[Module 7] Draping | 6. Draping advancement - Volume Control Approach- Part 2 Folds and Twists

Updated: Jul 16


Folded Base Top


Here is what I mean by a folded Base Top.


It is basically a V Neck wrap top that is sealed up in the Base by the fabric as it is folded in the Base and returns back upon itself to cover both sides of the dress form.


In this version created below there will be a yoke from the Shoulder Seam and ending at the Cross Chest Guideline and the main body of the top is gathered on each side at this Style Line. The top will be longer than the illustration above. The gathers create draping that flows down and is nipped into the Side Seams mostly around the Base with soft pleats and would look lovely in a very flowing fabric such as a chiffon. Obviously this would need to be made in a fabric that looks and feels very similar on both anterior and posterior, unless you were going for an asymmetrical look.


Only the Front draping will be reviewed in this demonstration as draping backs and transferring to patterns have been covered in previous units.



Although it’s not going to be easy to see tape through the layers of this fabric I have taped the Body Form to indicate where the front lines are going to travel across the body.





















For this example I used a very cheap light to mid-weight knit fabric and because it was darked I used tailors chalk to mark it. It was a wide fabric so the Cross Grainline was used, but for no other reason than to reduce fabric waste for this demonstration. The length used was 40”.


As with all draping there are multiple ways to get the result you would like, the obvious things are choosing fabric and Grainlines but one other thing to consider is where to start. You don’t always need to start from the top and drape downwards.


I have draped this top a number of times and I find that I prefer it to have a flattish base without it twisting too much which does help to get the diagonal neckline more symmetrical. So starting with the fold is a discernible place to begin.



To start with the fabric is folded lengthways selvedge to selvedge and the Cross Grainline is marked on the uppermost fabric. Each end of the Grainline is pinned with the pin at the Folded side going through both layers and at the open end just pin the Grainline position on the lower layer of fabric, then you can lift up the top layer and draw a line joining the two pins to mark the Grainline on the lower layer.

The fabric is folded again selvage to selvage keeping the Grainlines matched on both layers.



The fabric is then double pinned in with the fold at the Base at Centre Front of the Garment to really secure it down and then pinned temporarily at the Neckline Centre Front. So we are starting from the Base setting this point and draping upwards.
















The fabric is then allowed to fall from the Bust (as there will we some fullness designed in shortly) and firmly secured naturally at the sides without pulling.






It is worth working slowly with this garment pinning and trimming a little at a time to get the drape accurate.



Working on the neckline the excess is trimmed off above the pin at the Neckline at Centre Front.








Here the Central Pin has been moved down a little and more fabric has been trimmed away across the top. It’s a little easier to deal with now most of the excess has been cut away.








The fabric is now repined at the point where the two sides cross over in the Neckline at Centre Front and also pinned to secure each side of where the Neckline will be cut away following the tape as a guide.



This little V shaped area is cut away through both layers of fabric as is helps to give the angle for the start of each side of the Front.



The line for the rest of one side is roughly drawn on going from the V down to the Side Seam. I stopped within 1” of the Base in this case.






The top layer is cut away following the line drawn to remove the top layer of fabric.


















The gathering can now be put into place on the bottom layer, along the Cross Chest Grainline.



With this amount of gathering use your pins to drag a little pinch of fabric across and into place and as you go help settle the resulting draping below. Keep pinning until you get to within an inch of the Armhole and then check that the gathering is even or as preferred then trim off the excess fabric.



The top layer of fabric needs to be released away so that the lower layer can have the opposite side trimmed away. So unpin and let it fall down.























This opposite side is marked as before and this excess is then trimmed off before the top lay can be laid back on top.
























Here it is trimmed off.




















When placing the top layer back ensure that the Grainlines are lined up correctly.



















Then the top layer can be pinned back into place.









The gathering for the second side can now be done easily. The excess trimmed off as before.









To check how the gathers are draping the Centre Front in at the Base is release but the two layers are still pinned together just in case any adjustments need to be made it also ensures that the edge of the fold can be marked later in Centre Front. This also helps with the draping as the Side Seams are pinned in.












The fabric is allowed to drape down across the Bust and extra fabric is allowed in from the side to give more volume and the Side Seam is anchored into place. The gathers here are allowed to form pleats around the Hip Bone area and these will be sewn as pleats into the side to control the volume at this point.



The same is done to the other Side Seam.



















The Yoke can then be draped as a small piece going up to the shoulder seam and shaped around the armhole.



