Day 7 Giveaway. Draping: The Complete Course

draping_complete_course_coverAnd now we come to the final day of our 7 day, 7 book giveaway… people, I’m thinking this one –Draping: The Complete Course– is a game changer; this book is exquisite. It would seem that many agree with me, newly published last month, it is already out of stock. Oh wait, there’s a bit of confusion. Amazon shows it won’t go on sale until October 1st. Either way, I recommend pre-ordering it. You want to make sure you’ll get a copy when they come available. Really, you will. This is the book of the year, maybe even the book of next year. I haven’t ever seen anything like this –it weighs 4 pounds! All I can say is that I’m glad I don’t write draping books because this would be a tough act to follow.

Now. As a lot of you already know, I’m not too wild on draping. Not that I don’t care for it, not that I don’t think it’s a great thing and it definitely has its uses, but I’m one of those (apparently rare?) people who can create flounces, cowls -you know, all draped styles- with paper and pencil or CAD. Frankly until I started this blog, I didn’t know that everyone else couldn’t because any place I’d worked, everybody else drafted exclusively too. But anyway, I definitely plan to keep this book on hand to show visiting designers and maybe do a hands on exercise with them to show how they can learn to render their desired design effects with a bit of cloth and a form. [Speaking of forms, I have another cool new product waiting in the wings that I’m not allowed to announce just yet. Too bad it couldn’t have been timed to coincide with the release of this book.]

But I digress. You know another thing this book covers? Knits! Yeah, knit draping. Pretty cool huh?

Alright. I’m running too far short on time today so I will pick this review up later but being that I’m still committed to my publishing schedule, I have to post this as is. I have to figure out a way to temper my enthusiasm as I’m really excited about this book.

Draping: The Complete Course by Karolyn Kiisel
1200 illustrations, 320 pages
11.875″ x 8.75″, paperback
1 DVD with 32 video tutorials
ISBN 9781780670935
35% discount at checkout with code BACKTOSCHOOL13 at the publisher’s website: Laurence King
List: $75

Rules to enter today’s giveaway:
This book is very special and I prefer that people who enter to win it, have the means to use it. Meaning, please don’t enter unless you have a form or access to one. That said, leave a comment describing how draping resolves problems for you either in the development process or in being able to convey your desired effects.  Please, one entry per person and if you’ve won before, you’re not eligible to win this one although you are certainly welcome to participate. Good luck everybody!


  1. Annette Mc Dowell says:

    In my profession as a patternmaker I almost always start with a flat pattern. But I have learned when working with people who are not patternmakers, that it is much faster to be able to drape and thus communicate a concept or idea. It saves me time during the initial conversations and then the subsequent pattern process. I realized many years ago that one is on a continuous learning curve with patternmaking and sewing, as clothing fashion continues on its endless cycle. I have already discovered that I gain much knowledge from any book recommended by Kathleen.

  2. Faviola says:

    I was taught to make a flat pattern and sometimes it’s actually hard for me to try and drape. I would love to diversify my knowledge in different methods of creating a garment.

  3. Nakia says:

    I’m a very visual person. Draping helps me determine whether certain details are feasible and should or should not remain on a particular style. It also lets you see your creation come to life!! I am definitely a novice but have acquired 3 dressforms (1 professional, 1 display & 1 adjustable) and would LOVE to tweak my draping skills!!

  4. MaciCae says:

    This is such an amazing giveaway; thank you for putting this on. I didn’t used to do much draping, but I’ve found, as a costume designer, that it’s easier to recreate a design by draping first and then draft from that initial drape, if that makes sense. I think it’s seeing it in 3D, rather than on a flat pattern. It’s also useful when trying to describe to a director or actor, when they can’t necessarily translate a rendering to a realized product. I would love to learn more and get faster doing it.

  5. amos nimni says:

    Draping makes the design come alive. i use draping for making my evening gowns, playing with fabrics on mannequin can give you a lot of ideas .

  6. Emily Clapp says:

    Draping helps me to visualize and tweak projects that I can’t quite “see” when flat drafting. Shaping a collar, finding the perfect roll line, adding pleats, controlling fullness etc. is much easier for me if I drape it on the form. I have a couple of good books on draping, but new techniques and inspiring pictures (especially four pounds of them) is always welcome help. I do have a professional dress form, padded to make her a closer approximation of my figure.

