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Making Fashion: Draw, Draft and Sew

Lesson 8 of 14

Pattern Draping: Drape a Basic Form

Jay Calderin

Making Fashion: Draw, Draft and Sew

Jay Calderin

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Lesson Info

8. Pattern Draping: Drape a Basic Form

Lesson Info

Pattern Draping: Drape a Basic Form

Draping, and in flat pattern making too, you primarily work on the half. And the reason for that is that when ... It's the best way to get both sides to be perfectly balanced. Just by human nature, if you try to do something on one side, and repeat it on the other, things are always gonna be a little bit off. And the truth of it is that the human body is a little bit off. One side's a little bigger, one's a little smaller, or longer, or shorter. So, a lot of times our clothes kind of correct us. They balance us out in terms of how we look. But also, you can do this on the, doing the whole design, you can work on the half first, and then duplicate it, do it on the fold, so that you can do asymmetrical designs, and I'll show you that in a minute. So, I'm gonna give myself a little extra room on top, and I'm going to pin ... Actually, sorry. I'm gonna pin in and over. That's kind of key, because all the action you're gonna be taking is in this direction, and it's not going anywhere. If I ...

pin in this way, I'm taking it with me. So the direction of the pinning is very important. And I'm a big advocate of pinning as little as possible, because I want the clothes to skim the body. I don't want it ever torturing fabric, and forcing it. That's a really important thing. Because a lot of people want that sort of tight look, which is great, but that's something you would do in terms of the sizing of the garment, and who'd wear it. You'd get them to wear it if they were a slightly size bigger. So here, I'm gonna just let the fabric inform my movements. I'm gonna cover that center line, and I'm just gonna go straight down to the waist. Very, very simple. And now I'm gonna do a basic waistline dart to start off with. So, I'm going to be just following this map of this body. So, I'm gonna smooth out. And again, I always like to use just the back of my hand, and just smooth it out so it's natural. The nice thing about dress forms is these seams, you can kind of feel them through the fabric, so you can kind of feel along here to the ridge, and secure that there. I will come over here, and put a pin closer to her neck. And we see we have this tension right here. That's okay, because that's not gonna be there. We're cutting that away eventually, so you wanna cut to release the tension. And all of a sudden, it can lie much smoother than it was before. Cut a little bit more. So Jay, just for us newbies like myself, Yes. Tell us again what we're doing. Are we looking at, as we were planning what we're doing, are doing folding and gathering, are we draping and flowing? Yep, we are ... Oh, sorry, we are ... We're basically working, we're draping, and developing the flow for how we want it to drape on the body. Okay. So this is just ... We're taking ... We know about the nature of the fabric, the grain lines, the bias. Now we're manipulating it all. So we're, in a second we're gonna go to fold and gather, but drape and flow, just general ... I think the core, before we get to those. It's kind of a little step in between. Okay, awesome. And just one more thing, Yes. because I'm, again, a newbie, Yeah no, this is good. And you always hear the term, on the bias, on the bias? Uh huh. Can you explain that again? Okay, I'll show you here. We'll take this piece. Great. And, if this is hanging straight, it has no give. So the fabric is going to be taught across both directions. But if this is on the bias, this starts to give. And it also starts to give across. And we get these soft pulls, and soft, sort of almost hugging the body, with the bias. And that's usually a bias cut. A lot of little slip summer dresses, and a lot of satin evening gowns and things like that will be cut on the bias, so that at no point do they stop abruptly. They have this sort of flow, and they hug the form. That's one of the biggest takeaways for me, for the bias. Thank you. So we've smoothed this out, and here, again this is the armhole, which is another area we're cutting away, so I don't have to worry about that too much, but I do wanna worry about here, and again, I want it to be very, very smooth. I don't wanna pull the fabric. And here I'm gonna pin in the other direction, so that it's creating a nice, smooth surface, over the bust, to the side of the bust, and then I'm gonna follow the side, and again, not force it. Just follow it, let my hand just gently trace where this is going to go. That's the waistline. We have the waistline here. And now we have the beginnings of a bodice. We have almost everything we need except what are we doing with this? Now, this could very well just be loose and flowy, right? Sort of a boxy top. But, we're going to make it a