Here is how the garment will look for around a D cup bust.


















As usual and not shown here make sure all marks are made on the garment;

  • Mark the Cross Chest line sewing line and the Gather points (measure the finished width of the gathering – average of both sides)

  • Mark the Armhole sewing lines

  • Mark the Neckline on both sides to base (the angled edge)

  • Mark the side seams

  • Mark along the fold line across the Front in Base

  • Mark the notch where the top layer joins into the side seam (here 1” from Base), and the same for the Bottom layer on the other side

  • Mark up the Yoke piece on all sides.

When transferring the pattern to paper the pattern can be folded to ensure that both sides are symmetrical.


This top could be draped from the top downwards to create a more organic twist in the fold in the Base. A little experimentation would be required to see what happens to the base if different Grainlines are used and different draping starting points are used.

Fabric Twisting Demonstration

Twisted Dress

It is recommended to read through the text before beginning.


Twisting fabric creates an interesting knot like effect and the fabric radiates out from this point. Shown here in a shoulder on a Cowl neck top and along the waist of a dress, and centrally at the bust of a crop top. A twist can literally be added anywhere in a garment.



The design for this Illustration is going to be a twist created in the Princess Line under the Bust at the Waist with a with a Jewel Neckline, similar to the purple dress silhouette in the illustration.


Clearly any Neckline, Shoulder Length, Armhole, Skirt Length, Skirt Design can be changed in the design. The purpose is just to show how to control volume by twisting fabric and the draping that results from it.


Only the Front draping will be reviewed in this illustration as draping backs and transferring to patterns have been covered in previous units.


A knit fabric is used to demonstrate this technique but of course this can be done in any other fabric with slightly different results. A thicker fabric for instance would have a more dramatic response to the fabric twisting than say a fine chiffon. The dress form used here is a size 10 and around 50” was cut in length.


The Straight Grainline was marked and also a line was marked around 22” across the length to denote the Waistline.



The fabric is pinned onto the Body Form at the Waist then secured temporarily at the Bust and Neckline and around the Hip Line at Centre Front.

Keeping the Waist Guideline Straight the Hips and Waist are pinned in at the Sides Seams. It might help if you pinch the Front Dart to get the Waist inline, especially if the Body From has a defined Waist.





















The fabric is now going to be cut along the Waistline from each side leaving around 3” of fabric uncut. The amount of fabric to leave uncut is dependent on the type of fabric you are draping and the result you are trying to get so this will take a little experiment so start with about a 5” allowance and gradually cut this down. It helps if you mark the position of the 3” and try to make the cuts as straight as possible.





















The fabric is cut on both sides of the marked points (cut further away to start with, you can always cut extra after making the twist if you feel you need to).























After making the cuts the upper section is unpinned and twisted completely around one full twist. Can you see how you are now looking at the posterior side of the fabric for the upper section, in this fabric both sides are not the same.
















This would not look right in this fabric and the twist is not dramatic or defined enough so the upper section is twisted again in the same direction as before, and the anterior side of the fabric is now on show and the twist is bigger creating more of a knot/and radiating lines.




















If you feel there is too much fabric in the knot then untwist and cut the slits deeper until you getting closer to the 3” or even smaller. With a much finer fabric like a chiffon you may want to cut wider than the 3” as this fabric takes up less space in the knot.


After cutting and twisting, squeeze and manipulate the knot into shape. You can pin the Centre Front Back with the Guideline back into position.



Here the Neckline has also been marked on one side and the fabric smoothed out to the shoulder pinned and marked out.


















The Top of the Armhole is marked out and excess fabric trimmed from the Neckline, Shoulder Seam, Armhole and Side.


















We can now see how the knot is radiating folds of fabric from it and if you used a woven fabric this may be even more defined. This can be manipulated a little more in the top until the side can be put into position.






















The Skirt position can be smoothed into the sides and excess cut off, here it has also been folded back into the side seam.


































Finally the other side is worked on. In this illustration a Waist Dart has been pinned out in the upper section and the skirt, the Side Seam has been pinned out and excess fabric removed and the Neckline has been marked and trimmed.



The fabric hanging down is just excess but I actually liked the effect of this flounce so I left it for the photo, it balances out the twist knot I think. I would actually consider adding something on this shoulder similar to this.

Of course there are many more ways to fold and twist. Why don’t you have a go and see what other shapes you can come up with? What about a crop twist top? Or see if you can bring the Back into the equation in the side or on the shoulder?


















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