What is fabric ‘drape’ and why is it important?
The term ‘drape’ refers to the way a fabric hangs under its own weight.
The drape of a piece of fabric will influence how the final garment looks, sits on people's bodies and moves during use. To create the desired shape of a garment, it is essential to choose a fabric that has the right drape.
For example, knitted fabrics, such as jersey, tend to be quite floppy, meaning they will follow the shape of the body. Whereas, woven fabrics are relatively stiff and hold their shape more, meaning that garments can be created to hang away from the body and disguise its contours.
The drape of a piece of fabric is therefore assessed by its ability to hold its own shape and/or to hang in graceful curves.
Drape and design
This concept of draping plays a big role in creating Bourne Crisp garments.
This is because the drape of a fabric greatly affects the tailoring of a garment and the lines it creates on the wearer - one of the key factors we consider in our designs.
Similarly, when using design features such as godets and peplums, the drape of the fabric will dictate whether or not they succeed in achieving the desired look.
For example, when creating the Elle jacket, the success of the design as a whole was contingent on finding a fabric with the right drape. For this garment, the drape of the fabric was a key part of its tailoring as it needed to flare outwards gracefully instead of simply falling over and highlighting the natural curves of the body. It had to create a new shape that made it look as though any wearer had a slight hourglass figure. It was therefore important to find a fabric that held its shape relatively well, while also having enough flexibility and weight to create graceful lines - a fabric with the perfect drape.