fitted garment. So we're going to take, and bring this over to right here, on the princess line. And this also when ... A lot of people ask me about the drawing element, and why it's so important. I think if, they work interchangeably. I think if you have some pattern making skills, it'll improve your sketching. And if you've worked it out on sketching, it'll improve your draping. Okay. Now, I have a little pulling going on, because we have that tension. Okay, and that's helping. And so now, let's smooth that out a little bit better. Now these two points are meeting, and we have a dart. Now with a dart, what we would do is sew from here to the point, and this extra fabric would be on the inside. And usually brought over to the side. So, with this, now we've draped it. A basic, basic bodice. Now we're going to mark it, and transfer over the details that we need for a flat pattern. Alright. So again, I don't like to have a lot of notation. I like to have it fairly simple, because we're gonna do all the really clean stuff on the table. So, at all these points where I have a pin, I'm gonna draw a little corner. So, along the shoulder, and then just the start of the shoulder. Here, underneath the arm. And just on the side seam, here. And then on these, I'm also gonna draw a little corner, and just a little mark here. A little mark here. And around the neckline, because I don't have straight lines, I'm gonna give myself little dots that follow the curve. So, you don't need anything else. In terms of drawing. The only thing you might wanna do, is take two pins, and show where the apex of the dart is. So not a lot of marking. You could put a mark there, but we're gonna modify it a little bit, so this is enough to now go to paper. So, I'm gonna make sure that's true. Yep, okay. It's so quiet. (laughter) I'm used to, to be honest with you, when you forget to talk sometimes, when I'm doing all this, usually there is music playing in a big way. Okay. So now, we're going to lay this flat, and that was very three dimensional. We're gonna lay this flat, and we're going to concern ourselves with filling in the marks. And those corners are great, because what we want are straight lines. We want absolutely straight lines between those markers. So, I'm going to give myself a light straight line here, because I'm gonna modify that a little bit. I'm gonna straighten out this corner. Over here, my mark was a little high, so I just squared off the corner with the dart. Better to go big than to be short. Very cool. Shoulders. Ah, I know I did something. I forgot to add the marks for the armhole, but I can actually see the impression of it, so I'm just kind of gonna bring these in here. And then we have the base of this side. And to create the perfect dart, when I'm doing this, I like to bring this over to check it. And if that's fairly smooth, we're pretty good. Because this starts to turn a little bit on bias, so when we're sewing it, it can stretch out. So we wanna make sure that that's pretty natural, it naturally folds to where it goes. Here, I didn't wanna draw this really hard, because in this process, that's fitting that mannequin perfectly, I mean that dress form perfectly, but we need a little ease in places. So in the armhole in particular, we wanna go what I call down and out, and if this is the corner, I like to go down and out at least 1/2 an inch, for ease underneath the arm. So, that's why I love these see-through rulers. This is the corner, right? And I want the corner to go down and out, so if I line this up at the halfway mark, at the 1/2 inch mark, can everybody see? If I line it up so that corner is 1/2 an inch away, all I have to do, is draw my new corner, and I've gone out, and ... Ooh, I'm sorry. We're in the wrong place, here. So this is my new corner. And what I wanna do, is blend this into this curve, and blend this line into the new armhole. Okay. And, I'm just gonna take this back to the dress form, because I don't wanna guess it. So I just wanna get those dots. Okay. Perfect. So I wanna do ... Oh, I was actually pretty good. Don't tell my teacher. Alright. What kind of pencil are you using for that? Right now I'm just using a Prismacolor, just one of my Prismacolor pencils, but I would recommend a pencil that doesn't smudge. So a hard pencil. Usually, I usually get a red pencil and a blue pencil, just so you can kind of see differences that you wanna notate. So here is the armhole and the neckline. Oh, one other area, I'm sorry. Here with the neckline is another area we wanna add a little ease, because our necks lean forward a little bit, so we never want anything cutting us right at the base of our neck, because it could become an irritant, so we just go down a hair. It can be as little as 1/8 of an inch. Jay, as you're doing this, can you tell us again, what you are... What is the design that we're getting to? Or what ... This is just the baseline for what we're gonna go to next. Okay. This is just the absolute, most basic thing. So we're setting it up. Yes. And