Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Designing a garment by draping

Draping is a method of garment design by where you drape fabric, either a muslin-type or the actual fashion fabric, over a dress form to create the design. Once it is complete on the dress form, the fabric is removed, a paper pattern is created, the paper pattern is trued, and then the final cut of the fabric is made.

I've been sewing all my life. I was lucky enough to have a mom who sewed and taught me at an early age. I've come to understand now that not everyone was so lucky (Thanks mom!). She taught me how to use commercial patterns and over the years I figured out how to mix and match pattern pieces. But designing a garment from scratch was out of my realm.

So in January when I found out the boss I worked for part-time was moving away and I would have some free time, I decided to take a class in the most-excellent fashion design program at West Valley Community College. I had taken classes from the other nearby community college with a fashion design program, Canada College but WVC is muuuuuuch closer. As I'm really a "hands-on" person when it comes to design of any type, FD-060 Professional Draping, really sounded like something up my alley.

In case anyone out there is thinking of taking this class, I won't sugar coat the experience. It was brutal. I expect it would have been less rigorous had I not had prior obligations of chauffeur and chess club coordinator so that I could have gone to lab during the limited hours (that darn Law of Physics - why can't you be in two places at once?). As it was, I could only go on Tuesday and Thursday after class and occasionally on Thursday evenings. Because this class required the use of a dress form, and it couldn't be any ole dress form - it had to be one in the lab, you must get the work done during class or lab. Sewing could be done at home however it consisted of a small portion of the overall work.

At any rate, I can expand on the class's requirements in another post. In this one, I want to skip to the end and show off my final project! But first, let me walk you through the design process.

I wanted to do a jacket. Searching fashion websites turned up these:
The one on the left is nice but not really "me". IOW, it wasn't something I'd normally design. The middle one appeals to my engineering side. I suspect it would take updating all of those skills just to figure it out and frankly, I didn't have that kind of time. The one on the right would look absolutely lovely in a gradient color scheme moving from light to dark top to bottom. But that meant hand-dyeing fabric, and again, not enough time. Then I saw these:
I really liked the shorter sleeves in the one on the left and I loved the collar on the right. The gathered waistline in the left one was going to be a problem though - my dress form was not the skinny-minnie size 6 (which translates to RTW size 0 or 2). I had a size 12 (RTW 6 or 8). All that fabric at the waist would not look flattering. But I could manipulate the fabric into darts (the basic principle of draping). OR..... I could manipulate it into pintucks. Now there's an idea!

The final project required designing a complete outfit: a dress, a shirt and skirt, a jacket and skirt, etc. Since I chose a jacket, it meant I had to figure out a "bottom". Pants weren't covered in this class so I had a choice of a dress (no thank you) or a skirt. I went with a 6-gore skirt as it was something I hadn't worked on in class. It was taught but I ran out of time and never got to that drape. So without further adieu....

The skirt has a flare overlay lined in the same fabric as the collar. That side seam also has piping covered with the collar fabric. I originally put piping in all of the seams but took out all but one because they didn't fit with the overall design. On the other hand, leaving that one seam with piping drew attention to the flare nicely. In the jacket, the sleeves have a "cuff" that has pintucks at the top. If I did this jacket again, I'd leave those off. The collar is folded 3 times on itself - similar to the inspirational design.

Click on the photos to get a closer look!

1 comment:

Katherine Regier said...

Nice work! I love the lining fabric and it looks great with the lavendar. I wouldn't have thought to put such a bright color with a pastel lavendar, it's wonderful!