How To Use this Web Site.

October 1, 2010 § Leave a comment

To return to the root of the web site, click on the red colored “Pattern Drafting” link on the left side of your screen.  This will bring up a series of Topics including the Course Outline, Assignment and Project List and supplimentary notes for Lessons 1-12.


Course Outline

September 14, 2010 § 1 Comment

Topical coverage and learning activities
Week 1  

Lecture/Lab: Introduction to Draping 

  • Review of the course syllabus, instructor’s expectations, and evaluation breakdown.
  • Intro to Draping –  Draping addresses 3 areas of pattern making
  • 1) Dart Equivalent
  • 2) Contouring
  • 3) Added Fullness
  • These steps are planned after a design is translated into a Draping Plan (p. 25 in text)
  • Demonstrate taping the dress form
  • Students then tape their dress forms

Due: Next Week

  • Assignment #1:  Bring a picture of a draped fashion design to class.  Be prepared to describe and discuss the design (2% of your final grade).
  • Purchase Tools and Supplies Needed for Draping: Pins, Pin Cushion, Fabric Scissors, Paper Scissors, Pencils and Pencil Sharpener, Square Ruler, Fashion Ruler, Pattern Notcher, Tracing Wheel, Measuring Tape
  • Students must bring their draping supplies to each class (too much time is wasted if students do not have the proper draping tools and supplies) Note that  draping fabric and pattern paper are provided
  • Read Chapter 1-4, pp 1-43: In Draping for Apparel Design. Note that Students are not required to read all of Chapter 4. 
Week 2  

Lecture/Lab: Draping the Basic Dress Foundation 

  • Assignment #1 – bring pictures of draped designs from magazines or the internet – students must be prepared to discuss their example
  • Discuss the Draping Plan as it is applied to examples of draped styles  brought to class by students
  • Demonstrate draping the basic dress foundation, Ch. 4, p. 29-64, Assignment# 2.
  • Methods for joining seams and marking, p. 23

Due: Next Week

  • Assignment #2, Bodice and Skirt drape (muslin only)
  • Read Chapter 4, p. 39 – 52
  • Basic Sleeve, p. 53-64 *Note that a basic sleeve is provided
  • Read Chapter 5, Facings
Week 3 Lecture/Lab: Trueing Patterns and Transferring the Draped pattern to Paper 

  • Review Assignment #2, Basic Dress Foundation
  • Discuss transferring pattern from muslin to paper, Chapter 4, pp. 39-52
  • Introduce the Basic Sleeve p. 53-64 (a commercial pattern, a drafted sleeve or a draped sleeve can all be combined with draping to produce a final design)

Due: Next Week

  • Assignment #3, Skirt and bodice drape and trued paper pattern due, all pattern making conventions followed and pattern labeled correctly *this assignment forms the basis of our pattern making standards conventions for this class
  • Introduce Original Drape Project #1 – This project is linked to student’s individual Final Collections
  • Read Chapter 6, pp. 69-101, Manipulating Dart Excess

Heads Up – Due: Week 7

  • Project #1: Bodice drape or drape detail such as a collar or neckline- related to Final Collections (collar, bodice, neckline, etc.)  Note that the draped design or design detail for Project #1, needs to be approved by the draping instructor. 
Week 4  

Lecture/Lab: Manipulating Dart Excess 

  • Assignment #3 student presentations, taking the drape from muslin to paper pattern  -review neatness, accuracy, pattern making techniques and conventions
  • Discuss Manipulating Dart Excess, Chapter 6 p. 69-101
  • 2 styles in Chapter 6 will be demonstrated
  • Students will choose either of these two styles for their class draping assignment (Assignment #4)

Due: Next Week

  • Draping Assignment #4, Manipulating Dart Excess, Front Bodice – muslin only
  • Read Chapter 6 and 7 in preparation for Project #1 (a design that incorporates a draped bodice or a bodice detail approved by the instructor)
Week 5  

Lecture/Lab: Draped Bodice Styles 

  • Review Assignment #4, Manipulating Dart Excess
  • Bodice Styles, Chapter 7 p. 103-140
  • Demonstration of Draped Bodice Styles, Chapter 7
  • Students complete one of the bodice drapes demonstrated in class
  • Discussion of sketches and drafting plan due next week: Assignment #5

