draping demonstration

On August 25, during the Fashion and Design Festival in Dundas Square, I participated in a draping demonstration, live on the runway, with two other designers, Englebert Gayagoy and Katya Revenko. It was an incredible experiment to bring fashion design literally to the street.

The necklace I am wearing was an amulet of good luck from jewelry designer Susie Love, and the photographs are courtesy of John Cruz Photography.

Thank you everyone who came out for all the encouragement and cheers!

demo1

I started out by prepping my fabric, laying it flat on the runway and creating a bias tube. This killed my legs and back later, and at the time it was a bit nerve-wracking because the other designers were already pinning their designs on their dress forms. Meanwhile, it looked like I hadn’t even started.

demo2

What made it even more anxious was having no sense of time as I was working. I became so absorbed in the task at hand, it was hard to take in the entirety of the scene, with so many people watching me.

view from the runway

The view of the square, from the runway.

demo3

I finally got my bias tube on the dress form and now I’m wondering how much time has elapsed.

demo4

Stitching on the chains I brought for straps. The structure of the dress is a modified chiton, a classical Greek garment.

demo5

This is what I looked like from the VIP tent. I could see Andrew and Anita there, watching me and talking… what were they saying? What did this even look like? I am a bit too close to get a sense of perspective.

demo6

Hands shaking while I start the final element of the dress – suppression in the form of hand sewn tucks.

demo7

My hands were shaking hard… I kept dropping the needle and knotting the thread.

demo8
demo8.5

People in the crowd came up to me and asked questions and commented on the event. It was such a pleasant surprise to hear how interested and enthusiastic the audience was, whether they were into fashion or not.

demo9

Right here it starts to get really dark and clouds are hanging heavy over the square, but I’m not really fully aware of that – at this point I am totally focused on getting this dress finished.

demo10

The rain spurted on and off throughout the demo, not that I let it stop me.

demo11

At this point the dress is looking as I envisioned it, there is just a couple more tucks to go.

demo12

But heaven can’t wait and it started pouring. After an hour and forty minutes, the rain decided that my dress was done. Some of the FDFT’s terrific crew helped me pick my stuff up off the runway and covered the form with a plastic bag.

demo13

The dresses were displayed onstage during the Toronto Fashion Incubator show that evening. I was really happy when I saw it. I felt that I had made something beautiful.

demo14

Katya’s piece was really incredible, the skirt trailed off into the roll of fabric, and the scissors stabbing the back of the bustle really expressed the process of the event in an insightful way.

demo15

If anyone reading had the chance to see the event in person, I would love to hear your comments.

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    34 thoughts on “draping demonstration”

    1. hey!! love ur work..its really very nice and i love the way u hav presented it . all the best to u:)

      i am a student and i m suppose to make a 5-10 min presentaion on FASION. i m a lil confused as what to do and how to start. i need a lil help i its possible. the preenation is suppose to be such that it helps people to know what fashion is n it should motivate them to come to this filed.

      i will be thankful if u or anyone out there b interested in helping me in whatever possible way.

      thanksss..

    2. Hi Kriz,

      Your question is so broad, I am not sure what help I can offer. Keep doing research, take notes, organize your thoughts into some main points, get some visual stimulation for your audience, practice ahead of time, and then go! If you need tips on doing presentations you’ll find lots of information out on the internet, just google it.

    3. wow, wish i had that talent. How would you suggest a hobby sewer get started in draping for herself? I already have a form but I can’t seem to find inexpensive resources to get me started. Any books, websites, links to recommend?

    4. hi u r very talented,me aslo fashion designer,plz reply me or mail me to tell me ven this next event is>?

    5. hey danielle
      hi myself hiral
      frm india.
      i m a design student of NIFT
      and i want to do master of fashion design
      frm abroad
      so i need ur suggession
      plz help me out

    6. I love that your dress is different.. i’m a free-time hobby sewer but ultimately my goal is to have my own fashion line.. i love vintage and i always google new “old techniques” to learn.. right now i’m hooked in smocking.. helps me relieve stress from my all day job and motherhood gigs.. ha ha LOVE YOUR WORK!!!

    7. Fascinating! I love the idea of the smocking stitches for the suppression, absolute genius, plus the finished dress is gorgeous!

      Thank you so much for posting these pics, as a home sewer who’s studying pattern drafting and has a huge desire to try draping, your work is very inspiring!

    8. Hi! I loved your dress on this site. I found it because I was looking for help in draping on a gown I am working on. The design is a VERY full, gathered skirt with a draped…Victorian style piece… from the bottom of the bodice going around to hang below the zipper in the back. I have worked and “figured” for days trying to come up with how this is going to drape and look like the girl wants it to look. I have made a mock-up of the gown and have cut pieces about 1 and a half yards long to use to drape. Should it be cut on the bias? These pieces are cut 22″ wide. I just cannot seem to get them to drape….should I have a seam at the side? She would rather it all be in one piece….well, she does not sew:-/ . I hope this is not too long and that you understand what I am asking. I really need to tell her how much fabric to purchase for the dress soon since she is ordering it from New York. Perhaps your idea of a bias tube would work. Her drawing of the dress has these draperies pretty wide….maybe that will have to be altered a bit? The fabric we will be using is silk charmuese.
      I do hope you can help me solve this…even though you are not here. I really don’t have anyone here in my city whom I can go to for help and suggestions. Most ladies around here quilt…that’s good but doesn’t help me:->
      Anyway, I hope this is not tooooo long but it had to be explained, huh? Thank you for any help you can send my way.
      Elizabeth

    9. Hi Elizabeth,

      I’m not sure what I can say here will help because so much of draping is about feel. You are right that the grain of the fabric makes a huge difference. Try it on the bias and see if that works for you.

      The other thing is the fabric. If the fabric doesn’t want to drape in the effect you want, you won’t be able to force it to. I’m wary of buying long distance for fabric because usually when you touch it, you just know if it has the quality you want or not. If the client is asking you to use a fabric that doesn’t work, its up to you to tell her that in your professional judgement she needs to make a different choice – and see if you can participate in the fabric selection. The wrong fabric selection will risk disappointing you both.

      Finally, always add a buffer to the amount of fabric you need! Especially if you need a piece to test. Its part of the expense of creating a better garment.

      I hope that helps… you’re pretty much on your own but it will be a tremendous learning experience for you.

    10. your shows why drapping is a streagh to all fashion designers and innivators.Congratulations again and again. your work reflects innovation, u got the right drape thou if ud hav choosen a lighter fabric or heavier the results could hav been entirely different.

    11. hi dear,

      i am myself a fashion facility at mod-art inter nation in India,i loved yr work gr8 job,keep it up

    12. wow those tucks are beautiful. Where did you learn to do that kind of hand sewing? I’m studying fashion design at George Brown in my first year. Your work is amazing and very inspiring! I hope to see you at the next Fashion and Design Festival.

      -Ainslie

    13. wonderful……actually have no words your drape is very intelligently done will really give inspiration to millions of fashion inquisitives

    14. That is a beautiful design! I came across your site because I am looking for some help on how to drape on the bias. I have a book (the art of fashion draping) but it has about a page on how to drape a dress on the bias. I really wanted to watch someone in action or some more examples to help understand how to have the fabric drape correctly. Do you know of any kind of resources? It looks amazing…I’m a home sewer and hope to accomplish a fraction of what you can do!!

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