Pattern making – just drape

Classics or adventures ?

When you have your basic blocks or TNTs, you can make easy changes. Add decorative seam lines, alter length, ease, openings, collars, sleeves, pockets, to make an almost infinite variety of styles. This suits me personally, as I like to wear simple classic shapes.

But it does lead to the current uniformity in the shapes we wear. It doesn’t warm my heart by reminding me that fashion design can be an art form. For that I need to look at designs by people who explore new cuts and shapes.

Perhaps the designs in the drapey angles post.

Or Lynn Mizono’s Vogue 1216 jacket.


Or patterns from Au Bonheur des Petites Mains, such as this Tunique drapée.


And how about this pattern from La Mia Boutique magazine May issue.


There are pleats in upper skirt, lower bodice, end of waist wraps. Those triangles pointing down are the front upper bodice !

Shapes which might never occur to someone starting from a flat pattern.

If you want to try this yourself, get some cheap fabric and a dress form. Play around with scissors and pins. Madeleine Vionnet worked out her draped designs on a small dress form.

image from the Vionnet site.

(P.S. Here’s a piece about a modern designer using draping.)

Looks much more freeing than starting from flat pattern making. Sadly the only small dress forms I’ve found here in the UK are rather expensive. And I guess that making a usable pattern from what you’ve draped has to be quite a rigorous and precise process.

There are several text books on draping, but I haven’t seen any of them. One is Connie Crawford The Art of Fashion Draping.

(P.S. There’s a new class at Craftsy on this, but I haven’t tried it – Fashion draping. Not for sewing beginners.)

(P.S. New book : a href=””>Draping – the complete course by Karolyn Kiisel.
Enthusiastically reviewed by Male Pattern Boldness.)

Draping looks fun, though I haven’t tried it. I suspect it needs a different type of imagination than mine. I seem to be on a flat-pattern-making book buying binge at the moment ! Ah well, at least I’m not buying so many patterns 😀

Some people find they’re naturally suited to flat pattern making. Others feel they’ve found their home when they start draping. Which are you happiest doing ?

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Links available June 2011

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