Fashion draping is the oldest method used since the 18th century. Currently, it is considered to be an important part in fashion designing. Fashion Draping is the process of positioning and pinning fabric on a standard size dress form to develop the structure of a garment design. Many types and sizes of dress forms for women, men and children are made to fulfill the requirement.

A dress 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 dress design process. After draping, the toile fabric is removed from the dress form which was used to create the sewing draped pattern for making fashionable dress to suit an individual. In U.S.A. designers use very light weight fabrics, which is called as 'toile', and U.K. designers call it as 'muslin' cloth.

The techniques for draping fabric require the knowledge of the fabric's characteristics. Designers/drapers must have the knowledge to distinguish among different fabrics which will enable them to select the most appropriate fabric for flow and line of each design. Designers must devote time to collect swatches while shopping and catalogue them by width content. In this way a personal reference library can also be created and developed.

Fabrics used for draping:

Fabrics and clothes must relate to our lifestyles and our active lifestyles are made of many different fabrics such as stretchy knitted fabrics, chiffon, georgette, organza, sheer cottons, voile, and light weight silk fabrics are most suitable for fashion draping purpose. Drape ability plays an important role in making sophisticated draped garments. Mostly, very light weight to medium weight fabric is suitable for draped garments.

Garments made of woven goods are usually draped in muslin or an inexpensive fabric where the grain and cross grain are quite visible .The quality and hand of the muslin should represent the texture and characteristics of the actual fabric used for the garment design. Soft muslin will simulate the draping quality of natural or synthetic silk, and knitted cloth.

Medium-weight muslin will simulate the draping quality of wool and medium-weight cottons. Coarse muslin will simulate the draping quality of heavy weight wool and cottons. Also, canvas muslin will simulate the draping qualities of heavy weight fabrics such as denim or imitation fur.

Consider the large collection of fabrics available before beginning any draping steps. The fabric selected for a garment drape greatly influences the finished look. Analyze and understand the structure and characteristics of the fabric to create the proper ease, hand feel and balance of the garment or pattern drape. Approach each design with a positive attitude and a clear fashion sense.

Garments made of knitted fabrics should be draped in less expensive knit fabric. However, the sample knit should have the same stretch value as in the fabric selected for the finished garment. The right side of the front dress form is used to drape the front basic pattern or garment. This procedure may vary, however, this is the standard rule when fitting and draping any type of garment. In simple words, draping technique means the way a fabric hangs in a dress form as well as on the human body.


Tools &Equipment used for Draping:

Dress form with sizes like US8, US10, US12 can be chosen according to the requirement. Draped-cloth, scissors, arm hole curve, graduated-square, pins, marking-chalk, pencils, sharpeners, notches, French-curves, foot-ruler, grade-ruler, dark colored twill tape, measuring tape, hip curve, sleeve curve are the tools required.

Draping pattern making

The method of fashion draping includes stitching the garment by the use of loosely hanging material to create of flowing effect. Sometimes, basic sloper patterns (master-patterns) are also used to create draped and stylized garments. Even sleeves are constructed with the help of the sloper.

Draped pattern making, is the link between design and production of a specified dress. Designers sketch that turns into a three-dimensional functional garment. Draping process is a way of interpreting the design regardless of the style, size and shape .The fabric is manipulated, molded, and shaped through the skillful use of the draper/designer's hand, until the design is replicated in three-dimensional form.

Draping does not rely on the aid of a pattern to create designs, although a draper may choose to incorporate parts of an existing pattern in the preparation of the muslin to assist in the drape. It is true that those using the flat pattern making method may incorporate some aspects of draping in creating specific designs. This does not minimize the value of either pattern making method, but it does enhance the pattern marker's ability to create design patterns accurately and within time constraints. The basic sleeve is not draped, although it could be, but the results would be dubious.

The important points that should be taken care of when draping the fabrics on dress forms are:

1. GSM of the Fabric (Weight)

2. The bias, selvage of the fabric

3. Pattern, texture and muslin mock-ups

4. Darts, seam location, finishing

Dress form is an excellent tool to have in a designer's studio. It is mainly used to drape the fabric to make new and innovative designed garments. It always help in checking the proper fitting of the garment. In present day, draping techniques are taught in fashion design schools, academics and colleges. Thus, students can easily understand the art of draping and will be able to create more fashionable garments.



In modern days women prefer to wear draped style garments. Fashion draping is mostly used in theatrical costumes. Evening wear, stage wear, and party wear garments are made with the fashion technocrats. Draping normally requires little bit of extra time but, with continuous practice this will become easier and more customers can be satisfied with accurate draped dresses in less time.


1.      The Art of Fashion draping-Connie Amaden -Crawford.

2.      Comdex fashion design- Dr. Navneet Kaur.

3.      Fashion Draping- Helen Joseph Armstrong