  7. Marie says:

    Draping is an essential step in my development process. Through draping I am better able to visualize the forms and shape I desire. Fashion illustration is not one of my strong skills so I rely on draping (and my cell phone camera) as a tool to “sketch” my ideas. I enjoy the intimate process of working with and discovering fabric on a form. I also find draping useful when fine tuning hand-drafted patterns and reverse-engineering ideas and samples. I’ve worked intuitively with draping since first learning to sew and before I knew there was a term for what I was doing. I haven’t actually read very much about it and I’m always seeking to expand my knowledge base and improve my patterning skills and expand my knowledge of fabrics through personal experimentation.

  8. RB says:

    My dress form has been a life saver for draping – it has the right size “girls” which were always my problem area. Now experimenting draping different fabrics.

  9. KS says:

    I sew by hand. I have been draping necklaces made of fabric and it helps my necklaces look beautiful. I want learn draping better than Rami Kashou.

  10. Claire says:

    I don’t drape all that often– mostly stick to drafting like Kathleen.
    When I do drape, it is to check my patterns or to develop a new style
    that we do not have examples to go by. Most recently, I draped a twist top
    style in order to mark seams and to ensure that the drape from the twist
    lays correctly.
    I would love to have a comprehensive guide to draping that this books
    seems to give. I’m sure I could drape in many more scenarios than I do now!

  11. Claire says:

    Oh! I forgot to add that I use draping all of the time to convey a style idea to my sample sewing
    counterpart! I am, admittedly, not great at explaining concepts. I find that draping a mock up speaks much louder than my words!

  12. Sigrid says:

    Draping on my dressform helps me with figuring out “what the fabric wants”. While I do a fair bit of patternmaking it sometimes happen that a dress or top will make sense on paper and even as a muslin, but when sewn will not quite work, because the fabric and the pattern don’t quite work together. Draping on the other hand is more like sculpture or painting. You follow your materials and explore where they take you, and it might be to a different and more interesting place than you first had in mind. It’s thinking with your hands, not just your brain.

  13. Janith says:

    Draping: The Complete Course would be the best resource possible for the classes I teach to young people interested in exploring learning to sew and design. During design week they make a paper wrap body double which they use to drape recycled fabrics into stunning skirts. They constantly push me to increase my knowledge base, and I will want to own this book. For myself as a petite and curvy woman, draping is the best method of creating a garment that fits my form. Thanks Kathleen, you are such a super resource to us all.

  14. Teresa says:

    This would be very useful to me in my work as a draper in theatrical costumes. Certain areas of draping are weak points for me. But it is the only way to do lots of looks necessary in the world of theatrical costumes–Grecian looks from the ancient times to 19th century to 20th century, just one example of so many. Crazy bustle looks another example. 1920s and 1930s dresses are another place where draping sometimes trumps flat patterns. I love that the book covers knits–sounds very Claire McCardell.

  15. Heidi Bird says:

    I have never taken a course in draping, but do use it whenever I have to add a ‘new’ design piece to an existing design of mine. For instance, since I make costumes, I frequently add a different collar to a dress for a dancer. I always drape the bodice muslin and play with the collar on the form while working out the overall design of the dress. If I’m ever in doubt regarding an unconventional look a dancer wants I will go back to the dress form and work it out by draping there with muslin so I know how the fabric behaves before I cut into super expensive fabrics. I guess it would help if I knew I was doing it correctly or if there were better ways to do something (eye openers).

  16. Angela says:

    I made a plaster cast expansion foam dress form of myself, which I have gotten some good use out of, but I haven’t taken any draping courses yet. I would LOVE to learn more. In my experiments, draping is a great way to see how a particular fabric will behave, which may not be apparent using a flat pattern. Of couse it’s also a terrific way to get a great fit no matter what your body type, and is a great way to solve complex design issues or bias projects.