Due: Next Week

  • Mid Term Exam: Open Book Chapters 1-7
  • Design Sketches and Draping Plan for Original Bodice Designs –  Assignment #5
  • Designs need to be approved by the draping instructor (approval ensures an appropriate level of difficulty for the first project – it also helps the instructor anticipate the level of student support needed for an individual draping project). 
Week 6  

Lecture/Lab: Midterm Exam  

  • Mid-term exam (Ch 1 – 7) Open Book
  • Presentation and discussion of Sketches for Draping Project #1, (Assignment #5)
  • Demonstration of bodice drapes from Chapter 7 (the drape examples demonstrated in class  will be influenced by student collections)
  • Review individual draping plans for Project #1 prior to individual lab time
  • Lab time for Original Bodice Design Project #1

Due Next Week:

  • Project #1, Original Bodice Drape

Due: Lesson 9

  • Rough sketches for final Project #2, Assignment #8 (2%)
Week 7  

Lecture/Lab: Cowls Plan for Individualized Draping Projects related to Student Collections 

  • Class discussion and presentation of Project #1 including sketches and draping plans
  • Discussion and Demonstration of Cowl Styles, Chapter 11, pp. 239-270
  • Cowl Drape Class Project (easy project) to be done in class,  Assignment #6 (short)

Due: Next Week:

  • Assignment #6, Cowl Drape (muslin only)
  • Read Chapter 9, pp. 205-228, Draping Collars
Week 8  

Lecture/Lab: CollarsDesign Problems Related to Final Collections – Class demonstration/individual coaching 

  • Cowl Drape Assignments #6 Due (muslin only)
  • Review collar design principles , Ch. 9, pp 205-228
  • Various collar design will be demonstrated in class – the instructor will relate the collar demonstrations to final collection rough sketches collected in Lesson 6
  • Students complete a collar drape (muslin only) Assignment #8
  • Lab time for students to work on their collection patterns (individualized plans)

Due: Next Week

  • Collar drape (muslin only), Assignment #7
  • Read Chapter 13, pp 301-348, Strapless Foundation (Contour Draping)
    • Rough sketches and Draping Plan for Project #2 are due next week

Due: Week 12

  • Project #2 Collection Development Draped Project – Sketch, Draping Plan, Muslin and Trued Pattern
Week 9  

Lecture/Lab: Final project Sketches Skirts, Strapless Foundation, Contour Draping 

  • Final Project Sketches and Draping Plans Due, Assignment #8
  • Class discussion and presentation of Final Project sketches
  • Review Assignment #7, Collar Drapes
  • Draping Skirts, Chapter 8, pp. 141-203
  • Contour Draping Demonstrated, Chapter 13, pp. 301-348
  • Lab time for skirt and contour drapes

Due: Next Week

  • skirt drapes – muslin only, Assignment #9
  • Contour drape- muslin only  Assignment #10
  • Read Chapter 14: Bias Draping
Week 10 *To be revised to include draping dresses and dartless styles

Lecture/Lab: Draping for Individual Collections Bias Drape


  • Review skirt and Contour Draping, Assignment #9 and 10 (muslin only)
  • Review principles of transferring muslin drape to paper patterns
  • Demonstration of the bias drape, Chapter 14, p. 349-376
  • Lab time to complete bias drape, Assignment #10,  and work on individual designs for Project #2

Handout: Final Exam Review Checklist

Due: Next Week

  • Assignment #10, Bias drape project demonstrated in class or bias drape project approved by the instructor (muslin only) some flexibility is allowed here because students final collections may or may not feature bias designs
  • Review text and notes in preparation for final exam, refer to Handout: Final Exam Review Checklist

Week 11

*To be revised to include Bias draping examples, exercises and projects

Lecture/Lab: Work Individual Collections Draping Projects


  • Review and critique of class bias drape Assignment #10
  • Review for the Final Exam, see Handout: Pattern Draping Final Exam Checklist
  • Lab time to work on Project #2, Original Draped Design

Due: Next Week

  • Final Collections Project #2 (15%) – due next week (includes sketch, draping plan, muslin and paper pattern) due next week  
  • Final Portfolios (5%) – include all muslin drapes from the class and paper patterns of some of the designs, all labeled and organized for easy reference
Week 12  

*To be revised to include a practical final draping exam, the presentation of final projects and a draping portfolio (muslin designs organized and labeled for easy reference).

