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Draping is the process of transforming your 2D fashion illustration into a 3D form. If you are on YouTube India or Instagram reels you might have come across saree draping. While that is a form of draping, it is a technical term in fashion designing. Before we start off on a technical lecture, read up about how old the art of draping is.

History of Draping

Apparently, the art of draping dates back to 3500 BCE, beginning with the Mesopotamians and Ancient Egyptians. Greek fashion followed with the invention of draped silhouettes like the chiton, peplos, chlamys and himation. The Etruscans and Ancient Romans invented the toga, a length of fabric that wraps and drapes around the body.

That’s the west world but saree has been around for much longer. The nine-yard wonder of saree might be vintage fashion now, but it started from being a humble drape used by women thousands of years ago. The origin of the drape or a garment similar to the saree can be traced back to the Indus Valley Civilisation, which came into being during 2800–1800 BC in north west India.

What is draping?

Draping is a technique used to make a 3-dimensional dress pattern with the aid of a dress form figure by pinning and placing fabric against the form to create a garment or mostly commonly known as garment construction.  Typically, designers use muslin, which is cost-efficient and offered in a range of different weights.Draping – Importance & Technique draping - Draping     Importance Technique 1 - Draping – Importance & Technique

Basics of Draping in Fashion Designing

The fundamentals of fashion designing do not start below the needle of a sewing machine. It begins with a fashion illustration and most importantly draping.  Grab your fashion illustration that you painstakingly poured over, measuring tape and muslin, we are going to learn the basics of draping.

4-Step Draping technique

Bring your design to life Helps maintain the core shape and fit – While bringing your fashion illustration to life, draping helps maintain the core shape and fit while you improve on your existing design by adding or deleting 0r modifying various elements on your design to help make it more practical. While, a design might look great on paper but it might not be possible to replicate it on the actual design with the fabric.

Draping – Importance & Technique draping - Draping     Importance Technique 3 - Draping – Importance & TechniquePinning 

Pinning is a process which pulls the folds of the fabric together to create the draping design. Pinning will give you a good visualization of how the garment will look post completion.

Basting the Fabric

Once it is finished with draping and pinning, the next step is to baste the fabric. In this step, the fabric is sewn to the foundation piece or the whole design is sewn to complete the draping process.


Might sound trivial but trimming the strays is important to make your design look perfect and clean. The raw edges of the draping should always be hidden neatly in the seams.

Importance of Draping

The fashion illustration you sketched cannot spring to life, we don’t all have a fairy god mother with a magic wand. The illustration needs to go through pins and needles for it to be transformed into the design that you envision. Draping – Importance & Technique draping - Draping     Importance Technique 2 - Draping – Importance & Technique

The first-hand manipulation of the fabric to bring your design to life is the primary process of fashion designing because unique designs like couture and high-end pieces doesn’t necessarily need have a rule book to follow. It is your own original creation that needs a muse before it goes under the needle.

  1. Less wastage of fabric – Draping uses muslin for creating the design. If you are using a high-end fabric, draping technique allows you some room for human error and improvement. It results in less wastage of the actual fabric.
  2. Difficult designs to conquer – Draping helps you, the fashion designer to learn the difficult designs by draping different fabrics in place of the original fabric.
  3. Experiment more! – As a budding fashion designer, you can explore and experiment with several designs, variations of a specific design and learn to create new designs with the fabric falls before you become a professional fashionista!

Draping is considered as an important process, as it helps fashion designers to explore and experiment with fabric. Helps when learning to apply your creativity to see where darts, tucks, and other design elements fit better and how the clothing behaves on the body, when worn.

Draping helps you as a designer experiment with various designs and variations by this method and can create new innovative designs with the fabric falls to start a garment construction. Many fashion institutes emphasize on learning with draping technique, owing to its popularity and ease of use for a newbie. Generally, it requires little bit of extra efforts but, with rigorous practice this will become easier and more customers can be satisfied with accurate draped dresses in less time.