  17. Leslie says:

    I’m a patternmaker and designer for a small Indian meets New York luxury line. We are constantly reinterpreting the draping of the sari and other elements of eastern dress. I find draping on the form the best ways to play with and expand on this idea. I also find it incredibly satisfying – working from a 2-D sketch and figuring out how to translate that concept into a 3-Dimensional product that eventually becomes animated with the movement of the body. Moreover, the practice of draping has helped me personally find short cuts to creating flounces, drapes and flow via flat patterning. Once I am able to visually see and physically work out one drape, I may not necessarily need to drape from scratch on the next, but rather am able to build off of what I have learned by working on the form and thus save time when it comes to patterning drapes.

  18. Pat says:

    I have a form, but the limited kind of draping I have been doing most involves using my own body (no, I can’t pin into it). This resource would be of great use for me in moving my design work forward.

    Thanks, Kathleen for the consistently interesting and informative postings.

  19. Laurie says:

    Draping has always intrigued me and am amazed at how beautiful garments are pinned and pinned to achieve such unusual but beautiful results that are also functional. But what is the process? What comes first? I hope this book answers the questions I have so I can design with greater confidence.

  20. alex says:

    Draping is something I wish I had more experience in.
    Being that all body forms are different; you can never tell how a textile will lay until it is in fact draped.
    I usually have to resort to flat pattern making because that is the way I was trained.
    I do try an pick up any extra draping skills on the web, but I feel like without the proper foundation, I am never going to fully understand what I am actually doing.

  21. Barbara says:

    Isabel Toledo once said that draping fabric on a form means that half the design work is done for you. Draping has really helped me in this way…getting past thinking of designs as flat pieces waiting to be put together, that seams are always on the sides and probably the best thing, just stumbling on some new ideas. Barbara

  22. Kara says:

    I am finally getting serious about getting the designs out of my head and onto fabric. These ideas have been swirling around for years. I would like to add gathered woven textile pieces to knit and I’ve been told it’s difficult to do from friends with more experience than I have. I would like to have a resource like this so I can just learn how to do it for myself. Nothing is impossible!

  23. Philippa says:

    I usually drape the cloth in the fabric store on my body first and study it in the mirror – it’s amazing how much this basic step will tell you; print fabrics look different for a start, and you can get a preliminary feel of how the fabric will behave. Draping on a dress form is a skill I am keen to improve.

  24. Lesley Miller says:

    I’m like you, Kathleen – I’m more likely to pattern a cowl or flounce or bias on CAD or by manual patternmaking rather than by draping, but I have always loved the heavily rouched styles of couture gowns and would love to play more with textured fabric manipuation on the form. I’ve found that those kinds of effects can only really be done effectively with draping.

  25. Brenna Rizzardi says:

    I have been sewing all my life, mixing and blending patterns to create the garment I had in my head as a teen. Later, when I had a chance to get training, I learned both flat patterning and draping, which most often I use in combination to true up and cross-check for accuracy. I really enjoy draping because it brings the creativity out in me; and when I combine it with drafting a pattern, it satisfies my technical side, which is much more dominant. I would really like to win this book because, the truth is, I can’t remember half the stuff I know until I stumble on it through trial and error. I have lots of reference materials for drafting, but I really need a good reference for draping. Kathleen, please keep me in mind for this giveaway.

  26. Taja says:

    I took a draping class in the early 90s–a very elementary draping class. It has served me well, but I would love to have a solid reference book on the subject. I really would like to experiment with more advanced design concepts (knits!)–and, hopefully, convert them into patterns and incorporate them into some actual wardrobes.

    Most of my draping is for personal use (my dress form has been padded to accommodate my expanded body and some of the padding is being removed periodically as I lose weight), as well as for close family and friends. My body does not–under any circumstances!–meet manufacturers standards and most of the women in my family are in the 5’10” to 6′ range (I’m the shrimp at 5’3″). I drape directly on the others–no space for additional dress forms (not to mention the expense!).

    I’ll also be designing the first formal gown for a special 15-year-old young lady in my life–with a lot of input from her and her mother and grandmother! The opportunity to expand my knowledge and apply it to create something memorable and age-appropriate for her would be terrific!

    Thanks for making this giveaway available to us, Kathleen!

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