Lecture/Lab: Review of Draping Principles and Techniques


  • Pattern Draping Course Review
  • Final Exam –Open Book
  • Draping Portfolio of muslin and corresponding patterns due – 10 Draping Assignments, this should be neat, well organized and patterns should be easy to find and identify
  • Presentation of 2 Draped projects related to the student’s final collections
  • Peer review of draping portfolios and projects with special emphasis on Project #2

Assignments and Projects List

September 13, 2010 § Leave a comment

Pattern Draping is a “Hands On” Course.  There are 11 Assignments and 2 Original Draping Projects.  This course also has an Open book Midterm (Lesson 6) and Practical Final Exam (Lesson 12).

The Assignments are related to Draping Examples from the class text, Draping for Apparel Design, Second Edition, by Helen Joseph-Armstrong.  These examples are chosen to give students exposure to many draping techniques.  Assignments will be demonstrated in class and instructor support is provided so that each assignment is broken down into a series of smaller draping steps.  These assignments have been chosen to increase the students’ draping design repertoire.  Many designs are easier to drape successfully than they are to draft.  The assignments are structured so that most students will be able to complete draping assignments during class lab time.

This class has two Original Draping Projects that are related to individual student’s Final Collections.

Project #1: Original bodice or bodice detail – to be approved by the pattern draping instructor.  Due Lesson 7

Project #2: Original Draped Design including: Sketch, Draping Plan and Muslin.  Due Lesson 12

There is a Midterm and a Practical Final Exam in this course.

Assignment # Pattern Draping Assignment and Project List Lesson Due
Assignment #1 Picture example of a draped Design (2%) Lesson 2
Assignment #2 Basic Draped Dress Foundation, Chapter 2-3 (5%) Lesson 3
Assignment #3 Pattern Making Conventions for Draped Garments, Paper Pattern for the Basic Dress Foundation, Chapter 4 (5%) Lesson 4
Assignment #4 Manipulating Dart Excess, Chapter 6 (5%) Lesson 5
Midterm Open Book Exam (10%) Lesson 6
Assignment #5 Design Sketches for Project #1 – A Bodice design Involving dart manipulation (5%) Lesson 6
Project #1 Original Bodice Drape Design (10%) Lesson 7
Assignment #6 Cowl Drape, Chapter 11 (3%) Lesson 8
Assignment #7 Collar Drape, Chapter 9 (5%) Lesson 9
Assignment #8 Design Sketches and Draping Plan for Project #2 (5%) Lesson 9
Assignment #9 Skirt drapes (5%) Lesson 10
Assignment #10 Contour Drape, Chapter 13 (5%) Lesson 10
Assignment #11 Dress Drapes, Chapter 12 (5%) Lesson 11
Assignment #12 Bias Drape, Chapter 14 (5%) Lesson 12
Project #2 Original Draped Design, FINAL PROJECT (20%) Lesson 12
Final Exam Open Book Exam (5%) Lesson 12

Lesson 1

September 12, 2010 § Leave a comment

In lesson 1,  we will review the Course Outline and Assignments. 

The basic princlples of pattern draping will be introduced. 

We will discuss some examples of draped patterns and decide if they are an example of:  1) Moving Dart Excess 2) Adding Fullness or 3) Contouring, Text  p. 30

Taping the dress form will be demonstrated and students will complete taping their dress forms for next week.  The method for taping the dress form will be demonstrated in class.  Students will duplicate the technique shown with their own forms.  This hands on task.  Students duplicate the method demonstrated by the instructor.  The finished taped dress form is to be used as a reference for any of the students who do not finish this task in class time. 

