After a little summer break, I’m back and ready to present another book for you! As I anticipated last time, here’s the second book I got from the publishing house Hoaki Books. It’s Fashion Draping Techniques (vol.1) by Danilo Attardi.
Again, there was no request from Hoaki Books for me to write a blog post, but I’ve received quite a few requests to write about draping, so this was perfect!
If you’re new, draping -or moulage- is a patternmaking technique, where you create the garment design directly on a dress form, and then use the toile to draft the final pattern. It’s more intuitive and you kind of design as you go, seeing what the garment will look like in real time.
Danilo Attardi is an Italian fashion designer who also works as a consultant for various fashion companies. In addition he teaches the art of draping and fashion design to both professionals and fashion students around Europe and US. He also has video courses (in Italian) if you’re interested.
You can learn more about Danilo Attardi here. The website is in Italian.
I have actually attended his basic draping class here in Milan myself. It was some years ago and I remember he told us about the book he was making back then. So it was nice to get that very book now and it’s awesome so see that it has been translated into other languages, too, so that more people will be able to learn about draping.
I found a few pictures I took during the course. If you participated in this course with me and recognize your work in the pictures, feel free to let me know so I can add your name under! 🙂
The Book: Fashion Draping Techniques (vol.1)
The Fashion Draping Techniques (vol.1) -A step by Step course, was published in 2021. The original Italian title La tecnica del Moulage is from 2018. The book is also available in Spanish and French.
The second volume seems to be already available in Italian, and soon to be published in the other languages.
Here’s the table of contents. As you can see, the book will introduce a wide variety of garments. And not just any garments, but really interesting shapes and constructions, such as knots and drapes, that might be more complicated to create with the flat patternmaking technique.
I found that this book is an awesome way to brush up the skills I learned during the live course I mentioned just now. Its approach is very practical and it starts from the basics, introducing the tools and how to prepare the dress form for draping.
Here’s my little half-scale dressform ready for draping! She wears these elastic body suits so I needed do sew elastic instead of pinning cotton tape. The important thing is to use contrasting colors so that you’ll be able to see the tape from under the fabric.
The Basic Bodice Block by Draping
After preparing the dress form, the book proceeds to show how to drape the basic dress pattern directly on the dress form, giving tips on the correct way to place the pins and marking the fabric.
So of course I wanted to drape a basic bodice block, too! I took some pics during the process. One step at a time you model the fabric around the dress form. As you can see, the pins go horizontally.
Then you mark the different seams and darts with a bunch of pencil lines.
Here you can see the pattern right after taking it off the dress form and the final pattern I got after I had corrected the lines, following instructions given in the book: straightening the bust and waist lines and centering the darts. After this you then test the corrected pattern once more to see if it works.
More Complex Designs
Once you have learned some basics about draping with the most simple designs, you are ready to explore some more complex constructions.
How about these pleats, for example?
Or this knot?
You’ll also learn how to drape a basic sleeve and a raglan sleeve pattern!
Well, I was quite curious to see how to make a bamboo bodice by draping. There was this one design, also present in the cover, that was almost like a bamboo bodice, so I just made a slight change by swapping the order of the pleats.
At first I felt it was out of control, being used to plotting the pleats directly on paper. But once I got the hang of it, it was pretty cool: by draping you can plan the placement of the pleats better, as you can see what they look like right away. You just need to make some cuts to be able to overlap the pleats.
Here’s what the pattern looked like after taking it off the dress form. I was bothered by the gaping neckline (see the arrows), so I decided to fix that by taping down the extra volume and rotating it to the two bust darts.
That of course meant adding more fabric to cover the gaps.
The end result! No more gaping.
Collar Draping Experiment
The chapter about collars introduces this collar design.
It’s also a great example how you will be using masking tape and not just pins when draping.
I wanted to give it a try! This time I just prepared a waist length bodice with a single front dart.
Once I had the bodice ready, I drew a line where I wanted the collar to be sewn and then pinned a rectangular piece of fabric in place.
As you can see, this ”collar” needs to be shaped before it will look like a collar. So you make cuts and add fabric to cover the gaps by taping where needed and shape the collar edge until you’re pleased with the look.
I thought this was a fun way to build a shape. Maybe you’ve seen Shingo Sato create patterns like this, too.
Finish by adding some marks that will make it easier to put the pieces together later.
After taking the bodice off the dress form, I decided to absorb the back dart into the collar seam to avoid having extra lines at the back (see the X).
Then I made a quick test garment using some taffeta scraps I had. While it was a good choice for the collar, it probably wasn’t the most easiest alternative for that curved back seam, but here we go. The collar would actually need to have two layers, but I didn’t have enough fabric. Hence the wobbly edge.
Kind of looks like my dress form has a mohawk!
I really like the way Danilo Attardi has put together this draping book. He has added a ton of step by step pictures that show you how to proceed, so it’s almost like participating in an actual course. As I mentioned before, also the designs are very interesting and make you want to try them out.
I’ve always felt more comfortable with the flat patternmaking technique. I guess it’s just what I’ve been used to and draping is more of a stranger to me. But I’m definitely willing to add it to the mix and I’m curious to see what will come out. I think together these two techniques will be an invincible combination!
If someone has not studied either technique, I could imagine draping might be the easier way to start. It’s because you get to see how the piece is going to look like at the same time as you’re shaping the fabric. No need to do calculations or trying to imagine the flat shape in its 3D form.
But if you’re like me, and used to flat patternmaking, you’ll find that your knowledge helps in the process of draping. Especially when you’re taking the designs off the dress form and finalizing the patterns. You have a better understanding of what you’re aiming for.
It probably depends on your personality and preferred way of working, too. In theory, draping should be more my style: I enjoy freestyling and drawing patterns with soft pencils without fussing too much about accurate lines. It’s more about art and creating shapes.
So, whatever your situation, you should definitely check this draping book out. It might just be something to add to your collection! Type the title on Google and you should find a place to get the book from.
As for me, I’m happy to have it, and will surely continue experimenting with draping. Might write another blog post about this theme, too, and test the new techniques!