How to design by draping
Designing by draping is to place a piece of fabric directly onto the figure and the design is created by pinning, shaping, and cutting until the desired style and fit have been achieved, the the style can be seen immediately. Let me take an example here to show the process briefly.
As in the draping pictures below, I am going to use this whole figure mannequin to design and produce a shirt. Before start, I need to prepare some tools: tailor's chalk, pins, tape measure, needles, and threads in different colours.
Firstly, take measurements of shoulders, arm length, neckline, bake width, bust, waist and length, then decide roughly the amount of fabric that I will need, to avoid as possible as can unnecessary waste.
Secondly, place the fabric onto the figure. This piece is white cotton with strips.
Thirdly, design the style of the garment that I am draping. We can see the type of the figure: tall, slim, and in perfect hourglass body shape. The face is thin, and a little square on cheeks, and neck is long. Then, I need to consider to make up the flaws. For instance, a wide round-like neckline can make her neck look shorter, and the face outline softer. Also, use the stripes in horizontal way, then she will look more plump.
Hui Sewing and EmbroideringClick thumbnail to view full-size
Forth, mark on the fabric with tailor's chalk, then pin and tack seam lines with needle and threads. If you are decided, you will cut it into pieces along the line directly onto the figure. If you are not so sure, then carefully take it off.
Finally, complete the garment, i.e. sew pieces together, then add collar, cuffs, buttons, and decorations, and then wash, iron, and hang it for several days, usually one week, to make sure everything is good. Finish hem at the last. Then, you will have one final product.
Designing by DrapingClick thumbnail to view full-size
In the design, the use of dart is important. It helps to create the shaping to fit the curves. Usually, bust dart (as in the picture above) are from the shoulder, underarm, and/or waist. This shows that draping does not work on a flat pattern, but on a three-dimensional figure with curves. Meantime, you have to fashion the type of the garment you are draping, i.e. to consider all trend factors that influence the style. Also, the fit is affected by the type of the subject, e.g. age, shape, and the kind of the fabric. A large woman should work for the appearance of easy smoothiness, whereas very thin women need a soft, loose effect.
Hui (蕙) designing with embroidery patternsClick thumbnail to view full-size
In short, designing by draping is a dramatic way to design garments. It requires inspiration, imagination, a good sense of line and balance, and an appreciation of behaviour and qualities of fabrics and fibers. Happy draping!