 Review Questions for Lesson 1:

 1) What are the three draping techniques used to create a draped design?  1) Moving Dart Excess 2) Adding Fullness 3) Contouring, text  p. 30

 2) What are the major horizontal reference lines on the dress form?   Bust, waist and hip

 3) Why is the front neckline lowered slightly at the centre front neckline? For a better fit.  The neck sits forward slightly at the front of the body.

4) What two methods are used to pin a drape to the dress form?   1) raw seams out 2) lapped seams, text p. 23   

5) Define grain lines and bias. Grain lines are always parallel to the selvage.  The straight grain or warp runs parallel with the selvage, The straight grain is strong and stable.  The cross grain runs perpendicular to the straight grain. The cross grain is less stable.  Bias is ideal for designs that cling to the body.   Text p. 22 .

Due next week. – complete taping the dress form and bring an example of a draped design to class.  Be prepared to discuss your example with as much detail as possible.  I have included an outline of this assignment below.  Supplies are due needed for next week. 

Text books are due to arrive for next week.  There will be assigned reading in the text prior to each class.  The assigned reading is just as much about “looking” at illustrations of the drape to be completed in class as it is about “reading”.

The assignment due for next week is as follows:

Assignment #1, Report on a draped design

 Due Lesson 2 at the beginning of class. 

Answer the following questions in writing.  The completed assignment consists of approximately 1 page of written material plus a picture of the draped design.  Be prepared to give a 3-5 minute oral presentation to the class about the draped design that you chose. 

Obtain a picture reference of a draped design that you admire or find interesting.  The picture can be a photocopy from a book, a cutting from a magazine or a printed photo from the Internet.

Questions to consider in your written and oral report:

1.  State where you obtained the photo and make note of the designer and collection.  Examples of draped designs can be contemporary or historical but you must state when and who created the the design. 

2.  What draping techniques do you think are used to create the design?  (Moving dart excess, adding fullness or contouring)  Note that many draped designs involve a combination of these techniques. 

3.  What makes the design unique?

4.  Why is it inspiring or of design interest to you? 

 You will be marked on both the written and oral reports.

Lesson 2

September 11, 2010 § Leave a comment

In Lesson 2, members of the class will show examples of draped designs found in magazines or on the internet.  We will decide if the example is created by 1) moving dart excess 2) added fullness, 3) contouring or a combination of these draping techniques. 

Students will answer the following review questions.  Questions for the midterm and final exam will be selected from these review questions posted at the beginning of the class every week. 

Review Questions:

1.  How much ease is added to the front draped bodice?  Where is the ease located?

Ease is added in two places when draping the front bodice.  0.6cm is added at the lower armhole and 1cm at the waistline between the princess seam and the side seam.

 2. How much ease is added to the back draped bodice pattern?  Where is this ease located?

The back bodice has 1.2 cm (1/2”) ease at the shoulder seam princess line location.  2 cm of ease (3/4”) is added at the side seam armhole location. 

 3.  What is the usual order used to drape a fitted bodice (dart manipulation draped style)? 

1) establish grainlines –  length and crossgrain

2)  smooth areas one section at a time

3) release tension (fabric wrinkles) by clipping seam allowances

4) add ease and darts

5) trace off and true the pattern

 4.  How is the fabric prepared for a fitted front bodice drape? 

The front bodice has a crease ironed 26cm down from the neckline/shoulder.  This crease will be used as the crossgrain over the bustline.  The front neckline is shaped 4.5cm at the side shoulder and 9 cm downwards at the centre front.

5. How is the fabric prepared for the back bodice drape?

The back bodice has a crease ironed 10 cm down from the shoulder/neckline edge.  The back neckline is shaped 4.5cm out from the centre back at the shoulder and down 4 cm at the centre back. 

 6.  Why is the fabric prepared prior to draping? 

The fabric is cut so that there is enough fabric to drape the style but not too much fabric to get in the way.  Length and crossgrain are located on the form.  These grainlines are crucial to the “flow,” balance and symmetry of a garment.   Once grainline reference lines are established, the style is completed through draping on the form.

Planning for Creativity

Students are reminded that their two draping projects in this class are due lesson 7 and 12.  Please refer to the Assignments List posted as a separate item in this blog roll.  Students are encouraged to coordinate projects in this Draping Class with their Final Collections.  Creativity, design inspiration and the need to reference garments for style details are ongoing for fashion designers.  I am recommending several sources that may be helpful for design references and research.  

