“Diary of a Seamstress” – Draping

Over on Instagram I created a hashtag #mydiaryofaseamstress to document my journey in school. I realized that there is so much I have to say, but an Instagram post isn’t enough to cover all my thoughts. I also want to pass along some tidbits of knowledge if I feel it can be helpful with your sewing journey. So I’m blogging about it now.

Currently for the spring semester, I’m enrolled in Draping For Fashion Design. This is the third class in and I’m already blown away by the amount of knowledge I have learned. This is not what I expected for draping class if I’m being honest. It’s so much more compelling than I ever expected. The amount of stuff I’ve learned in just three classes in makes me so curious to know how skillful will I be at the end of the semester.

Here is the lab work flow. There is three parts to the grade for each draped design assigned:

  1. Lecture is given about any new knowledge not learned yet. (So far it has been about  importance of grainlines, preparation of muslin, and common practices.)
  2. Teacher demos the drape of the assigned style.
  3. We recreate it on our half scale forms.
  4. Teacher then comes by and grades your drape. This is our first part of the grade.
  5. Once the drape is graded, any corrections needed to be done will be made at this point.
  6. Students will then transfer the drape and markings onto paper to create a paper pattern.
  7. Students will then cut the pattern out on fashion fabric and contruct the garment.
  8. The constructed garment is then placed on the half scale form for the teacher to grade. This grade is the second part of the grade.
  9. Lastly the draped muslin, paper pattern, and final garments are all turned in together for the final grade.

Let me say that draping is not easy… for me anyway. It’s starts by pinning CF to the form. Gently smoothing the fabric over to the first placement of the dart. Pin-clip-and mark waistline. Then the pulling of the hem to bring down the crosswise gain and create the flare. There needed to be two folds in this sweep the teacher said.  Oh and don’t forget to pin-clip-and mark waistline at the same time. That waistline area needs to be smooth and no puckering. RIGHT…SURE…OK… (all the thoughts in my head while trying to make this fabric do what I wanted it to).

Now draping the back.

So pretty much the same thing happens to the back but you have to make the crosswise grain fall in the same direction as the front. Essentially making them meet at the side seam.

Now establishing the hem. And guess what?! You do that from the floor up. Well in this case from table up. This was time consuming.


By the end of class I had draped my assignment, transferred it to paper, and cut out the pattern from fashion fabric.

Sometimes I eavesdrop on the other classes since they are taught in the same room. So when the clothing construction 101 class was cutting out their fabric I had to take note of this tip. They were all taught to place their pins in a certain direction and had lots of them all over. It was said that this was to prevent puckering in the pattern paper and to stabilize the fabric when being cut.

If there is any downtime or even after class I sometimes ask the teacher questions. Things that maybe related to what we are learning and sometimes things I really want to know about sewing. I asked her about horizontal balance lines (HBL) compared to the crosswise grain markings on the muslin. She explained to me exactly what HBL are and how they are used. This is something I feel is so important when assessing fit issues on a muslin. I have to admit I don’t always do this but really should so I make it a habit. Blog post on this subject coming soon.



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