then we're gonna build upon that. Right. We're gonna modify this in different ways. So we're gonna talk a ... Right now, for the drape, this is that. I think where we got them a little flipped, but for the drape and flow, we're gonna talk about how it skims the body, and then we're gonna modify it with folds and gathers. And so is it something particular, again, that you already have in mind, or are you just shaping this particular form? Well for this, you always wanna start with whoever or whatever you're designing for, so that's why this step is so important, because you wanna get the fit right, before we modified it in any way. So if you can get the foundation built, it becomes what you would call in the industry a sloper. So a basic pattern, Okay. sloper usually doesn't have any seam allowance, and you can manipulate the sloper. And when we do flat pattern making, I'm gonna show you how to do that. Okay, so just so that, I, again, newbie. No, this is good for me. So, you could be making a top? You could be making a dress? You could be making, Yes, yep. This piece could be a bodice for a dress. Okay. It could be a top. It could be anything that would be on the top of her body. I can make modifications. I can add a collar. I can add a sleeve. Okay. It can transform anything. It's basically a body covering that's fitted to the body for this particular size. Great, great, thank you. Sure. And then, we'll take a curve, and at the top of the shoulder, I like to square off the starting line, so I get a perfect corner. But then I will take a curve, and start to blend that, and try to line it up as best as I can with the dots that I have to the new ... Can everyone see that? Oh, okay. So, basically to the new armhole. So we drop down a little, and out a little bit, and for the bottom of it, before we cut into it, I wanna cut out this excess. For when we close this, we know that the fabric underneath is gonna go towards the side seam, so, again, I pinch this over. I'm a little off there. And I pin it. And here is where I wanna make sure this connection works. Do a little adjustment. And the reason we do that is because you're gonna fold over that, and catch it in the seam. If you don't, you might get a dart that cuts up this way, because it went a straight line. So here, I'm just gonna do a rough cut, before I add seam allowance. But just so you can see the shape, when I open it up again, it dips down a little bit. And that wouldn't happen if I just went straight across, which is kind of important when you're trying to catch it. So, before I put this on the dress form, I'm going to do the neckline. Again, use your curve. Alright. So, we have a finished pat- well, the beginning of a finished pattern piece, and what I can do here now is add seam allowance, so that we can work with that. And seam allowance is the extra amount of fabric that allows you to join two pieces together, because this would be the joining mark. And traditional, every house is different, but traditional seam allowance is about 1/2 an inch. Around the neckline it would be more of 1/4. And for here, I'm just gonna mark 1/4 all the way around. And add 1/2 an inch to the shoulder. And 1/2 an inch, yeah. Is there a particular reason that you use less seam allowance on the neck area, and not just keep a consistent one? Yeah, it's just less bulk. Okay. You can have more, but chances are you're gonna trim it away. And again, the corners, I like to make sure I square off all my corners, because when you meet them, it avoids getting a peak, or a dip in it. Okay, I think here, we're almost ready to take it off, and put it on the dress form. Okay. Alright, so now I can cut it ... Oh, here. Now I can cut away. Ooh. And we're just getting away the excess, so we can put it back on the dress form and test it. Okay, that's a little weird. It's like I wanna be close to it but I don't. Alright. Okay. So now, before I put it on the dress form, I want to close up this dart. And for darts, if this is the apex, if this is the apex right here, I could put a little mark and get rid of my pins, traditionally you're gonna come just a hair down from the dart. The fashion right now is to have clothes kind of skim over the bust, and have sort of a rounded effect. If you were doing something very Gaultier, pointy bra kind of thing, you might go right to the apex, but this avoids getting that pointiness to the design. So sometimes we'll bring down about 1/8 of an inch down from the apex, so that it has the chance to kind of roll over the body. So I'm going to close this, and I'm going to pin it closed. So I'm going to pin it in. Pick up all the layers, and go across. And this gets a little tricky. And again, you wanna try not to force it. And let it kind of roll up to the point. There we go. And if you have a hard table, this is a good thing to do. You can push into the table, pick up all of the layers, and go over. And now, if you turn it in this way, can you see that on the screen? It allows you to do it a little flatter. And