By: Venus Khosravani
The process of positioning and pinning the fabric on a dress form is called draping. Draping can be used to create the basic pattern or to design organically by playing with the fabric on the form. By working with the fabric directly on the form and seeing the effect of every single adjustment, draping has also helped me have a better understanding of drafting, which is making the pattern based on body measurements. Draping can be used to create the basic pattern or to design organically by playing with the fabric on the form which is a lot of fun.
Muslin, a woven cotton fabric that comes in a variety of weights, is normally used for draping. When choosing the muslin, it is the best to pick the muslin that has the similar weight to the fashion fabric. However, when it comes to working with very light fabrics like silk chiffon, silk charmeuse or silk organza, I personally get a cheaper version of those fabrics for the draping process to get the closest draping effect to the fashion fabric. Also, if the fashion fabric is a nonwoven fabric, like knits for instance, I drape with a knitted fabric for the same reason.
Depending on the symmetry and the design, I may drape only on one side of the dress form. It is very important to mark all the seams, pleats and any other design detail that needs to be transferred to the pattern, on the fabric before unpinning it. After transferring all the markings to the paper, I always check and true all the curved lines and make sure all the seams are matching. The last step is to add the seam allowances and voila! The pattern is ready for making the first prototype.