Vancouver Fashion eZine.  The magazine profiles local designers and always has an up to date listing of local fashion events. 

Vancouver Fashion eZine -

My next recommendation is a good source for International Fashion.  Elle Collections, is an economical  bi-yearly publication that showcases International Fashion Collections.  Ongoing general internet designer fashion references from sites such as as helpful and timely.  Independent fashion blogs are becoming more important as print media,  magazines and newspapers is are in transition. 

Elle Collections

Elle Collections can be purchased at local newsstands or through:

The remainder of Lesson 2, is taken up by a draping demonstration and lab time.  The basic bodice and skirt are draped on the dress form.  The sequence of draping steps makes a big difference when it comes to the time it takes and the level of difficulty experienced in this first draping project.  Because the sequence of draping steps was worked out prior to this class, draping of the bodice and skirt went very smoothly and the class completed the project with no difficulty.

Preparation of the fabric prior to draping saves time and increases accuracy as the grainlines can be placed with precision.  The sequence of draping steps for this first project was:

1) Fabric cutting and preparation.

2) Establish the length and cross grain on the form.

3) Drape smooth areas of the style.

4) Add ease if required.

5) Take up excess fabric with darts.

These steps will remain very similar for draping any style of garment that has darts. 

The class consensus was that  this first draping project was fun  and easy! 

We will be tracing off the pattern from the muslin fabric in lesson 3.  Some basic principles of trueing patterns will be demonstrated.  These principles will be recycled again and again with all your patterns.  Learn about truing patterns once and you can apply the skill set forever!  See you in Lesson 3 🙂

Lesson 3

September 10, 2010 § Leave a comment

In Lesson 3, we learned 2 methods of creating a paper pattern from a muslin drape.  1) The push-pin method and 2) the tracing wheel method.  Students tried each method and made a decision about which was easiest and most accurate for them.  These methods are described in our Class Draping Text (Armstrong’s Draping For Apparel Design, Second Edition) pp. 39 -43. Truing darts, the shoulder seam, side seam and side waist were demonstrated.  See text p. 39 for truing darts, p. 42 for truing the shoulder and side waist. 

Clarity and organization are important whether you are working for yourself or producing patterns for a company.  Different companies will have different pattern labeling conventions that will make it easier to find a particular pattern.  Our class standard for pattern labeling includes the following: 1) your name 2) style name or number 3) piece name 4) pattern size 5) grainline and 6) notches. 

Homework Due Lesson 4:

1. Paper patterns of the bodice drape, correctly labeled. 

2. French Dart muslin drape, see text pp. 70-71. 

3. I will be checking on design sketches and materials related to Project #1 next class. 

A note on size labelling of class patterns.  It is preferable to relate size to a real world measurement like hip size rather than a numerical size such as “Size 6.”  Universal sizing standards do not exist but company size standards do.  If you know the hip, waist or bust that a pattern is designed to fit, you will then be able to find where your pattern fits within any company’s size standards.  This is a more accurate place to start discussions about size than a subjective interpretation of what is meant by a “Size 6.”

For example: When designing for a new Swimwear Company, I wasted much potentially productive time as a result of unrealistic expectations regarding a “Size Small,” two piece swimwear fit.  In the end we defined “Size Small” as having a 36″ hip and 34B cup size.  The “Small” model that I started with actually had a 38″ hip and much larger cup size.  Had the swimwear company gone with this first unconventional interpretation of “Size Small,” they would have confused customers and potentially lost sales.   I now clarify sizing standards up front and begin with a solid understanding of what is meant and expected from a sample or standard size.  This saves time and increases pattern accuracy right from the beginning.

Review Questions from Lesson 3:

1. Why is it important to plan preparing the fabric prior to draping?  Preparation saves time and increases accuracy.  Cut a piece of fabric that is long enough and wide enough for the draped style being created.  If the fabric is prepared, the draper has much greater control of the grainlines.  The draping designer is able to produce a final product that is balanced and symmetrical.  