I'm a bit weird about making sure those pins go in the right direction. Okay, so all across. So now, when we put it on here, we have the first part of our bodice. Jay, quick question. Will this eventually become a pattern? Yes. This would be tran- all these markings would be transferred onto paper. Okay. Which I have some samples of over here. Cool. So basically ... A ha. These are all the pieces for, the basic pieces for garments. And this will be that. Perfect. Right? So, we have the apex of the dart. We notch the pattern for the two base parts that join together. We have seam allowance. Sometimes you'd have notches, for instance, on the sides. Depends on how complicated the design is. I have some seam allowance here, if I was gonna do a zipper. If I wanted to do it, for instance, on the fold, and have it just be one piece of fabric, I would cut that away, and cut it out of the fabric on the fold, and then I would have a one piece top. Great, that's what we're creating. Yes. Great. We just created that. And I think the only other thing that's important to remember on this, is that it really, it's important when you get to this point, is thinking about things like the grain line. So for instance, we draped this on the lengthwise, so you start to put on your finished pattern lots of information about what the grain line is. So, here I'll have grain line, I'll have the size, the style, all the information so that you have this resource to always go back to. Great, thank you. Alright, so we have our bodice, and notice that here is really nice, because we have a little room. So when that joins the back piece, she's got a little ease underneath the arm. And that can vary how much you do. If you're doing a sort of a big, oversize garment, that can be very low. This is a fairly fitted top, so this would be your starting point. So, getting back to ... So this is sort of the draping around the body. You can also manipulate fabric over the body in different ways, and do more complicated things. So we're gonna do something a little more fancy. So I'm gonna cut another piece. I think I have a piece here. So will this be, Jay, another draping technique? Yes, so it's the same thing, but getting a little bit more ... Not worrying about fitting it perfectly to the body. Doing something a little fancier. Okay. I have a question. Yes. I was wondering, so when you're doing this with solid fabrics, it's a lot easier, but what if you're trying to line up a pattern while adding in darts or anything? You would do that actually in the pattern making stage. So, for here, that's a good question. If you're doing a plaid, and you want it to line up all the way around, you would have, like this is for instance at the bust. So, your back pattern, if I have it. So you would have corresponding lines on the other piece. So when you're placing this on the pattern, so use this as an example, pull out a little bit of this. And you're gonna be covering pattern making, right, in another segment? Yeah, but this is more about the fabrics. We're not gonna be talking too much about this, so this is a really good example. Okay. If you're lining it up on a pattern like this, you can make sure that line, that bust line, is lined up on the dark green. Lined up on the dark green. And then they will sync up all the way around. And that's a really nice thing, I'm glad you brought that up, because that is the mark of a really good garment. If you just randomly, it could be on grain, but if they mismatch, that's just one step lower than that ideal garment. Okay. Isn't this fabric beautiful? Love this.

Class Description

Bring your designs to life with Jay Calderin in Making Fashion: Draw, Draft, and Sew!

Jay Calderin has been called a “a budding designer's best friend,” and in this class he’ll show you exactly what it takes to create and construct custom clothes. 

You’ll learn about:
  • Drawing and planning for clothing production
  • The stages of pattern making
  • Constructing and finishing garments
Jay will help you get started with smart drafting tips and offer insights on working with muslin so your patterns lay and drape properly.

If you want to produce one-of-a-kind garments, join Jay Calderin for a complete primer on getting started in Making Fashion: Draw, Draft and Sew.


Jacquelyn Bradley-Nelson

I love this class, I'm glad I found it. This what I want to learn or add to my knowledge. JayC you are awesome! I need more learning on rendering coloring for illustration for that is. I can't wait to see what's on the other class I will take. Thanks! Signed: rm515jb.

Andrea Leggett

I really enjoyed this and the draping really opened my eyes to what can be achieved. Jay made it look easy so I plan a shot at draping later and will post my effort on Instagram with thanks to him! Thank you Creative LIve for bringing this to me (in the UK) and special thanks to Jay. When I'm in Boston in August I"ll buy you a beer!


Loved the draping information. It was logical and clear enough to make me want to try it.