transferred. You will then have a pattern piece for your garment and can repeat it as many times as you wish. The most well known seamstress who created by this method is Madeleine Vionnet who was at her peak in the 1920s. She created all her garments by draping on a miniature dummy, and then making them full scale once she was satisfied with it.I came to realise that this was also my favourite method during my last year at University when I draped my entire Graduate Collection! However, I must admit that it can be difficult translating it into a pattern piece, as they can sometimes be very complicated - just think of all the folds, nips, tucks, gathering and pleating that may go into a draped design, and then illustrated into the pattern. Anyway, the point of this blog entry, is to show you a quick way of changing a bought garment using the draping technique. This beautiful pink summer dress is from H&M and I purchased it from the Sale rack for only £15/$25.I knew I'd look frumpy in it because when you're petite, you should only really wear a mini or a maxi when it is full skirted, and this dress hit me right at the shin!... so I knew I'd be changing it when I got it home. At first, I was just going to simply shorten it, but decided to make more of an effort and began draping. I cheated and actually draped it while I had it on, but I found that was the best way to see how it would look on me, and also my dummy is a bit bigger so it would not have been accurate.I hitched sections of the skirt up and pinned it into place, which was very hard (especially the back!) and I did not go unscathed...I then took it off, placed it on my dummy and hand sewed all the anchor points securely, which you can see a bit clearer on the photo below. I think this is a much more interesting way of shortening a dress and just makes it a lot more special! You could even embellish the parts you sew to conceal it (if you're a messy hand sewer!). Anyway, if you attempt anything like this, I'd love to see it!
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