One of the most important properties of fabric is its ability to fall under its own weight into wavy folds. This unique property enables one to mold the fabric to needed shape or let it fall on its own & produce free flowing form. Study of historic costumes reveals that importance of drape was known to man from the beginning. Drape provides graceful aesthetic effects in garment. It relieves monotony of shape and enhances beauty of garment that is why it has been used as a device of special adornment in costumes. This article reviews different methods which are used in creating drape effects in garment.
Garment drape has received major attention of designers from the beginning. They have exploited this property of fabric in creating new styles according to changing fashion trends. Garment either hangs down from the shoulder or from the waist and drapes over the hip forming waves or folds at hemline. Quality of folds viz. number, shape and size of folds in a garment depends upon several factors.
Drape in a garment depends upon the draping quality of material used in its construction. Fabric is the most important consideration in designing. Whether the fabric is soft or crisp, light or airy, thick or thin, stiff or limp will influence drape of garment. Same design will look different in different materials because their draping quality varies. Soft and light weight material gives the rippled, flowing and flared effect whereas thick and heavy fabric gives solid or firm line effect at fold. Hand and weight are textural qualities which determine drape in a fabric.
Before the invention of sewing machine and stitch craft, garments were only draped over the body. The Indian sari is one of the finest examples of draped garment. How the sari will drape around the body depends upon the draping quality of material whether it is cotton, silk, nylon, georgette, chiffon etc.
Drape in a garment is affected by grain line and cut of the fabric
A garment is usually cut with center front and back on the straight grain. The shape of garment holds better on the straight grain. Pleats remain pressed 10nger.Gathers, folds fall more softly on the straight grain.
If cross grain cut is used, gathers, folds and flares open out. The bias grain being softest of all is also used to give weight to loose folds, pleats and drape.
Finishing agents may be used to alter drape in a garment. Finishing agent such as starch or resin changes stiffness or softness of fabric which in turn changes draping quality of fabric. Application of resin finish at specific location in skirt type garment changes the look of garment due to change in flare and number, shape and size of folds.