Draping the Mannequin
Draping on the Mannequin – Introduction
Whether you have chosen to work with a cotton blend or a specialised fabric, at this point, you have successfully cut your patterns and constructed your garment.
The next step in the design process is called draping, which is done on a mannequin to shape or mould your fabric.
In the 1920’s, Madame Alix Gres and Madeleine Vionnet were the first haute couture designers to devote time to draping.
Since that time, designers have used the technique to look at their designs and gain further inspiration.
Tools and Equipment
Before you prepare to drape your design, you need to gather the following tools:
Shears and scissors
Grain Line and Draping
Earlier in the module, you learned about the importance of the grain line directions. When you are ready to drape on the mannequin, the direction of the grain will greatly impact how the material hangs on the body.
When you are new to draping, you should experiment with several different grain lines, shapes, and darts to see how the fabric falls.
You should also take time to drape with different materials like jerseys, knits, wool, and silk on the mannequin, so that you have experience with different draping effects.
To master the art of draping, you need to work with a variety of fabrics and work with all the different stitches and grain lines you learned.
Balancing the Pattern
Once a garment is draped, it is important to ensure that the pattern is balanced to ensure that the clothing fits comfortable on the body.
When you are balancing a pattern, you should ensure that the side seam is hanging straight up and is laying correctly on the body.
One way to maintain balance on your pattern is to keep your centre front aligned on the grain.
Before you take your balanced drape off the mannequin, make sure that you have marked your garment to indicate the seam positions.
When you are draping your garment, you can drape it on the mannequin as an actual shape, close to the body, or structured away from the body. Another method you can use is loose draping, which anchors the fabric on certain areas of the body, like the shoulder. Some of the more commonly used methods in the fashion industry include:
Body contour – This technique was developed in the late 1990s as a method to draw seam edges on the mannequin, to quickly create a pattern. This method will accurately follow the silhouette of the mannequin that you are using and contour around the body for a close-fitting shape.
Loose drape – With a standard loose drape, the length of a muslin is draped loosely on a mannequin to create shapes with the fall of the material.
As with anything in fashion design, practise will make perfect and with time, you will get the hang of the technique.
Tips to help you perfect your skill
Make sure you always use a fabric similar in weight and texture to your final fabric
Always iron your final fabric before you start draping
Use the same grain line that you intend to use in the final garment
Use a mannequin with the right size and shape
Consider using fine pins that fit into the mannequins nicely
Concentrate on perfecting your shell before working on your details
Do not stretch fabric on the mannequin
When your drape is complete, step away from your work and look at it from several angles