2. What is some dart Equivalents?  Text p. 69-70 and  p. 81  Some dart equivalents are:  gathers, pleats, tuck darts (half darts), style lines (over the bust point) flares (unstitched excess) stylized darts (for example curved darts), multiple darts. 

3.  Convert the seam allowance chart p. 63 to metric from imperial measurements.  Students should be able to plan for and describe seam allowances.  Curved areas often have smaller seam allowances.  Wider seams are left if the garment is to be fitted on a model.  Seam allowances can depend on the type of seam finish being used.  Price point of the final garment can affect seam allowances.  Smaller hem allowances are used in lower priced garments.  Custom garments typically have larger seam allowances to facilitate fitting and alteration. 

4. Where is the ease usually located in a front bodice drape that uses dart excess to develop a style?  The ease is often located at the side waist and side underarm. 

5. How do you True darts? Text bodice dart truing p. 39, skirt dart truing p. 50.  The dart is folded closed in the direction that it will be sewn.  The end of the dart is traced off using a tracing wheel. 


Lesson 4

September 9, 2010 § Leave a comment

Lesson 4 is dedicated to bodice designs involving dart manipulation. 

This lesson continues to develop on the draping skills learned in Lesson 2 (draping a basic bodice and skirt).  We then added the French dart (text p. 70) in Lesson 3. Several new bodice styles were demonstrated in class today.  They included: 1) the armhole dart (p. 72), 2) the centre front dart (p. 74), and 3) the waist/side dart (p. 76).   The Curved dart (p. 83) and intersecting darts (p. 85) were also demonstrated.  The intersecting dart will be reviewed at the beginning of Lesson 5. 

Homework due for Lesson 5:  the French dart drape and paper pattern plus 3 other bodice drapes chosen from the ones demonstrated in class.  A total of 4 different front bodice muslin drapes are due along with their corresponding paper patterns.  This is worth 5% of you mark. 

Also due Lesson 5 and presented Lesson 6 – is the visual references and research for your proposed design, Project #1, (the original design using dart manipulation).  Be prepared to present your design along with inspirational materials, research and a technical drawing.  Project #1 will be much easier to do if you are clear about what you are trying to achieve.  You can adapt the design when you are draping.  However, starting a draped design without a plan is not as successful as beginning a design with lots of imagination, inspiration and planning.  Bring in proof of your planning and  be able to talk about and present your proposed design.  This is worth 5% of your mark.

Review Questions for Lesson 4:

1.  After preparing your fabric for draping, what is the first step is draping a “dart manipulation” bodice style?  The draper aligns the lengthwise and crosswise grainlines.  A centre front grainline is established and then the bust point is marked and secured with pins.  Any dart manipulation style can be developed around the fixed bust point.  This is similar to the concept of dart rotation in pattern drafting. 

2.  Where is the ease typically placed in a bodice style developed using dart manipulation?  The ease is added at the lower armhole,  at the armhole side seam and at the side waist. 

3.  What is the difference between a bodice style that is developed using dart manipulation and a contour drape style?  The contour drape has less ease and this closer fitting style follows the curves of the body,  Strapless styles are often developed through contour draping. 

4.  What can you do if you trim too much fabric when draping a bodice?  You can ignore the error and pin on another piece of fabric.  Correct this error in the paper pattern. 

5.  What are our class pattern labeling standards?  Include the following on a pattern: your name, pattern style, piece name, grainline, size (a real world reference such as hip size is best), notches. Make a note of seam allowance amounts if they vary throughout the pattern. 

6.  What seam allowance should be added to a pattern?  This depends on what the pattern will be used for.  If the pattern is a sample pattern, subject to alteration, then wider seam allowances are preferable.  If the pattern is to be used for RTW mass production then the seam allowance is most likely 1cm or an amount determined by the serged seam.  Hem allowances vary.  A circular hem has less seam allowance than a straight hem.  Mass market garments have less hem allowance than higher end lines.  Seam allowance depends on the garment, where the seam is located and the end use of the garment pattern (custom, high end or mass market RTW). 

7.  What are some examples of dart equivalents?  Dart equivalents include: gathers, tucks, dart tucks and darts converted to seamlines.