Importance of drape in garments

Garment drape has received major attention of the researchers and designers since the beginning because it affects aesthetics of a garment. Different techniques have been used to add flare and fullness so as to create different drape effects according to changing fashion trends, and changing demands of consumers.

The drape effect in garment can be obtained by stitch craft such as by the use of pleats, gathers, tucks, seam flare, angular panels etc. It also depends upon grain line and cut of the fabric.

It is known that the drape of garment is influenced by draping quality of fabric used for construction. One design will not look same in different fabrics because of difference in their draping quality. Drape of a fabric depends upon stiffness, thickness, weight etc. Stiffness, one of the attributes of hand, is one of the most important factors determining drape of fabric. Finishing agents may be used to alter stiffness of the fabric.

Resin finishing

One of the advances in textile finishing has been application of finishing agents. In resin finishing certain polymers are applied which may be located on the surface or may penetrate inside the fibre. Resin finishing in general alters fabric characteristics like resilience, crease resistance, shrinkage, and hand.

Thermosetting and thermoplastic are the two types of resins applied to textiles. Thermosetting resins include condensation products of aminoplast, formaldehyde, urea formaldehyde, melamine formaldehyde, dimethylol dihydroxy ethylene urea etc. They are non-linear, cross linker, and rigid material. They can't be re-shaped or re-melted after they have been cured in final stage.

Thermoplastic resins soften when heated and become hard on cooling, and can be re-softened and reset many times. They give thermoplasticity. They consist of long linear molecules accompanied by some branching but are not interconnected. These thermoplastic finishes are gaining popularity since they have become available in the form of emulsions or dispersions. These finishes are the dispersion of solid resin particles which when applied from water system will dry to form insoluble films, without requiring any curing and washing operation. These not only improve the quality, handle and appearance of fabric, but also enhance the brilliancy of colours. These finishes are inherently more flexible and durable. Thermoplastic resins include acrylic, polyvinyl acetate, polyethylene, silicone etc.

Resins can modify hand of fabric and produce a variety of effects ranging from soft full hand to firm to stiff and thus provide tremendous versatility and utility to fabrics. A loosely woven fabric, which is very limp may be converted into stiff fabric, the stiffness being semi permanent (using self cross linking acrylic copolymer), the stiffness may further be modified by imparting a certain degree of flexibility (by having internal or external plasticisation).

Polyethylene emulsion, silicone softener, ionic or non-ionic softeners impart softness to textiles. Resiliency can be imparted to a fabric by applying styrene/butadiene copolymer emulsion.

Polyvinyl acetate emulsion and their co-polymer impart body, weight, and also produce full, firm hand or soft full hand or stiff hand. Hand that can be obtained from polymers of acrylates and their co-polymers with various other monomers may range from very soft to firm to relatively stiff and; from thin to very full in body.

The change in hand and body will cause change in draping quality of fabric which can be utilised to alter drape of skirt type garment.

Effect of resin finishing on drape of skirt type garment

Skirt is an item of dress, which is very versatile, smart, and suitable for many occasions viz. formal, informal or party wear. It has been a crucial part of women's dress for centuries. It is said that silhouette of entire costume is determined by cut of skirt.

A skirt is a good example of draped garment. Skirt is worn at waistline, drapes around the hipline differently at back and front. This demands proper fitting at waistline and appropriate looseness at hemline for freedom of movement. As mentioned before, it is brought about by pleats, gathers, tucks, seam flare, angular panels.

Drape characteristics of skirt can be altered by application of finishing agents thus providing different look. Finish can be applied on whole skirt or on selected parts of the skirt. Effect of finishing agents on drape of skirt has been shown in figures 1 to 6.

Photo 1 is of unfinished wrap around skirt in cotton khadi fabric. Whole skirt has been finished with silicone resin. Change in draped folds and draped area of skirt is clearly visible (photo 2). As silicon is a softener, it has made the cotton khadi fabric soft therefore draped area has decreased.

Photo 4 is of godet skirt after finishing with acrylic resin. Resin has been applied only on godet parts. Bold nodes are seen in finished skirt compared to unfinished skirt (photo3). This is because of increase in stiffness of fabric after finishing. It is also observed that after finishing brightness of khadi fabrics has improved.

Photo 5 is of unfinished wool skirt. Photo 6 is of acrylic resin finished wool skirt.

Thus appearance of garments can be changed by application of resin finishes by altering draped area and folds.

About the author:

Dr. Suman Pant is a professor at faculty of home science, Banasthali University, Rajasthan.

Dr. Shivi Rastogi is an assistant professor at faculty of home science, Banasthali University, Rajasthan.